The term ERP was first employed by research and analysis firm Gartner Group in 1990 when Material Requirements Planning (MRP) / Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRPII) software providers started to develop applications beyond just manufacturing software solutions.
ERP systems now attempt to cover all core functions of an enterprise, regardless of its nature and can be found in non-manufacturing businesses, not for profit organizations, and governments.
Generally an ERP system will have the following characteristics:
- integrated and operating in ‘real-time’ so it is always up-to-date
- one database to prevent redundant data and multiple data definitions
- all ‘modules’ have the same look and feel
- users are able to access any information in the ERP system (subject to security permissions)