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Enterprise software, also known as enterprise application software (EAS), is computer software used to satisfy the needs of an organization rather than its individual users. Enterprise software is an integral part of a computer-based information system, handling a number of business operations, for example to enhance business and management reporting tasks, or support production operations and back office functions. Enterprise systems must process information at a relatively high speed.
Services provided by enterprise software are typically business-oriented tools. As companies and other organizations have similar departments and systems, enterprise software is often available as a suite of customizable programs. Enterprise software tools cover database management, customer relationship management, supply chain management, business process management and so on.
Definitions and industry
The term enterprise software is used in industry, and business research publications, but is not common in computer science. In academic literature no coherent definition can be found. The computer historian Martin Campbell-Kelly contemplated in 2003 that the growth of the corporate software industry is not well understood. Enterprise application software (EAS) is recognized among academics as enterprise software components and modules which support only a particular business function. These EAS software components and modules can interoperate, so that cross-functional or inter-organizational enterprise systems can be built up. In this context the industry may speak of middleware. Software that is primarily sold to consumers, is not called enterprise software.
According to Martin Fowler, "Enterprise applications are about the display, manipulation, and storage of large amounts of often complex data and the support or automation of business processes with that data."
Enterprise application software performs business functions such as order processing, procurement, production scheduling, customer information management, energy management, and accounting.
Enterprise systems (ES) are large-scale enterprise software packages which support a range of business processes, information flows, reporting, and data analytics in complex organizations. While ES are generally packaged enterprise application software (PEAS) systems they can also be bespoke, custom-developed systems created to support a specific organization's needs. Types of enterprise system include:
- enterprise resources planning (ERP) systems,
- enterprise planning systems, and
- customer relationship management software.
Although data warehousing or business intelligence systems are enterprise-wide packaged application software often sold by ES vendors, since they do not directly support execution of business processes, they are often excluded from the term.
From a hardware perspective, enterprise systems are the servers, storage and associated software that large businesses use as the foundation for their IT infrastructure. These systems are designed to manage large volumes of critical data and thus are typically designed to provide high levels of transaction performance and data security.
The "seemingly boundless complexity" of enterprise systems has been criticised, and arguments maintained for deploying discrete systems for specific business tasks. Cynthia Rettig, an American businesswoman, has argued that "the concept of a single monolithic system [has] failed for many companies".
Enterprise software can be categorized by business function. Each type of enterprise application can be considered a "system" due to the integration with a firm's business processes. Categories of enterprise software may overlap due to this systemic interpretation. For example, IBM's Business Intelligence platform (Cognos), integrates with a predictive analytics platform (SPSS) and can obtain records from its database packages (Infosphere, DB2).
Certain industry-standard product categories have emerged, and these are shown below:
- Business Intelligence (BI)
- Business Process Management (BPM)
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- DataBase Management System (DBMS) - such as Master Data Management (MDM) and Data Warehousing (DW, DWH or EDW)
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)
- Human Resource Management (HRM)
- Knowledge Management (KM)
- Low-code Development Platforms (LCDP)
- Product Data Management (PDM)
- Product Information Management (PIM)
- Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
- Supply Chain Management (SCM)
- Software Configuration Management (SCM) - such as Version Control System (VCS)
- Networking and Information Security
- Others types of software which do not fit into well-known standard categories, including backup software, Billing Management, Accounting software
- Application Release Automation Software
- Application software
- Business informatics
- Business software
- Enterprise architecture
- Enterprise forms automation
- Enterprise planning system
- Global Information Network Architecture
- IBM Smarter Computing
- Identity management
- Identity management system
- Information technology management
- Integrated business planning
- Management information system
- Operational risk management
- Retail software
- Server (computing)
- Strategic information system
- "Types of Enterprise Systems and Their Applications". Florida Tech. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
- "Management Information Systems Glossary of Terms". Uganda Martyrs University. 27 March 2013. Archived from the original on 1 November 2021. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
- Thomas Otter (2019). Externalities and Enterprise Software: Helping and Hindering Legal Compliance. KIT Scientific Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 9783731509370.
- Martin Fowler, "Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture" (2002). Addison Wesley.
- "MES Relationship with Other Enterprise Systems". statii. Archived from the original on 10 May 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
- Rettig, C., The Trouble With Enterprise Software, MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 2007, Volume 49, No. 1, accessed 17 November 2023
- "What is enterprise application? A Word Definition From the Webopedia Computer Dictionary". Webopedia.com. 7 May 2010. Archived from the original on 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-16.