Oracle ERP products, like many of the increasingly streamlined integrated planning tools that are appearing on the marketplace today, reflect a broad downstream trend affecting products and services for back office management. Integrated Oracle ERP suites and infrastructures are becoming more accessible to smaller markets and also more reliable, flexible and sophisticated, expanding in capabilities even as they drop in cost. As one of the established leaders in the enterprise resource planning field, Oracle ERP software and systems have been pace setters in this trend. The innovations and developments behind newer product suites have been assisted by recent acquisitions of smaller firms like Peoplesoft and J.D. Edwards. Oracle ERP providers have also been making inroads into potential strategic partnerships with hosting solution providers like Sungard, which, if successful, can allow users to take advantage of well-known software suites hosted by respected offsite service providers.
If you own or manage technology infrastructures for a small or mid sized business, you may want to investigate the possibility of Oracle ERP software suites and integrated infrastructures. Integrated enterprise resource planning systems can help you manage an increasingly diverse variety of tasks including supply chain management, financials, customer relationship management, inventory control, human capital management and payroll. These tools are especially vital support structures for process and product manufacturing and related fields, like pharmaceuticals, food and beverage distribution, apparel, electronics and construction.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the first enterprise resource manufacturing systems were introduced in the manufacturing sector. Operations managers at that time were looking for ways to coordinate complex operations on factory shop floors like ordering, scheduling, billing and receiving. But these tasks often required the input of multiple departments, and at that time, businesses were typically running their individual departments and teams in independent, isolated software platforms.
This lead to slowdowns in productivity and data sharing problems, since different teams could not exchange information or collective documents without complex data conversion software. But with the arrival of early forms of system integration, all teams through the company were able to unify their diverse functions onto a single central platform. Different departments could use the centralized system to run standardized applications and access shared databases that could be viewed by anyone in the company and updated in real time.
The revolutionized productivity and efficiency, and it also streamlined employee training, since each department engaged the system using interfaces that had the same look and feel. But for many years, these advantages were available only to the large firms that could afford to purchase and maintain expensive hardware and accept the risk associated with implementation. Smaller firms with more restrictive technology budgets did not have access to integrated systems until years later, when market demand at the high budget level began to cool.
At that point, established developers and providers began to search for new forms of market share and new ways of remaining competitive. They began scaling and customizing their product suites to appeal to downstream markets, an ongoing effort that is bringing integration into the hands of smaller and smaller firms.