Cloud computing can be defined in simple terms as the delivery of a software product to a user via the Internet. The user typically accesses the cloud product through a Web browser or a lightweight (meaning small and simple) application for a computer or mobile device. Cloud computing is not a completely new concept, rather it simply represents the latest stage of the development of computing and the Internet. To better understand how cloud computing will impact ERP system development; it is useful to review the development of SAP’s ERP systems with the advent of the Internet.
SAP and the Internet:
In 1996, SAP introduced its joint Internet strategy with Microsoft. The core of SAP’s first effort to integrate the Internet with its products was the Internet Transaction Server (ITS) a server-based software system that enabled efficient communication between an SAP ERP system and the Internet. To provide some context for the state of the Internet at this time—in 1996, Amazon.com was only one year old, and the online travel agencies Expedia and Travelocity were both just being founded. Many other Internet services we take for granted today did not exist at this time.
In May 1999, SAP announced mySAP.com, a new strategy designed to completely realign the company and its product portfolio. The goal of this initiative was to combine e-commerce solutions with SAP’s existing ERP applications, using cutting-edge Web technology. In 2000, SAP began building on the mySAP.com vision by adding the capability for electronic marketplaces and corporate portals.