ERP software features
The features of an ERP software are :
Creating Master data
Master data is the central repository of data that links together all of the related modules in the ERP software. ERP softwares allow a company to maintain master lists of all customers and vendors, the products the company sells, the material company procures, chart of accounts list, employee data and the equipment data which company owns.
These data are referred to as master lists or master data as they do not change often like the transaction data.
Maintaining master data in a software can be created centrally or can be handled by individual departments. When master data is maintained by single department, the control and chances of one record having two entries can be eliminated.
If the master data is maintained by individual departments the chances of multiple entries is more and a separate system has to be created to ensure such occurrences do not happen.
Master data should be entered before entering transactions. This data appears in transactions as lists. For example, while raising a sales invoice for a particular customer all customer names will appear as a list. Users can select a particular customer name and proceed with recording a sales invoice.
All ERP softwares allow recording of day to day activities in a company. Activities are nothing but business processes and for each process certain data is recorded.
For example, when goods are purchased a purchase invoice is raised and data related to the purchase business process is recorded. After configuring the master data, business transactions can be entered. Transactional data is dynamic data.
Linking between different transactions
Many a times transactions have to be linked to other transactions. For example, a delivery note has to be linked to the sales invoice so that information such as number of deliveries for a particular sales invoice can be generated.
Further, sales invoices can be linked to orders so that information regarding a particular order and the number of deliveries can be generated.
ERP software provide the Audit trail of transactions at the traceable level. This feature enables an user to see the source document from the report level and trace back to the report.
ERP should support centralized data management. Many a times it may be necessary to maintain data at some workstations. The ERP software data management system should allow for distributed data but which allows for centralized management.
ERP systems should ensure security by using permissions feature so that users can be given the access they need. When payments are being made, the software should allow for authorization. For example, a user who creates a payment is not allowed to release the payment.
The release payment feature is only accessed by higher level management.
Reporting module should generate reports like Trial balance, Balance sheet, Stock Ledger, General Ledger drawing data from different data files. Tools for querying database and ad hoc reporting are used to generate reports from various databases.
As ERP software collect large amounts of data, managements may want to generate Business intelligence from such data. While some ERP vendors integrate business intelligence tools in their products, many a times third party Business intelligence tools have to be purchased.
These tools need to provide querying facility and be able to draw data from external sources combine it with the ERP database and generate reports.
ERP software should allow emailing of quotes, invoices, orders, notifications and receivables to appropriate destinations.
A transaction from the database perspective is a series of database operations that succeed or fail as a whole. If all operations complete successfully, the entire transaction succeeds and the changes are committed to the database.
If a single operation fails, then the entire transaction fails and no changes are written to the database. This feature is known as the Rollback feature.
Real time validation
Real time validation in an ERP software refers to the feature which checks data to the last transaction. For instance, the current balance in the bank account has to be checked before issuing a check.
Another example is, receivables from a particular customer has to be checked before committing further sales to the customer.
Web enabling ERP software allows a customer or a vendor to interact with the company through the web interfaces of the ERP software. Communication becomes faster resulting in higher level of satisfaction.