ERP Glossary – Everything you need to know

Check out this glossary for a short list of key terms associated with ERP software.

ERP (enterprise resource planning)

ERP (enterprise resource planning) is an industry term for the broad set of activities that helps a business manage the important parts of its business.

An important goal oF ERP is to facilitate the flow of information so business decisions can be data-driven. ERP software suites are built to collect and organise data from various levels of an organisation to provide management with insight into key performance indicators (KPIs) in real time.

ERP software modules can help an organisation’s administrators monitor and manage supply chain, procurement, inventory, finance, product lifecycle,projects, human resources and other mission-critical components of a business through a series of interconnected executive dashboards. In order for an ERP software deployment to be useful, however, it needs to be integrated with other software systems the organisation uses. For this reason, deployment of a new ERP system in-house can involve considerable business process reengineering, employee retraining and back-end information technology (IT) support for database integration, data analytics and ad hoc reporting.

Legacy ERP systems tend to be architected as large, complex homogeneous systems which do not lend themselves easily to a software-as-a-service (SaaS ERP) delivery model. As more companies begin to store data in the cloud, however, ERP vendors are responding with cloud-based services to perform some functions of ERP – particularly those relied upon by mobile users. An ERP implementation that uses both on-premises ERP software and cloud ERP services is called two-tiered ERP.

Cloud ERP

Cloud ERP is an approach to enterprise resource planning (ERP) that makes use of cloud computing platforms and services to provide a business with more flexible business process transformation.

Enterprise resource planning is an industry term for the broad set of activities that helps a business manage the important parts of its business such as purchasing and inventory management. ERP applications can also include modules for the finance and human capital management aspects of a business.

To some industry experts, the promise of cloud computing is that it will provide an opportunity for business to completely transform how it uses and pays for information technology. For example, cloudsourcing legacy ERP applications might eliminate the need for a business to purchase the necessary server and storage hardware and maintain it on site which, in turn, has the potential reduce operational expenditures (OPEX). Other industry experts, however, point out that the problems associated with ERP software deployments — such as integration problems between ERP modules and a company’s legacy systems — would simply transfer to the cloud.

The hope is that ERP software developed specifically for cloud computing environments will include new feature sets that were simply not possible using old technology. Until then, cloud ERP is seen as being good for startup organisations and new business divisions within an existing company.

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne is a suite of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that is developed and sold by Oracle Corp.

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne contains more than 80 separate application modules designed to support a wide range of business processes. The suite includes supply chain management (SCM) software as well as applications for financial management, project management, enterprise asset management, order management, manufacturing operation management and operational reporting. The software suite also features mobile applications that support both iOS and Android and can be used on smartphones and tablets.

EnterpriseOne was originally developed by J.D. Edwards, an ERP vendor that released the first version of the suite in 1997 under the name JD Edwards OneWorld. The name was changed to JD Edwards EnterpriseOne after J.D. Edwards was acquired by PeopleSoft Inc. in 2003. In 2005, Oracle acquired PeopleSoft, and with it the JD Edwards technology. The following year, Oracle announced that it would continue to develop and support JD Edwards EnterpriseOne indefinitely.

Oracle also still markets a separate suite called JD Edwards World, which was a predecessor to the EnterpriseOne line. The two product lines share a common application architecture, but JD Edwards EnterpriseOne offers more functionality than JD Edwards World does. JD Edwards EnterpriseOne also includes a Web-based user interface and runs on multiple hardware platforms, while World runs only on IBM’s System i servers.

Open source ERP

Open source ERP is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system whose source code is made publicly available. The open source model allows companies to access the ERP system’s code and customise it using their own IT department instead of paying extra for vendor customisation services and licensing, as is typically the case with closed source programs.

For open source ERP software to be a viable option, companies must have an IT staff with considerable ERP development and programming skills. In-house ERP support capabilities are also important, as customisations are often not covered under vendor-operated software support.

Open source ERP can be particularly attractive to small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) that want to upgrade or customise their ERP systems without paying large licensing and support fees.

Oracle Fusion Applications

Oracle Fusion Applications is an all-encompassing suite of Oracle applications built for comprehensive business tasks such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM) and human capital management (HCM).

Fusion Applications has many different modules catering to different aspects of business functionality. In addition to CRM and HCM, modules include applications for financials, procurement, Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) and supply chain management (SCM). Customers can adopt one or more of these modules and run them in their own data center or in a hosted or cloud computing environment.

Initially announced in 2005, Oracle didn’t make Fusion Applications generally available until 2011. The project was hampered by several delays that were in part due to Oracle integrating portions of several applications into the portfolio. Many of those applications – including J.D. Edwards, People Soft and Siebel – were gained by Oracle through acquisitions. Fusion Applications is built on top of Oracle’s own middleware platform.