The history of SAP

Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing – otherwise known as SAP – is a software which centralises data management for businesses. SAP is best known for its enterprise resource planning software – SAP ERP – which enables effective data processing and information flow across organisations, by allowing various employees to make updates using the same data platform. Since launching its first financial accounting system in 1973, SAP has grown to become one of the largest software companies in the world.

SAP’s creation and evolution 1972 – 1996

United by a vision to create a standard application software for processing business information in real-time, five former IBM employees formed SAP GmbH in 1972. SAP released R/1 (the letter ‘R’ stands for ‘Real-Time Processing’), a financial accounting system, in 1973. SAP R/2 was released in the late 1970s and further stabilised during the early 1980s when the product was updated to include the ability to process business transactions in several languages. In the 1990s, SAP R/3 was introduced. Its release heralded a new era in enterprise computing and created a new industry standard, as it moved from a mainframe to a three-tier architecture.

SAP’s evolution 1996 – 2015 

By 1996, SAP had been installed by more than 9,000 businesses across the globe. Responding to the internet, the company soon introduced the e-commerce enabled product suite. This was followed by the release of SAP ERP – the Enterprise Portal – in the early 00s. SAP ERP remains SAP’S  most popular software. 10 years later, SAP HANA, with its in-memory database, was introduced. In 2015, SAP launched SAP S/4HANA – its latest generation of business software, running entirely on SAP HANA. SAP HANA is now available on the three largest public cloud platforms.

The future of SAP

Since its inception, SAP has steadily grown to become one of the world’s largest tech companies, gaining popularity with every update. Today, 77% of all business transactions worldwide touch a SAP system. SAP continues to evolve and innovate, bringing cutting-edge technologies to business information processing. With more than 215 million cloud users currently, over 100 solutions covering all business functions, and the largest cloud portfolio of any provider – SAP seems set to continue to build solutions and create trailblazing solutions that change people’s lives for the better

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