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The company SAP (abbreviation for Systems, Applications, Products) was founded in 1972 by former employees of the IBM company.

The aim of SAP's software developers was to book bookings such as order entry, production data, delivery and payment in real time in one system. The accounting system developed under these specifications was called SAP R/1. The R/1 software was used on an IBM system from 1975. The letter R stood for Real Time.

From 1979, the further developed SAP R/2 was used. SAP R/2 ran on mainframe computers with an IBM or Siemens operating system. Bookings were entered with a text terminal. The software was supplemented by order development. The COBOL programming language was further developed by SAP into its own programming language ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming). The language continues to be used today and is further developed as needed. According to SAP, the ABAP programming language is downward compatible. This means that if an ABAP statement is replaced by another, the old statement should continue to work.

SAP R/3 was introduced in 1993.

The SAP R/3 software was then renamed Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP software for short.