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Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a computer system used to improve a company's performance by making the most of company assets, which can include the company's workforce, buildings, and machinery. Web-based ERP programs are business planning systems stored and used online rather than at a server on site at the business. Tasks performed by an ERP are many, but include tasks that assist in the management of inventory, facilities, and personnel.
A web-based ERP offers a means of implementing an ERP without the setup cost normally associated with setting up an ERP server at the business location. This can be an attractive option for small businesses struggling to keep costs low while expanding. Web-based ERPs are often more compatible with mobile devices than server-based ERPs, and offer easier access to the ERP while on the road. One disadvantage to a web-based ERP is its dependence on whether the resource planning website is working. If the site is down, it may leave the business owner without access to the ERP system.
Because they can be expanded or minimized depending on the changing needs of a company, web-based ERP programs are more scalable than local, server-based ERP systems. Websites offering online ERP programs usually have different ERP service packages for companies of varying sizes. For example, when a small company grows and needs a larger ERP database, a server-based ERP user may require a new server, while a web-based ERP user would only have to upgrade the ERP service package on the website. Most web-based ERP providers specialize in specific types of businesses or parts of the supply chain.
When an ERP server is maintained on-site, major problems like a fire, flood, or server crash can cause complete loss of all data in the ERP. To avoid losing data, ERP users can back up data on a separate storage device. Web-based ERP services store data off site in the website's server location, so local disasters at the place of business will not affect stored business data. Because this type of ERP has data stored far away from the office, it is also safer from physical tampering or hacking by users on site. As long as a web-based ERP user keeps his website login secure, the data should remain protected.
An ERP essentially maximizes the company's use of its assets. Functions of an ERP system can include scheduling the use of rooms in a facility, employee scheduling or managing the use of company equipment. Companies that operate web-based resource planning programs include OpenBravo®, OpenPro®, and BScaler®.