A Comprehensive Guide to Types of ERP Systems (2024)


A Comprehensive Guide to Types of ERP Systems (2024)

Different types of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems include:

  • Cloud-based ERP Systems: Accessible via the Internet, offering cost savings and increased accessibility.
  • On-Premises ERP Systems: Installed on a company’s servers and managed by its IT staff.
  • Hybrid ERP Systems: Combines elements of both cloud-based and on-premises systems.
  • Generic ERP Systems: Offers various functionalities suitable for multiple industries.
  • Industry-Specific ERP Systems: Tailored for specific sectors with unique requirements.

Introduction to ERP Systems

Types of ERP Systems
  • What are ERP Systems? Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are integrated software platforms for managing various business operations, such as accounting, HR, and sales.
  • Benefits: They enhance data flow between applications, boosting efficiency, profitability, and time-saving across all business sizes and industries.
  • Cloud-based ERP Systems: Many ERPs have shifted to cloud platforms, offering greater accessibility and cost-effectiveness than traditional on-premises systems.
  • Accessibility and Decision-Making: Cloud-based ERPs allow access to business processes and data from any internet-enabled device, facilitating real-time operations and decision-making.
  • Diverse Market Offerings: ERP systems vary to meet specific industry needs, with options for all business sizes. Popular ERP systems include Oracle Cloud ERP, Microsoft Dynamics, and SAP Business One, each offering different deployment choices.

Classifying ERP Systems: An Overview

Classifying ERP Systems

ERP systems can be classified based on various criteria, which helps organizations choose the most suitable solution for their needs.

Here’s a comprehensive overview of the different classifications:

Size-Based Classification

Tier I: Large Corporations

  • Examples: SAP, Oracle.
  • Description: These ERP systems are designed for large enterprises with complex, global operations. They offer extensive functionality and support a wide range of business processes.

Upper and Lower Tier II: Small to Mid-Sized Companies

  • Examples: Odoo, Netsuite,
  • Description: These systems cater to small and medium-sized businesses, providing robust features with scalability options to grow with the company.

Tier III: Simple, Ready-to-Use Solutions

  • Examples: QuickBooks,
  • Description: These ERP solutions are ideal for small businesses that need straightforward, out-of-the-box functionality. They are easy to implement and require minimal customization.

Functionality-Based Classification

Core ERP

  • Description: Core ERP systems offer fundamental functionalities essential for running a business.
  • Key Features: Finance, Human Resources (HR), Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Extended ERP

  • Description: Extended ERP systems build on core functionalities by adding advanced capabilities.
  • Key Features: Analytics, Business Intelligence (BI), Supply Chain Management (SCM).

Vertical ERP

  • Description: Vertical ERP systems are tailored to meet the specific needs of particular industries.
  • Key Features: Industry-specific features and modules, such as manufacturing, healthcare, or retail.

Deployment Method Classification

Cloud-Based ERP

  • Examples: Oracle Netsuite and Microsoft Azure.
  • Description: These systems are hosted on the cloud and accessible via the web. They offer flexibility, scalability, and reduced upfront costs.
  • Benefits: Accessibility from anywhere, lower maintenance costs, regular updates.

On-Premises ERP

  • Examples: SAP ERP, Microsoft Dynamics.
  • Description: These systems are installed on the company’s servers and managed internally. They offer greater control and customization.
  • Benefits: Enhanced security, full control over data, customizable to specific needs.

Hybrid ERP

  • Description: Hybrid ERP systems combine both cloud-based and on-premises solutions.
  • Benefits: The flexibility of the cloud combined with the control of on-premises solutions allows businesses to balance their specific needs.

Industry-Focused Classification

Generic ERP

  • Description: These ERP systems are versatile and can be adapted to various industries.
  • Benefits: Broad functionality, flexible configuration options, suitable for diverse business environments.

Industry-Specific ERP

  • Description: Tailored ERP systems designed to meet the unique requirements of specific sectors.
  • Benefits: Industry-specific features, compliance with sector regulations, optimized workflows for particular industry needs.

Choosing the Right ERP System

Selecting the appropriate ERP system depends on several factors:

  • Organization’s Size: Larger enterprises might require Tier I solutions, while small to mid-sized companies might find Tier II or Tier III solutions more suitable.
  • Functionality Needs: Determine whether core functionalities suffice or if advanced features like analytics and industry-specific modules are necessary.
  • Preferred Deployment Method: Based on your infrastructure and control preferences, choose between cloud-based, on-premises, or hybrid solutions.
  • Industry Focus: Consider whether a generic ERP or an industry-specific solution best aligns with your business operations and regulatory requirements.

By carefully evaluating these criteria, organizations can select an ERP system that meets their current needs and supports their long-term growth and strategic goals.

Size-Based Classification of ERP Systems

Size-Based Classification of ERP Systems

ERP systems are often classified based on the size of the organizations they serve. This classification helps businesses choose a system that fits their scale, complexity, and resource availability.

Here’s a detailed look at ERP systems’ size-based classification, including real-life examples and reasons why each ERP fits different organizational sizes.

Tier I: Large Corporations

Examples: SAP, Oracle.

Tier I ERP systems are designed for large enterprises with complex, global operations. These systems provide extensive functionality and support various business processes across multiple locations and subsidiaries.

Why It Fits Large Corporations:

  • Comprehensive Features: These ERP systems offer various functionalities, from finance and HR to supply chain management and advanced analytics.
  • Scalability: They can handle the high transaction volumes and data requirements typical of large enterprises.
  • Global Support: They support multiple languages, currencies, and regulatory requirements, which is crucial for multinational corporations.

Real-Life Example:
Siemens: Siemens, a global electronics and electrical engineering powerhouse, uses SAP to manage its vast and complex operations. SAP’s robust features and global capabilities help Siemens streamline processes, improve efficiency, and maintain compliance across numerous countries.

Upper and Lower Tier II: Small to Mid-Sized Companies

Examples: Odoo, Netsuite,

Upper and Lower Tier II ERP systems are designed for small and medium-sized businesses. They provide robust features that can scale as the business grows, making them ideal for companies looking to expand their operations.

Why It Fits Small to Mid-Sized Companies:

  • Cost-Effective: These systems balance cost and functionality, making them affordable for smaller businesses.
  • Scalability: They can scale up with the company’s growth, adding new modules and users as needed.
  • Ease of Implementation: They typically have shorter implementation times than Tier I systems, allowing businesses to realize benefits faster.

Real-Life Example:
HubSpot: HubSpot, a leading provider of marketing, sales, and customer service software, uses Netsuite for its ERP needs. Netsuite’s flexibility and scalability support HubSpot’s rapid growth and evolving business needs, providing a comprehensive solution that integrates seamlessly with its operations.

Tier III: Simple, Ready-to-Use Solutions

Examples: QuickBooks,

Tier III ERP systems are designed for small businesses that require straightforward, out-of-the-box functionality. These solutions are easy to implement and manage and offer essential features without the complexity of higher-tier systems.

Why It Fits Small Businesses:

  • Simplicity: They provide the basic functionalities for small businesses without unnecessary complexity.
  • Affordability: These systems are typically less expensive, with lower upfront and maintenance costs.
  • Quick Implementation: Small businesses can implement these systems quickly, minimizing disruption and allowing them to start benefiting from the ERP right away.

Real-Life Example:
Local Coffee Shop Chain: A small chain of coffee shops might use QuickBooks to manage its finances and inventory. QuickBooks offers an affordable, easy-to-use solution that helps the business track sales, manage expenses, and maintain inventory levels without extensive customization or IT support.

Functionality-Based Classification of ERP Systems

Functionality-Based Classification of ERP Systems

ERP systems can also be classified based on their functionalities. This classification helps organizations choose an ERP system that offers the specific features and capabilities they need.

Here’s a detailed look at the functionality-based classification of ERP systems, including real-life examples and reasons why each type fits different business needs.

Core ERP

Core ERP systems offer fundamental functionalities essential for running a business. These systems typically include modules for finance, human resources (HR), and customer relationship management (CRM).

Why It Fits Basic Business Needs:

  • Fundamental Operations: Core ERP systems provide the essential tools for day-to-day operations, ensuring that critical business processes are managed efficiently.
  • Cost-Effective: These systems are often more affordable, making them suitable for businesses that need essential features without extensive customization.
  • Ease of Implementation: With a focus on core functionalities, these systems can be implemented more quickly and with less complexity.

Real-Life Example:
Small Manufacturing Company: A small manufacturing company might use an ERP system like Odoo, which offers core functionalities such as finance, HR, and CRM. This allows the company to effectively manage its financial transactions, employee records, and customer relationships without needing advanced features.

Extended ERP

Extended ERP systems build on core functionalities by adding advanced capabilities such as analytics, business intelligence (BI), supply chain management (SCM), and project management.

Why It Fits Growing Businesses:

  • Advanced Features: These systems offer additional modules that support more complex and strategic business processes.
  • Scalability: They can scale with the business as it grows, adding new functionalities to meet evolving needs.
  • Improved Decision-Making: These systems’ enhanced analytics and BI provide deeper insights into business performance, aiding in better decision-making.

Real-Life Example:
Mid-Sized Retail Chain: A mid-sized retail chain might use Netsuite for its extended ERP capabilities, including supply chain management and advanced analytics. This helps the company optimize inventory levels, manage supplier relationships, and gain insights into sales trends, ultimately improving operational efficiency and profitability.

Vertical ERP

Vertical ERP systems are tailored to meet the specific needs of particular industries. They offer industry-specific features and modules that address unique business requirements.

Why It Fits Industry-Specific Needs:

  • Specialized Features: These systems include functionalities designed to handle certain industries’ specific processes and compliance requirements.
  • Optimized Workflows: Vertical ERP systems streamline industry-specific workflows, improving efficiency and reducing the need for extensive customization.
  • Regulatory Compliance: They ensure businesses adhere to industry regulations, reducing non-compliance risk.

Real-Life Example:
Healthcare Provider: A large healthcare provider might use an ERP system like Infor Healthcare, which offers industry-specific modules for patient management, electronic medical records, and regulatory compliance. This ensures that the provider can manage patient care efficiently while adhering to healthcare regulations.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an ERP System

choosing erp

Selecting the right ERP system is critical for your organization’s success. Here are the key factors to consider, outlined comprehensively with bullet lists and bolded points to enhance readability:

Cost Considerations

Total Cost of Ownership
When evaluating an ERP system, it’s essential to understand the full scope of costs involved:

  • Software Pricing: Initial licensing fees or subscription costs.
  • Implementation Costs: Expenses for deploying the system, including consultants and project management.
  • Customization: Costs for tailoring the ERP to meet specific business needs.
  • Maintenance: Ongoing support and updates.
  • Training: Expenses related to educating employees on using the new system.

Assessing these costs comprehensively helps ensure the ERP system is cost-effective over the long term.


Growth Potential
An ERP system should be able to grow alongside your organization. Key considerations include:

  • Modular Architecture: The ability to add new modules as needed without major disruptions.
  • Feature Expansion: Support for new features and functionalities to adapt to changing business needs.
  • Integration Capabilities: Seamless integration with other systems and applications as the business evolves.

Future-Proofing Your Investment
Ensure the ERP system can handle increased data volumes, user numbers, and more complex operations without requiring a complete overhaul.

Features and User Experience

Critical Functionalities
Prioritize ERP systems that offer robust features to support your business processes:

  • Reporting and Analytics: Advanced capabilities for generating insightful reports and analyzing data trends.
  • Automation: Tools for automating routine tasks, reducing manual effort, and increasing efficiency.
  • Customizable Dashboards: Tailored views for different user roles to enhance productivity.

User Interface and Ease of Use
A user-friendly interface is vital for successful adoption. Consider:

  • Intuitive Design: Easy navigation and clear workflows.
  • Employee Training: Resources and support for training users to get the most out of the system.
  • Customer Support: Availability of responsive and knowledgeable support to assist with issues.

Support and Training
Reliable support and comprehensive training programs are crucial:

  • Ongoing Support: Access to help desks, online resources, and regular updates.
  • Training Programs: In-depth training sessions to ensure all users can efficiently operate the system.


Considering these key factors ensures you choose an ERP system that aligns with your organization’s needs and goals.

Focusing on cost considerations, scalability, features, and user experience can help you select a system that supports your business now and in the future. This approach helps you make a well-informed decision that maximizes the return on your ERP investment.

Customizing Your ERP Solution: The Role of ERP Integrators

customizing erp

ERP integrators, companies that specialize in adapting ERP software to meet specific requirements, can help you customize your ERP solution to fit your organization’s unique needs.

These ERP vendors and integrators can bring a specialized level of proficiency that can help enhance your business, optimize your ERP deployment and usage, and sidestep common issues.

ERP integrators can assist in optimizing current business procedures and recommend ERP applications suitable for your organization’s requirements.

By working closely with your organization and understanding its unique needs and challenges, an ERP integrator can help tailor your ERP integration solution to ensure that it delivers the maximum value and benefits.

When considering whether to engage an ERP integrator, weighing the potential benefits against the costs and effort involved is essential.

The expertise and knowledge provided by an ERP integrator can be invaluable in ensuring a successful ERP implementation. Still, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate your organization’s needs and budget before making this decision.

Evaluating the ROI of Your ERP Investment

erp roi

Evaluating the ROI of your ERP investment is essential to understand the value and benefits the system brings to your organization.

Here are the key steps involved in this process:

Cost Analysis

Understand the Price of Software
Consider the upfront cost of the ERP software itself. This includes licensing fees and any additional modules required.

Hardware Costs
Evaluate the costs associated with the necessary hardware to support the ERP system. This might include servers, storage devices, and network infrastructure.

Consulting Fees
Account for the fees paid to consultants who assist with the ERP implementation. These experts provide valuable guidance and help ensure a smooth transition.

Training Costs
Include the expenses for training employees to use the new ERP system effectively. This can involve on-site training sessions, online courses, and training materials.

Customization Costs
Customization ensures that the ERP system meets the specific needs of your organization. These costs cover the development of custom features, interfaces, and reports.

Maintenance and Upgrades
Ongoing costs such as maintenance, support, and periodic upgrades are essential to keeping the ERP system running smoothly and up to date with the latest features and security patches.

Assess Benefits

Efficiency Improvements
Evaluate how the ERP system improves operational efficiency by streamlining processes, reducing manual tasks, and eliminating redundancies.

Accuracy Enhancements
Consider the increased accuracy in data management and reporting. An ERP system reduces errors and ensures that all departments have access to consistent and reliable data.

Customer Service Improvements
Assess how the ERP system enhances customer service by providing better data visibility, faster response times, and improved order management.

Cost Savings
Calculate the cost savings achieved through better inventory management, optimized supply chain processes, and reduced labor costs due to automation.

Make Informed Decisions

Use ROI Analysis
Utilize the ROI analysis to determine whether the ERP system provides a positive return on investment. A positive ROI indicates that the benefits outweigh the costs, making the investment worthwhile.

Decision Making
Based on the ROI analysis, decide if the ERP system aligns with your organization’s financial goals and strategic objectives. This analysis helps you make informed decisions about the ERP investment’s viability and long-term value.

Preparing for a Successful ERP Implementation

Preparing for a Successful ERP Implementation

Preparing for a Successful ERP Implementation involves several critical steps to ensure the new system aligns with organizational goals and delivers the expected benefits.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the key components for successful ERP implementation:


Engaging Stakeholders
The first step in any ERP implementation is engaging all relevant stakeholders, including senior management, department heads, IT staff, and end-users. Their input is crucial for understanding the current challenges and future needs.

Forming a Project Management Team
A dedicated project management team should be formed to oversee the ERP implementation. This team should include project managers, business analysts, IT experts, and representatives from key departments. The team’s responsibilities include creating a detailed project plan, setting clear milestones, and ensuring the project stays on track.

Creating a Clear Plan and Milestones
A well-defined project plan is essential. This plan should outline each implementation phase, from initial consultation to final rollout. Key milestones should be established to track progress and ensure timely task completion. Regular updates and reviews should be scheduled to keep everyone informed and address any issues promptly.


Ensuring Stakeholder Agreement
Consensus among stakeholders is vital. Organize workshops and meetings to discuss the ERP project’s goals, scope, and expected outcomes. This ensures everyone is on the same page and that the ERP system aligns with the overall business strategy.

Aligning the ERP System with Organizational Goals
The ERP system should support the organization’s strategic objectives. Conduct a thorough analysis of current business processes and identify areas for improvement. The ERP system should streamline operations, improve efficiency, and provide better data insights to support decision-making.

Enterprise Consultants

Leveraging Expertise for Business Process Refinement
Enterprise consultants bring valuable expertise to the table. They can help refine existing business processes to optimize for the new ERP system. This might involve re-engineering processes to eliminate inefficiencies and align them with best practices.

ERP System Selection
Choosing the right ERP system is crucial. Consultants can guide the organization through the selection process, helping evaluate different ERP solutions based on cost, scalability, features, and user experience. Their expertise ensures that the chosen system fits the organization’s needs and future growth plans.

Selecting ERP Software

Evaluating Options Based on Cost, Scalability, Features, and User Experience
Evaluate potential ERP systems on several criteria:

  • Cost: Consider both the initial investment and ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Scalability: Ensure the system can grow with the organization and handle increased data and user volumes.
  • Features: Assess the system’s capabilities to ensure it includes all necessary functionalities for the business.
  • User Experience: A user-friendly interface is crucial for adoption. Ensure the system is intuitive and easy to use.

Finding the Best Fit
The final selection should be a system that meets current needs and supports long-term business objectives. It should integrate seamlessly with existing systems and provide a platform for future innovation.

FAQ about ERP Systems


What are the three common types of ERP?
Cloud-based ERP, On-premise ERP, Hybrid ERP.

What are the four types of ERP classification?
Generalist ERP, Vertical ERP, Flexible ERP, Small Business ERP.

What are the four types of ERP architecture?
Monolithic Systems, Postmodern ERP, Tiered Systems, Service-Oriented Architecture.

What are the four different modules of the ERP system?
Finance/Accounting, Human Resources, Supply Chain Management, Customer Relationship Management.

Is SAP an ERP system?
Yes, SAP is a leading ERP system.

Is QuickBooks an ERP system?
No, QuickBooks is primarily accounting software.

What type of ERP is SAP?
SAP is a comprehensive, integrated ERP system, often classified as a generalist ERP.

What are the two main ERP systems?
SAP and Oracle are two of the leading ERP systems.

Is Workday an ERP?
Workday is an ERP system primarily known for its HR and financial management modules.

What are the five components of ERP?
Software, Hardware, Data, Procedures/Processes, People/Users.

How many types of SAP ERP are there?
SAP offers various ERP solutions, including SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) and SAP S/4HANA.

What are the four major phases of ERP implementation?
Project Planning, Business Blueprint/Design, Implementation and Development, Go-Live and Support.

Why is Oracle ERP better than SAP?
Oracle ERP is often seen as more flexible and has a strong presence in cloud-based solutions.

What is the Oracle ERP system?
Oracle ERP is an integrated suite of business applications for automating processes across finance, HR, supply chain, and more.

What are the SAP ERP modules called?
SAP modules include SAP FI (Financial Accounting), SAP CO (Controlling), SAP MM (Material Management), SAP SD (Sales and Distribution), etc.

Is Salesforce an ERP?
No, Salesforce is primarily a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.

Is SAP an ERP or CRM?
SAP offers both ERP and CRM solutions within its suite of business applications.

What ERP system does Disney use?
Disney uses SAP as its ERP system.

What are the initial costs involved in implementing an ERP system?
Initial costs vary based on system complexity but include software licensing, hardware, implementation services, and training.

How do ERP systems integrate with existing business software?
ERP systems often offer integration tools and APIs to facilitate seamless data exchange with existing software.

What is the average implementation time for an ERP system?
Implementation times can range from a few months to over a year, depending on the system’s complexity and the organization’s size.

Can ERP systems be customized to fit unique business processes?
Most ERP systems are highly customizable to meet specific business needs and processes.

What training is required for employees to use an ERP system effectively?
Training varies but generally includes system navigation, data entry, and process-specific functionalities.

How do cloud-based ERP systems ensure data security?
Cloud-based ERPs use encryption, secure data centers, and compliance with standards to ensure data security.

What are the scalability options for ERP systems as a company grows?
ERP systems offer modular designs and flexible architectures to add functionalities or users as needed.

How frequently do ERP systems need to be updated?
Updates depend on the provider but can range from quarterly to annually, with patches for critical issues as needed.

What are the challenges of migrating data to an ERP system?
Challenges include data quality, format standardization, and data integrity during the transfer.

Can ERP systems support remote work and mobile access?
Most modern ERP systems support remote access via cloud-based solutions and mobile apps.

What is the ROI of implementing an ERP system?
ROI varies but includes improved productivity, reduced costs, and enhanced decision-making capabilities.

How do ERP systems comply with international data protection regulations?
ERPs comply through data encryption, user access controls, and adherence to legal frameworks like GDPR.

Future Trends for ERP: Impact of IoT and AI

Future Trends for ERP  Impact of IoT and AI

The landscape of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is rapidly evolving, influenced significantly by advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

These technologies are set to revolutionize how businesses manage their operations and processes.

Integration of IoT in ERP

  • Real-Time Data Collection: IoT devices will enable ERP systems to gather real-time data from various sources like manufacturing equipment, logistics networks, and consumer devices.
  • Enhanced Operational Efficiency: This real-time data can optimize processes, predict maintenance needs, and improve supply chain management.
  • Better Decision Making: Businesses can make more informed decisions based on accurate, up-to-the-minute data.

AI-Driven ERP Systems

  • Predictive Analytics: AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data to predict trends, customer behavior, and potential operational issues.
  • Automated Processes: AI can automate routine tasks such as data entry, order processing, and customer service, allowing employees to focus on more strategic activities.
  • Personalized Customer Experience: AI can personalize customer interactions by analyzing previous interactions and preferences, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Future ERP Landscape

  • Integrated AI and IoT: Future ERP systems will likely integrate AI and IoT more deeply, leading to smarter, more efficient, and more responsive business processes.
  • Cloud-based ERP Solutions: The shift to cloud-based ERP systems will continue, providing scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Customization and Flexibility: ERP systems will become more customizable and flexible, adapting to the unique needs of each business.

The convergence of AI and IoT with ERP systems promises transformative changes, driving efficiency, productivity, and business intelligence to unprecedented levels.

As these technologies mature, businesses adopting them in their ERP strategies will be at the forefront of operational innovation and competitiveness.

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  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, improving organizational efficiency.

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