Highly valued in the software industry, enterprise resource planning systems are used by companies to condense information and the functions of their various departments into one general database, introducing visitors to a more user-friendly environment. Among their many practical applications, they allow for a major visibility on the part of the users - whether they be private individuals, or affiliated with a specific work-related field in the industry sectors. Another benefit they provide is the widespread access to information, promoting a more speedy, detailed and up to date analysis of the content available. A third important feature of ERP systems for users is the ability to access information in real time, since the constant flow of up-to-date information is considered the lifeline of the world-wide-web.
For the company, a significant advantage of their use lies in improved organizational capability, planning and coordination among the various sectors in the organization- as well as among its workforce and related partners in the industry. The element of real-time access to the database ensures the simultaneous exchange of information across all levels for its affiliates and partners, reducing time constraints and improving project/data management, decision-making and collaboration. With an efficient enterprise resource planning system up-and-running, having a single storage database also cuts energy consumption costs, eliminating the need for expensive hardware components and unnecessary software.
On the down-side, since information is also regarded as a valued commodity, facilitating access to it on a wider basis may have negative repercussions on the organization providing the service, thus reducing profit margins and any related, potential investment opportunities.
A further, inevitable detrimental effect of the use of enterprise resource planning systems is the down-sizing of the work-force. With information made more readily available to the public than ever before, there would no longer be any need to employ those workers normally appointed for the dissemination of the content itself. Also, any other employee formerly responsible for the functions of those departments now controlled through the ERP database, could easily be considered expendable.
Considering both the beneficial effects and the disadvantages of enterprise resource planning systems, the greatest risk, in the long run, is to the company itself and to its workers. However, their use leads to a greater level of control and improves communication among the various departments within the organization, the workforce, and its affiliate partners. Furthermore, the use of one general database also helps in cutting costs and saving energy consumption. Generally speaking, ERP systems are an essential tool in our modern technological era for any company, if it is to successfully conduct its operations on a global scale and prove a worthy competitor in the international marketplace.
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