The essence of ERP (http://www.erp-products.com) is the fundamental approach which takes a holistic view of the subject. The traditional application system, which the organizations generally employ, treats each transaction separately. They are built around the strong boundaries of specific functions that a specific application is meant to cater.
ERP considers them to be the part of the interlinked processes that make up the total business and financial impact. Almost all the typical application systems are nothing but the data manipulation tools. They store data, process them, and present them in the appropriate form whenever requested by the user. In this process, the only problem is that there is no link between the application systems being used by different departments.
An ERP system also does the same thing, but generated as a result of diverse transactions, but they are not confined to any departmental or functional boundaries. These are rather integrated for the speedy and accurate results required by multiple users, for multiple purposes, for multiple sites, and at multiple times.
Thus ERP solution implies that it be:
Flexible: An ERP system should be flexible to respond to the changing needs of an enterprise. The client server technology enables ERP to run across various database backend through Open Data Base Connectivity (ODBC).
Modular: The ERP system has to have modular application architecture. This means that various functionalities are logically clubbed into different business processes and structured into a module which can be interfaced or detached whenever required without affecting the other modules. It should support multiple hardware platforms for the companies having heterogeneous collection of systems. It must support some third party add-ons also.
Comprehensive: It should be able to support variety of organizational functions and must be suitable for a wide range of business organizations.
Beyond the company: It should not be confined to the organizational boundaries; rather, it should support the on-line connectivity to the other business entities of the organization. This feature is the recent development and such ERP situation is referred to as Web-enabled ERP.
Belong to the best business practices: It must have a collection of the best business processes applicable worldwide.
To make use of the above advantage, ERP Architecture must be designed using the advanced information technologies and environments. Thus, ERP is typically implemented through a client-server environment. This technology divides the applications fundamentally into two or more components, called Server and Clients. The client portion uses the functions of the server. Servers are centralized while clients tend to be spread out in multiple locations.
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