No matter whether it is about sales support, production control or e-business - without an effective ERP software in the back-end, integrated IT-based processes are not possible. When it comes to the degree of integration and process support, however, available ERP software packages show great differences.
Extensive functionality alone is not enough when continuous and efficient ERP software support for all business processes is wanted. At least as important is the integration of the many different functions covered by the different ERP software modules. Apart from the accessibility of all necessary functions via one single user interface, integrated data management. This enables access to up-to-date data which are structured according to a consistent standardised data model. When integrated data management is not given, users often prefer to use their reliable MS Excel and work around the ERP software.
Almost all integrated ERP software packages offer quite extensive functionalities in administrative areas like "accounting", "payroll accounting" as well as in rather operative areas like "logistics / materials management" and "production planning and control". There are, however, great differences with regard to the functional depth and the manner of integration, especially of accounting and human resource management. Particularly middle-sized ERP software vendors often employ partner solutions which are linked up with their own ERP software - often at the expense of continuity.
A detailed analysis of the integration and functional scope of ERP software shows that integrated ERP software in combination with a working organisation can absolutely function as the company's spine - in fact, there is hardly any alternaive. At the same time it shows that functionality and integration of ERP software packages is very different. The ERP software packages available on the market often are not as integrated as software vendors would have us think.Hence, it is of the utmost importance for users to examine available ERP software packages thoroughly against his own requirements.