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What is ERP?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning

What is the simplest ERP definition? Think about all the core processes needed to run a company: finance, HR, manufacturing, supply chain, services, procurement, and others. At its most basic level, ERP integrates these processes into a single system. But new ERP systems are anything but basic. They provide intelligence, visibility, analytics, and efficiency across every aspect of a business. Using the latest technologies, ERP systems facilitate the flow of real-time information across departments and ecosystems, so businesses can make data-driven decisions and manage performance – live.

The benefits of ERP

An ERP system is made up of enterprise resource planning applications (“ERP modules”) that talk to each other and share a database. This means you can eliminate information silos between departments and give everyone a single source of truth. Your system can automate your core business processes and help you ensure regulatory compliance, reduce risk, fast-track reporting – and so much more. 

ERP system examples

ERP systems usually include applications for accounting, human resources, sales CRM, and supply chain management. But you can combine different modules to better meet your needs. For example, you could add ERP components for e-commerce, inventory and order management, and fulfillment. Or include applications designed for a wide range of industries, from manufacturing to retail. 


Cloud, on-premise, and hybrid ERP

There are three different types of ERP implementations – cloud, on-premise, and hybrid. Explore the benefits of each, and choose the one that makes the most sense for your business.

Cloud ERP

What is cloud ERP – and how can it simplify your IT landscape? Learn all about the benefits and features of cloud-based ERP from SAP. 

Explore cloud ERP software

On-Premise ERP

Run your enterprise resource planning software in your own datacenter – for maximum flexibility and control.

Explore on-premise ERP solutions


Hybrid ERP

Run some of your ERP applications in the cloud and some on-premise – with hybrid ERP (also known as two-tier ERP).

Learn about hybrid ERP

ERP at any size:

What are my options?

ERP isn’t just for large global enterprises. If your small business or midsize company is drowning in spreadsheets, manual processes, and bad information from disparate solutions, it might be time for ERP software. At SAP, we offer different types of ERP systems – small, medium, and large – as well as industry and company-specific functionality to meet your unique business needs.

Small Business ERP

Do you have 250 employees or fewer? Our ERP software for small business can help you graduate beyond spreadsheets and efficiently manage every aspect of your growing company – from sales and customer relationships to financials and operations. Deploy on premise or in the cloud.

Midsize Business ERP

Ideal for midmarket companies and subsidiaries with up to 500 employees, our midsize ERP software provides built-in analytics, rapid deployment, and best practices for 35 different business processes – financials, HR, procurement, supply chain management, and more.

Enterprise ERP

Designed for large companies with global or subsidiary operations, our market-leading enterprise resource planning systems incorporate advanced ERP technologies and capabilities – such as in-memory computing, Big Data analytics, and a gateway to the Internet of Things (IoT).


Learn about ERP from the experts

Still have questions about enterprise resource planning software? Take a deeper dive with news and views from our experts.

What ERP can do for your business

What is an ERP system exactly? What are some of the advantages? And how has ERP evolved throughout its history? 

The future of ERP: Public cloud

Companies are increasingly turning to cloud ERP and other SaaS solutions. Here are some of the advantages of this “cloud first” trend. 

When and why to implement an ERP system

Discover five signs you’re ready for enterprise resource planning software – and which business scenarios most benefit from an ERP solution. 


Why SAP for ERP?

SAP offers some of the top ERP systems on the market today. We use the latest technologies – such as in-memory computing, Big Data analytics, enterprise mobility, and the Internet of Things (IoT) – to help our customers run live, digital businesses. With SAP, you can eliminate IT complexity and act on real-time information – no matter your industry or business size.

Explore our ERP products

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