Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing
(German: Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung)
It started in 1972 by five former IBM employees by Wellenreuther, Hopp, Hector, Plattner and Tschira in Mannheim, Germany, states that it is the world's third-largest independent software vendor.
The goal of the company was to provide large enterprise customers with the ability to interact with a corporate database in real-time.
Today, the company states that its goal is "to offer the industry's most comprehensive portfolio of business performance and optimization solutions for companies of all sizes."
SAP's first software application was a Financial Accounting Software suite that ran on a mainframe and was known for its stability. It eventually became known as the R/1 system. The "R" stands for real-time. During the 1980s, the company went international, and the second iteration of the R system (R/2) accommodated different languages and currencies. In the 1990s, the third iteration (R/3) moved from the mainframe to a client/server three-tier architecture composed of a database, software applications and a common Graphical User Interface (GUI). SAP used the name R/3 until the 5.0 release. At that time the name was changed from R/version to ERP Central Component (ECC). The most current version as of November 2009 is ECC 6.0.
When the Internet became pervasive, SAP responded by providing companies with the software they needed to sell goods and services online. Their product portfolio got a Web interface and was rebranded MySAP.com.
MySAP was designed to be a corporate Web portal with role-based permissions for employees . The company promoted how SAP "solutions" could link commerce conducted over the Internet (e-commerce) with traditional bricks and mortar commerce to provide one seamless view of the business. Next came SAP NetWeaver, the company’s development and integration platform and middleware component, and Business Suite, a bundling of SAP’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) applications. In 2008, SAP purchased Business Objects, a French enterprise software company that specializes in Business Intelligence (BI), which marked a major change in the company’s BI strategy, which was previously focused around SAP's Business Explorer tools.
Current products include:
• SAP NetWeaver - Service-Oriented Technology Platform (SOA) for integrating information and business processes across diverse technologies and organizational structures. NetWeaver provides the foundation for other SAP software bundles.
• SAP Business Suite - software applications for large organizations and international corporations. The applications support core business operations such as supply chain managment, warehouse management, sales, customer relationship management and administrative functions. SAP offers software for 25 vertical industries, including banking, insurance, chemicals, healthcare, retail and consumer products.
• SAP Business All-in-One solutions, SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Business One - software products that address the needs of small and mid-market companies.