What's an ERP? Definition and examples

Thanks to their ability to consolidate and streamline operational processes, ERP systems are winning over businesses in all sectors. Worldwide, the market is growing at a rate of +10%, and this is set to continue until 2025. In France, demand is even stronger, with purchase intentions up 100%. So what’s behind this enthusiasm, which is affecting large groups as well as SMEs and mid-sized companies?

What’s an ERP?

Definition and new trends

ERP, or “Enterprise Resource Planning”, is also known in French as “PGI”, for “Progiciel de Gestion Intégrée”. It is a software package that centralises the information and operational processes of all a company’s departments in a single database. The aim of ERP is to improve the flow of information, optimise work processes and facilitate decision-making. Often confused with a CRM solution, ERP software does not address the same issues: its aim is to rationalise and plan company resources.

Prior to 2019, ERP solutions were primarily aimed at finance departments for the production of their reports. The Covid pandemic, the widespread use of the Cloud and improvements in artificial intelligence have revolutionised the way these solutions are used. The new generation of ERP solutions features an ergonomic user interface, improved functionality, greater flexibility and easier integration with other tools or software packages. These new ERPs are often available in SaaS (Software as a Service) mode, making them more accessible, more scalable and less costly in terms of infrastructure.

They can also benefit from rapid advances in artificial intelligence. Far from being a gimmick, AI makes it possible, for example, to anticipate market needs, automate certain processes and gain visibility over their operations.

The pros of using an ERP to manage your company

There are many advantages to implementing an ERP system, covering the most strategic business activities. In particular, they enable :

  • Centralising all information and making it available everywhere, all the time. Instead of having data scattered across different systems or departments, it is brought together in one place. This improves consistency, avoids duplication and makes it much easier for all employees to access information.
  • Coordination and collaboration between the various departments within a company. Whether it’s human resources, accounting, sales or production, all these departments can work in sync, with access to up-to-date, shared information.

What is an ERP for? Key functionalities

Once the software has been (properly) deployed and your teams (properly) onboarded, you’ll be able to take advantage of the tool’s many features, including :

Sales management

An ERP is ideal for assisting sales activities. It enables efficient, transparent management of supplier sourcing, purchasing, stock management and the entire sales cycle. This centralisation makes it easier to monitor product and service flows, while providing customers with a consistent omnichannel experience.

Production management

Production management is another essential pillar of ERP, enabling precise planning and rigorous monitoring of manufacturing, ensuring that resources are used optimally and delivery deadlines are met. Net Requirements Calculation (NRC) helps companies to accurately determine the resources needed to meet demand. What’s more, thanks to the integrated visualisation, it’s possible to get an overview of the process and quickly identify bottlenecks or opportunities for improvement.

PIM (Product Information Management)

Thanks to an ERP with PIM, companies can centralise, manage and distribute all product information efficiently. Whether it’s detailed descriptions, technical specifications, photos or associated documents, everything is stored in one place, guaranteeing the accuracy of the data.

CRM & Marketing

CRM, or customer relationship management, integrated with ERP, is a powerful tool for managing all interactions with customers, whether they be leads, prospects or loyal customers. When combined with advanced marketing functionality, it enables targeted campaigns to be launched, performance to be monitored in real time and strategies to be adjusted accordingly.


Some of the most popular ERPs on the market


SAP is one of the world’s leading ERP companies. This software package offers a complete suite of integrated modules covering almost every aspect of business management, from finance to logistics and human resources. Thanks to its S/4HANA platform, SAP also offers real-time analysis capabilities, enabling companies to process large quantities of data quickly.

The pros: SAP is renowned for its robustness and reliability. It also offers broad functional coverage.


Oracle is a suite of business management applications covering a wide range of functions: human resources, financial management, supply chain management, etc. Its flexibility in terms of deployment, whether on site or in the cloud, makes it a popular choice for businesses of all sizes.

The pros: Oracle’s user interface is intuitive and easy to learn. Furthermore, its compatibility with other Oracle products means you benefit from a complete, well-integrated solution.


SAGE is renowned for its accounting solutions, but over the years the software package has developed into a complete range of ERP solutions for SMEs. Its modules cover areas such as accounting, finance, human resources management and production.

The pros: designed primarily for small and medium-sized businesses, SAGE ERP is renowned for its ease of use, flexibility and affordability. It offers seamless integration with other SAGE products.

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