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For the purposes of this book, an “enterprise” is a group of people organized for some long-term purpose. A business is an enterprise. So is a non-profit charity. An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) package is a computer software package that integrates all departments and functions within an enterprise into a single, integrated system that maintains a single, integrated set of data. Any transaction entered in one area causes an immediate update in related areas. An ERP enables departments to share information and communicate with each other much better and more quickly using one consistent set of numbers available to all users.

This book is written for people who want to understand the internal operations of ERP packages. It describes a generic ERP rather than any actual package. It is written in simple, everyday language and assumes only a little business knowledge. Consult the accompanying Glossary for a definition of any terms you are unfamiliar with. Although it is written for programmers and analysts, our goal is that you do not need to be a programmer, analyst, or even a business person to understand it.

ERP Internals is a work in progress. It is incomplete and should only be used as part of your own research. We encourage you to contribute to make it better.