Systems, Applications, Products in data processing, or SAP, was originally introduced in the 1980s as SAP R/2, which was a system that provided users with a soft real-time business application that could be used in multiple currencies and languages. As client–server systems began to be introduced, SAP brought out a server based version of their software called SAP R/3, henceforth referred to as SAP, which was launched in 1992. SAP also developed a graphical user interface, or GUI. For the next 12 years SAP dominated the large business applications market. It was successful primarily because it was extremely flexible. Because SAP was a modular system (meaning that the various functions provided by it could be purchased piecemeal) it was an extremely versatile system. A company could simply purchase modules that they wanted and customize the processes to match the company's business model. SAP's flexibility, while one of its greatest strengths is also one of its greatest weaknesses that leads to the SAP audit.
There are three main enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems used in today's larger businesses: SAP, Oracle, and PeopleSoft. ERP's are specifically designed to help with the accounting function and the control over various other aspects of the companies business such as sales, delivery, production, human resources, and inventory management. Despite the benefits of ERP's, there are many potential pitfalls that companies who turn to ERP's occasionally fall into.