An ERP system is a large software system used within enterprises. ERP stands for enterprise resource planning. An ERP allows systems within different units of a company to talk to each other. Rather than having isolated systems within each department, an ERP adds a central store of record, allowing the various company units to pass information to each other. For example, accounting may gather information in real-time from sales, marketing, and procurement, allowing it to generate various reports and forecasts for upper management.
ERP systems can be costly to install and maintain. Often expensive consultants are used for these tasks, as it takes a specialized skill set. These costs can put ERPs out of range for smaller businesses.