What is ERP? Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a term used to describe an end-to-end business solution that connects a variety of departments inside a company. For standard ERP offerings, these branches may include accounting, supply chain, project portfolio management, manufacturing, and human resources, among others. The tools that fall under the ERP category provide greater efficiency for professionals in accounting and finance, enterprise asset management, professional services, and project management. While aimed at enterprise-sized businesses, these products may be utilized by small and mid-market companies with high production output. Every ERP subcategory is listed below, however some crucial ERP software categories include:
Professional service automation (PSA) software improves the processes of professional service companies by offering insights into project information and resource allocation. These products allow managers to assign projects to available resources, track the progress of projects, record time and expenses for each project, and even send invoices to clients directly from the software. By recording project financials, PSA software allows for improved forecasting of budget and resources for future products. This helps with consulting, advertising, or any other client-facing professional service company that works in a project-driven manner.
ERP systems and suites are complex and expansive software suites that touch all aspects of product-based businesses. The core application of these products is accounting modules. However, they provide functionality for budgeting and forecasting, inventory and warehouse management, manufacturing, and distribution, among others. By having all of these departments working in one centralized system, ERP suites facilitate a more transparent business. They also provide financial management professionals with observations and direct insights into how supply chain factors impact profitability.
Project-based ERP systems provide the same transparency as standard ERP offerings do, but they are specifically aimed at companies that use a project-driven business model as opposed to product-driven. These solutions offer project accounting, in a similar vein as professional service automation software, but for industries outside of professional services. Companies that use a project-based business model should not attempt to implement a standard ERP suite, which can cause a great deal of complications, and become expensive and inefficient very quickly.
Enterprise asset management (EAM) products help track the physical assets controlled by a company. These solutions help track the lifecycle of the assets to ensure that they do not become dated or inefficient. Recording the productivity of assets can help with potential maintenance of repairs, and even offer predictive maintenance solutions that will ultimately help with profitability. These systems offer businesses a large quantity of data, which can be analyzed to determine when the maintenance or replacement of assets is required.
Each of these software products offer aspects of enterprise resource planning and improve the transparency of business processes. They reach across internal departments and industries to help improve efficiency and productivity. Each of the following software categories fall under this general concept.