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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the integrated management of core business processes, often in real-time, facilitated by software. ERP may also refer to a category of business process management software, typically a suite of integrated applications, that an organization can use to manage data from various business activities and departments. ERP helps organizations manage essential processes such as inventory and order management, accounting, human resources, and customer relationship management.

ERP integrates key processes into one system to improve efficiency and communication across the entire organization. By collecting an organization’s shared transactional data from multiple sources, ERP systems eliminate data duplication and provide data integrity with a single source of truth. The central feature of all ERP systems is a shared database that supports the functions of different business units. Thus, employees in accounting and sales departments can use the same information for their specific needs instead of maintaining separate databases or spreadsheets.

Most ERP software also offers synchronized reporting and automation. Instead of manually merging separate databases from each business unit to generate reports, executives can generate company-wide reports from one system. For example, sales orders can automatically flow into the financial system without manual re-keying, allowing the order fulfillment department to process orders more quickly and accurately, while allowing the finance department to close the books faster. Other common ERP features include a dashboard to enable management to quickly understand performance on key business metrics. Cloud-based solutions such as SAP Business Suite can make ERP software more affordable while enabling real-time reporting and business intelligence. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications includes an integrated clustering solution for physical and virtual Linux systems, automated recovery for SAP HANA databases, and full system rollback to mitigate change errors.

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