Enterprise systems are software-based business methodologies that are implemented across all functions within an organization. Enterprise essentially refers to the scope of these solutions that are used company-wide. Several key 21st century business processes have evolved in large part because of the availability of enterprise-wide database software applications.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is one of the more prominent business systems of the 21st century. CRM leverages database technology to track customer relationships more accurately, to enhance the total customer experience, and to deliver more targeted marketing campaigns. While marketing departments often spearhead CRM programs, all functions in the organization have more customer-centric roles. CRM software solutions are key to getting a complete view of each customer for more customized relationship management.
Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management (SCM) is another 21st century business development that involves the collaboration of members of a supply chain to deliver the best value solution to the end customer. Built on software applications, SCM relies on close partnerships between manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. SCM software is used for close monitoring and precise automation of inventory replenishment and management. Transportation and logistics is also key. In his November 2008 CIO article "Supply Chain Management Definition and Solutions," Thomas Wailgum identifies five key SCM steps, including: planning, sourcing, making solutions, delivering them and coordinating returns.
Enterprise Resource Planning
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is especially dependent on ERP software solutions. Wailgum points out in another CIO article from April 2008, "ERP Definition and Solutions," that ERP is not really about planning. The focus is on the integration of departments and functions across the company, making the word "enterprise" the key. ERP is a single-computer system that allows all functional areas in the company to collaborate in resource sharing. This is opposite of traditional approaches of separate resource budgets and processes, and it helps to reduce waste and resource inefficiencies.
The phrase business intelligence (BI) has emerged in the 21st century to describe the use of software solutions and data to make more informed business decisions. BI tools are intended to remove reliance on so-called "hunches" often used in the past to make business decisions. In general, BI software is used to track organizational performance in decision-making, notes CIO. More specifically, BI applications are used in gathering, storing, analyzing and providing access to data used by decision-makers across the organization.