With close to 40 years of software expertise under his belt, the Danish ERP architect Erik Damgaard continues to rethink enterprise resource planning for small and medium-sized businesses with his new company, UNICONTA.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is something most companies now take for granted. But back in the early days of computing, at the beginning of the 1980s, the idea of using computers to do stock keeping, accounting and handle other aspects of business management was electrifyingly new and the software to provide these functions was only just emerging. Few people could predict what the future would hold in this field – Erik Damgaard was one of them. The Danish engineer, fresh out of college with a shiny new degree, happened to have the accounting nous and knew his way around hardware and software, making him ideally equipped to shape the future in this sector.
Damgaard saw the great potential for computer-assisted workflows and sat down to build a bookkeeping system which was released in 1984 under the name Danmax. In 1986 he released Concorde Economy, a multi-user MS-DOS based software package that was a huge hit among small Danish companies and soon became the market leader in Denmark. In 1991, Erik set up a company with his brother, Preben, called Damgaard Data, and they released the highly successful Concorde XAL package. For many small Danish companies, Damgaard Data’s offering was the first step into the computer age. Then IBM came knocking and a cooperation followed that resulted in a software suite called Axapta. Knowing a good thing when it saw one, Microsoft acquired the company in 2002 for $1.5bn and Axapta became part of the Microsoft Dynamics family. The most recent version was released in 2017 under the name Dynamics 365. Although free to pursue other projects, Damgaard ultimately returned to his special field of expertise: making software as accessible and simple to use as possible, while at the same time offering a high degree of technological sophistication and business functionality.
One of the major changes in software in recent years is the switch from physical, on-premise products to cloud-based services, and Damgaard, ever the visionary, has harnessed all the clout of the cloud in his new product. The new ERP system, called Uniconta, was released in 2016 and brings together many traditionally paper-based business functions into integrated software workflows. In a fairly saturated market, what makes Uniconta stand out, apart from its cloud-based technology and extensive toolbox, is that it offers specific supplemental solutions through a network of partners and integrators, making it fully customisable for any type of company and industry.
Business Club Hamburg is hosting an event with Erik Damgaard, who will be talking about business management software past and present, as well as giving an expert’s view of what the future holds for ERP. He’ll also discuss his latest venture, how requirements have changed over the decades, and explain why cloud-based solutions are better for today’s enterprises.


Text: Fiona Sangster Photo: Archiv