A Brief History of ERP Software Including Dynamics GP and Acumatica

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If you want to know what you are, you have to know where you came from.

This is true with every aspect of society. And it includes, as you might have guessed, ERP software. What once started as a simple, clunky, specialized platform beginning back in the '60s, has become a modern, seemingly unclassifiable "one-stop-shop".

Along the way, the ERP industry has gained some additional packages, such as Microsoft Dynamics GP and Acumatica, that have revolutionized the market.

How did ERP (enterprise resource planning) software develop into the powerful tool that it is today? And how does its development affect you? Relaying the history of ERP software can be complicated. Fortunately, with the help of Software Advice and Wikipedia, we’ve done the homework for you. Here is a brief break-down showing how ERP came to be what it is today.


Starting in 1964, the first signs of ERP software came on the scene when Joseph Orlickly, at Black & Decker, first used MRP (materials requirement planning) software, which is an inventory management solution. 8 years later in '72, 5 former IBM employees in Germany founded SAP. In the same decade, in 1977, JD Edwards, later purchased by Oracle, was founded.

In 1981 Great Plains Software began as an independent company located in Fargo, North Dakota, run by Doug Burgum. Its products focused on small to medium-sized businesses.

Then in 1983, Oliver Wright expanded MRP software to include more capabilities such as master scheduling, sales, and operations. This would come to be known as MRP II.


The 1990s saw a great shift in the ERP software world. At the turn of the decade, a monumental change happened. The term "enterprise resource planning" (ERP) was officially coined by Gartner. This change reflected the software's increase in scope, which went beyond simply manufacturing to include enterprise functionality such as accounting and human resources.

In 1993, The Dynamics Release 1.0, was launched in February of that year, and it changed the way the market worked. It was one of the first accounting packages in the USA that was designed and written to be multi-user and to run under Windows as 32-bit software. A few years later in 2000, Microsoft announced the purchase of Great Plains Software which was completed in April 2001. And it later was rebranded to the system we know today, Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Later in 1998, Evan Goldberg founded NetSuite under the name NetLedger. This was one of the first web-based enterprise solutions. The following year in '99, Kevin Ashton of Procter & Gamble coined the term "internet of things" (IoT) to describe a network of devices connected through the internet.


With technological revolution underway, in 2002 the ERP industry began a dramatic shift toward web-enabled platforms. In 2004, SOA (service-oriented architecture) was integrated into ERP software by vendors, allowing communication between different programs. One year later, Salesforce launched AppExchange, allowing third-party applications to integrate with core software via API.

Acumatica launched its first product, Acumatica ERP, in November 2008, alongside an accompanying financial demo. The following year, on-premises and SaaS software versions were released. Acumatica's distribution software came a year later in April 2010.


As the mobile world continued to grow, vendors saw the need to keep up with the change. So in 2013, vendors began to expand mobile applications for increased functionality. In 2014, Gartner coined the term "postmodern ERP" to describe integrated ERP suites consisting of applications from different vendors.

2018 saw the ERPs start to deploy AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning for faster process automation and deeper predictive insights. This change is still happening and continues to evolve at an ever-growing rate.

As you have seen, if there is one constant in the ERP industry, it is change. From its roots in manufacturing to the integrated systems of today, the evolution of ERP has been dramatic and swift.

Why should we care about all this? These changes actually reassure us because it shows that the industry is not static. The ERP industry is constantly changing to make sure that businesses are working with the most up-to-date tools to keep pace with the modern world.

If you are ready to evaluate your ERP software, CAL Business Solutions can help. Contact us at 860-485-0910 x4 or [email protected]. We can help you write your own ERP history.

By CAL Business Solutions, Acumatica, and Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner, www.calszone.com

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