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Enterprise application

Enterprise application definition

An enterprise application is a large-scale, integrated software platform that addresses the needs and operations of an organization. These applications facilitate flow of information, processes, and tasks across various departments and functions.

History of enterprise applications

1960s — mainframes and early enterprise software

  • The 1960s saw the dominance of mainframe computers. Organizations used mainframes to automate large-scale batch-processing tasks, especially in the banking and government sectors.
  • Basic applications were developed for accounting, payroll processing, and inventory management.

1970s — relational databases and ERP

  • Relational databases transformed data management.
  • The term “ERP” (Enterprise Resource Planning) wasn't used yet, but systems that would later evolve into ERPs, like SAP's R/1 and R/2, began to appear.

1980s — PC revolution

  • The personal computer revolution began — computing wasn't confined to mainframes anymore.
  • The rise of client-server architecture allowed for more distributed computing, giving birth to more integrated enterprise software.
  • Systems like SAP R/3, an ERP system using the client-server model, emerged.

1990s — ERP expansion and internet

  • ERPs expanded from manufacturing and finance to encompass almost all facets of an enterprise including HR and services.
  • The dot-com boom brought about the rise of e-commerce platforms and early Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools.
  • Companies like Oracle, PeopleSoft, and Siebel Systems gained prominence.

2000s — SaaS and web-based applications

  • With the rise of internet speeds and capabilities, Software as a Service (SaaS) became viable.
  • Salesforce, launched in 1999, became a poster child for SaaS, revolutionizing the CRM space.
  • ERP systems became more modular and customizable.
  • Web-based enterprise applications proliferated, offering better accessibility and reducing the need for local installations.

2010s — mobile, AI, and cloud computing

  • The massive adoption of smartphones spurred the development of enterprise mobile applications.
  • Cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure made scaling and deploying enterprise applications easier.
  • AI and machine learning were integrated into enterprise systems.
  • Collaboration tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams redefined workplace communication.

2020 and Beyond

  • The focus shifted towards more adaptable and resilient systems, especially given global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic which emphasized the importance of remote work and digital transformation.
  • The integration of IoT, augmented reality, and further advancements in AI drove the next generation of enterprise applications.