Enterprise software, also known as enterprise application software (EAS), is computer software used to satisfy the needs of an organization rather than individual users. Such organizations include businesses, schools, interest-based user groups, clubs, charities, and governments. Enterprise software is an integral part of a computer-based information system.
Enterprise software handles a number of operations in an organization, for example to enhance the business and management reporting tasks, or support production operations and back-office. The systems must process the information at a relatively high speed.
Services provided by enterprise software are typically business-oriented tools. As companies and other organizations have similar departments and systems, enterprise software is often available as a suite of customizable programs. Enterprise software tools cover database management, customer relationship management, supply chain management, business process management and so on.
The term enterprise software is used in industry, and business research publications, but is not common in computer science. In academic literature no coherent definition can be found. The computer historian Martin Campbell-Kelly contemplated in 2003 that the growth of the corporate software industry is not well understood. Enterprise application software (EAS) is recognized among academics as enterprise software components and modules which support only a particular business function. These EAS software components and modules can interoperate, so that cross-functional or inter-organizational enterprise systems can be built up. In this context the industry may speak of middleware. Software that is primarily sold to consumers, is not called enterprise software.
According to Martin Fowler, "Enterprise applications are about the display, manipulation, and storage of large amounts of often complex data and the support or automation of business processes with that data."
Enterprise application software performs business functions such as order processing, procurement, production scheduling, customer information management, energy management, and accounting.
Enterprise systems (ES) are large-scale enterprise software packages that support business processes, information flows, reporting, and data analytics in complex organizations. While ES are generally packaged enterprise application software (PEAS) systems they can also be bespoke, custom-developed systems created to support a specific organization's needs.
Types of enterprise systems include:
Although data warehousing or business intelligence systems are enterprise-wide packaged application software often sold by ES vendors, since they do not directly support execution of business processes, they are often excluded from the term.
Enterprise systems are built on software platforms, such as SAP's NetWeaver and Oracle's Fusion, and databases.
From a hardware perspective, enterprise systems are the servers, storage and associated software that large businesses use as the foundation for their IT infrastructure. These systems are designed to manage large volumes of critical data and thus are typically designed to provide high levels of transaction performance and data security.
Enterprise software can be categorized by business function. Each type of enterprise application can be considered a "system" due to the integration with a firm's business processes. Categories of enterprise software may overlap due to this systemic interpretation. For example, IBM's Business Intelligence platform (Cognos), integrates with a predictive analytics platform (SPSS) and can obtain records from its database packages (Infosphere, DB2).
Certain industry-standard product categories have emerged, and these are shown below: