What is ERP? ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning and it is a concept which has been around for more than two decades. But what exactly is ERP? As Manufacturing Industries boomed around the world, one major challenge was how to organize and streamline the rapidly mounting volumes of data. Manufacturing companies had various operations performed at various department levels, with data at each process critical to the other. There needed to be a seamless integration in the flow of data across organization. This need was fulfilled by software applications that came to be known as ERP. Thus ERP is an application which facilitates the capture, control and flow of information at each process level across the entire organization. The data is actually stored in an underlying database controlled by the application. What is B.I. Now the question comes, what is B.I. then? and how is it different from an ERP application? B.I. stands for Business Intelligence and here the onus is to streamline retrieval and analysis of data from across the organization. Any good ERP Package worth it's name comes with many seeded reports across various modules, so why go for a separate B.I. Implementation? The thing is an ERP application facilitates capture, storage and movement of data. However we need B.I. applications to be able to generate reports and do analysis across regions, time frames, product lines by users on their own, not to mention the ability to generate ad hoc reports. Additionally a B.I. application can also incorporate data from varied data sources, apart from your ERP application like spreadsheets, presentations and even custom software solutions. Examples of various B.I. applications are Business Objects, Cognos, Hyperion, ProClarity, Microsoft SSAS & SSRS and SAP BIW while popular ERP packages are include SAP, Oracle Apps, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Baan.