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Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the integrated management of main business processes, often in real-time and mediated by software and technology.

Enterprise system software is a multibillion-dollar industry that produces components supporting a variety of business functions. IT investments have become the largest category of capital expenditure in United States-based businesses over the past decade. Though early ERP systems focused on large enterprises, smaller enterprises increasingly use ERP systems.

Not all ERP packages are developed from a manufacturing core; ERP vendors variously began assembling their packages with finance-and-accounting, maintenance, and human-resource components. By the mid-1990s ERP systems addressed all core enterprise functions. Governments and non-profit organizations also began to use ERP systems.

Developers now make more effort to integrate mobile devices with the ERP system. ERP vendors are extending ERP to these devices, along with other business applications. Technical stakes of modern ERP concern integration´hardware, applications, networking, supply chains. ERP now covers more functions and roles-including decision making, stakeholders' relationships, standardization, transparency, globalization, etc.

Government resource planning (GRP) is the equivalent of an ERP for the public sector and an integrated office automation system for government bodies. The software structure, modularization, core algorithms and main interfaces do not differ from other ERPs, and ERP software suppliers manage to adapt their systems to government agencies.

Direct integration-ERP systems have connectivity (communications to plant floor equipment) as part of their product offering. This requires that the vendors offer specific support for the plant floor equipment their customers operate. ERP vendors must be experts in their own products and connectivity to other vendor products, including those of their competitors.

Implementing ERP typically requires changes in existing business processes. Poor understanding of needed process changes prior to starting implementation is a main reason for project failure. The difficulties could be related to the system, business process, infrastructure, training, or lack of motivation.

Two-tier ERP software and hardware lets companies run the equivalent of two ERP systems at once: one at the corporate level and one at the division or subsidiary level. For example, a manufacturing company could use an ERP system to manage across the organization using independent global or regional distribution, production or sales centers, and service providers to support the main company’s customers. Each independent center (or) subsidiary may have its own business models, workflows, and business processes.

The basic idea is that there should still be a core ERP solution that would cover most important business functions, while other functions will be covered by specialist software solutions that merely extend the core ERP. This concept is similar to the so-called best-of-breed approach to software execution, but it shouldn't be confused with it. While in both cases, applications that make up the whole are relatively loosely connected and quite easily interchangeable, in the case of the latter there is no ERP solution whatsoever. Instead, every business function is covered by a separate software solution.