SAP turns 10: The company celebrates 10 years in business. More than 250 companies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland now work with SAP software. Having already outgrown its own facilities, SAP constructs an expansion in record time.
Growth by the numbers: SAP generates DM 24 million in revenue and reaches the 100-employee milestone. Approximately 96% of its customers use SAP software to manage business processes.
Taking leave: One of SAP's cofounders, Claus Wellenreuther, departs the company.
Expansion in all areas: A third construction project is necessary to create space for the company's workforce, which continues to grow at a rapid pace.
Key figures: By midyear, SAP employ 125 people, and generates DM 41 million by the end of the fiscal year.
Trendsetter: Heraeus of Hanau, Germany, becomes the first customer to install SAP's RM-PPS module for production planning and control.
Human resources: SAP hires 48 new employees, in particular to meet its significant personnel needs in developing the new modules RK, PPS, and RP.
Alpine outpost: SAP (International) AG is founded in Biel, Switzerland, as the starting point for SAP's efforts in markets abroad.
Number crunching: SAP and its 163 employees generate revenues of around DM 48 million.
Tools for the job: SAP's data center now boasts three IBM servers and one Siemens server. Employees can access a total of 64MB of main memory in developing and enhancing the company's software.
International business: Around midyear, five SAP employees from Walldorf move into the new office in Switzerland and begin supporting the company's international efforts. At the end of 1985, more than 250 people work at SAP, generating DM 61 million for the year.
Increasing quality: A new quality assurance committee is established to help increase the stability of SAP software.
More business abroad: SAP opens its first international subsidiary in Austria. It also strengthens its presence in western Germany's Rhine-Ruhr region, opening its first branch office in Ratingen (near Düsseldorf).
Organization: SAP significantly increases its capital stock to DM 5 million, an increase of DM 4.5 million. The company's workforce has also grown to a point where its 300 employees now require smaller organizational units led by department managers.
Revenue: Thanks to new legislation requiring governing balance sheets, 100 new orders for SAP's Asset Accounting modules are received. SAP's revenues reach the DM 100 million – enabling SAP to reach this milestone sooner than expected.
Development: After three years in development, SAP's software for human resources management is made available to customers.
Presentation: The company showcases itself at the world's largest computer trade show CeBIT in Hanover, Germany, for the first time.
Under construction: SAP breaks ground on its new training center in the Walldorf industrial area. Construction also continues at the company's main facility on Max-Planck-Strasse – now in the fifth phase of expansion.
More business abroad: Following the foundation of its first non-German-speaking subsidiary in the Netherlands, SAP makes the leap to open offices in France, Spain, and Great Britain in the same year. Meanwhile, customers in northern Germany receive support from the company's new office in Hamburg, and those in the south from its Munich branch. At the end of the year, SAP has grown to employ more than 500 employees and generated DM 152 million in revenue.
User conference: SAP holds its first software conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, to establish a platform that enables current and potential users to share experiences.
Branching out: IBM's new generation of servers makes SAP's software available to midsize customers, generating between DM 30 million and DM 200 million. SAP establishes SAP Consulting to support new customers.
The next generation: Early attempts at establishing norms in software production are a key reason why SAP begins developing its next software generation: SAP R/3.
Transformation, going public: SAP transforms from a private, limited-liability company into the publicly traded SAP AG. In two increments, the company increases its capital stock from DM 5 million to DM 60 million. SAP then issues its initial public offering in October 1988 at a share price of DM 750. The 1.2 million shares issued in the names of their respective owners are listed at the German stock exchanges in Frankfurt and Stuttgart.
Ongoing expansion: SAP continues to bolster its global business by opening international subsidiaries in Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and the United States. Back in Walldorf, the company also opens its International Training Center, which includes an adjacent fitness area for the SAP workforce – now 940-strong and generating annual revenues of DM 245 million.
Customer milestone: Dow Chemicals becomes SAP's 1,000th customer. Meanwhile, SAP begins developing RIVA – a billing and administration system for utility companies – to meet the requirements of select industries.
Easier to use: SAP introduces its new, more user-friendly interface for SAP R/2. The company also kicks off various development projects – in production and other areas – with new tools, such as the ABAP/4 programming environment.
Growth demands investment: SAP R/3 is also beginning to take shape. A total of four UNIX systems from different manufacturers are incorporated into the company's development efforts. At this point, SAP is investing around DM 85 million – approximately 33% of its revenue – in research and development alone.
A bigger datacenter: SAP's data center now contains servers from IBM, Siemens, DEC, and Hewlett-Packard – providing a total memory capacity of 1,224MB.
International business: SAP (International) AG in Switzerland controls 12 international subsidiaries in Canada, Singapore, Australia, and other countries. With offices in 15 countries, SAP's 1,400 employees generate DM 370 million in revenue.
Financial markets: In its very first full year on the stock exchange, SAP is named "Company of the Year" by Manager magazine.
Research and development: By issuing preference shares, SAP AG increases its capital stock to DM 85 million. These additional funds enable the company to finance its rising investments. SAP invests DM 110 million in research and development to further develop SAP R/2 and the new SAP R/3 system. Initial prototypes of the financial accounting and materials management modules are already complete.
Holdings and acquisitions: SAP increases its focus on midsize companies by acquiring a 50% holding in the German software company Steeb and taking over the software firm CAS outright.
Reunification and expansion: The reunification of West and East Germany brings the nations' economies and currencies together – giving SAP the chance to expand to the latter region as it founds the joint venture SRS in Dresden along with Siemens Nixdorf and Robotron. The company also opens a branch office of its own in Berlin.
New and ongoing construction: Having exhausted the real estate on Max-Planck-Strasse in Walldorf, SAP begins building a sales and development center next to its training center. The company invests DM 135 million into this new construction project. Meanwhile, its 1,700 employees help surpass DM 500 million in revenue.
Sneak preview: SAP presents the first applications in its SAP R/3 system at CeBIT in Hanover, where the response is highly positive. With its client-server concept, uniform graphical interface, dedicated use of relational databases, and support for servers from various manufacturers, SAP is set to tap into new market potential: midsize companies, as well as the branch offices and subsidiaries of larger corporate groups.
Looking east: SAP responds to the fall of the "Iron Curtain" with numerous activities in eastern Europe. It concludes a cooperative agreement with the largest Russian software company ZPS and begins developing a Russian version of SAP R/2.
Trending upward: SAP's revenue and employee numbers continue their rapid ascent, reaching DM 707.1 million and nearly 2,700 members, respectively. The company now has 14 international subsidiaries and more than 2,200 customers in 31 different countries using its software.