This article focuses on developments in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. The way companies acquire ERP services in the future will likely change radically, too. Midsize companies can expect to say goodbye to the large-scale systems and their steep training curves by letting someone else house the system and worry about maintenance. ERP systems link manufacturing with business processes like new orders, purchasing, credit, accounting, supply chain management, and planning. Vendors are looking to catch the attention of potential clients and get them back on board and away from the workaround. Businesse s looking for the capabilities that ERP can give them minus its headaches will more often turn to outside services. In an outsourcing scenario, a company uses some or all the modules in an ERP system over a secure network link to the service's computer center. Although ERP systems have been perceived as clunky and expensive of late, the industry is far from moribund. In fact, the applications are becoming nimbler and have the potential to become even more practical in the years ahead.

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