We could say enterprise software evolution has always been driven by the need of collaboration inside a company and outside the company, with all their supply chain stakeholders (customers, distributors, agents,suppliers, logistics operators and others). Enterprise software has also always taken advantage of the opportunities offered by the latest technology. So, collaboration inside the company becomes widely available with the arrival of PCs, LANs and Desktop Productivity Apps and the adoption of the Client-Server Architecture. Collaboration outside the company starts with e-mail and websites and it becomes really powerful with the adoption of web services and the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) or Cloud Computing.
The evolution and potential of enterprise software has also defined the evolution of companies structure, so that companies have been outsourcing diferent processes as collaboration becomes more feasible. Thus, we have reached the current state, where companies are very focused on their core competencies and for everything else they look for a tight and efficient collaboration.
This new business scenario, is very different from the situation in the 80 and 90. In those years systems like ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning) try to take advantage of common denominators of the different functional areas of a business (finance, manufacturing, purchasing, human resources, etc ...) to develop their solutions. Now, systems should look for common denominators in the different inter-company relations (E-Business & SCM). The big problem is that this variation is much greater. So in this new scenario, the essential part of the systems are the development platforms in the cloud, allowing us to quickly adapt a general scheme of operation to each unique business collaboration.