Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are IT-based systems designed to manage business commitments (eg sales orders, production orders, purchases, employment contracts and payroll) and other data related to processes executed in typical enterprise. This data also includes resources available in enterprise, such as materials, people, financial assets, production resources and their (planned) usage for of them in business transactions, thus the title ERP.

Usual goal with ERP, as accordingly would be stated in business or IT strategy, is to unify the systems, processes and data used in the corporate. Rationale may lay in leveraging development work: costs of development can be split among several units thus improving the business case. Or it may be in leveraging sales: common system enables cross selling, as all sales units can see products and production possibilities across the business. And in similar way the there is greater possibility to centralize and optimize work between units (common purchasing or global supply chain planning), if systems are common and united. 

One major advantage of ERP, at least in some of the market leader products, is in its structuring: the features of product can be divorced from particular choices made by target organization, the configuration. Product can be upgraded on ongoing bases (like virus protection or operating system software updates) as one domain, while still keeping the organizations configuration intact and consistent, as a separate domain.