Up to now only Big Business has used Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software.
In basic terms ERP aims to standardize and automate processes to streamline how a business operates: ERP lets departments and workers connect and share data and processes, so analysts and executives can quickly spot and resolve business performance problems.
The ERP tools a firm selects depends on what process they aim to improve and whether they sell products or services: Businesses that sell products may have manufacturing, supply chain or distribution functions that the ERP system must address. For organizations that sell services, an ERP must support project management, budgets, task and resource scheduling, and billing.
First SAP in 1974 then later JDEdwards, Peoplesoft, Baan and many more provided Tier 1 ERP solutions at a huge cost to licence, implement, train, support and maintain.
But now powerful easy-to-use open source ERPs target Small Business, who struggle with the same problems as Big Business: To master systems vital for them to organize and respond, so they can compete and grow.