The early years
Building on the dream of “real-time” computing: Software that processes data when customers ask it to rather than overnight in batches.
Five former IBM employees start a company they call SAP Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung ("System Analysis and Program Development").
Development of the fledgling company's first programs takes place mainly at night and on weekends.
Standard application software for real-time data processing is developed.
At the end of its first year in business, SAP employs nine people and generates DM 620,000 in revenue.
Taking the initial form of a private partnership under the German Civil Code, the company establishes its headquarters in Weinheim, Germany, and opens an office in nearby Mannheim. However, SAP's five founders spend most of their time in the data centers of their first customers, which include the German branch of Imperial Chemical Industries in Östringen.
SAP completes its first financial accounting system – RF. This system serves as the cornerstone in the ongoing development of other software modules of the system that will eventually bear the name SAP R/1.
More clients in southwest Germany are running SAP software, including the tobacco company Rothändle in Lahr and the pharmaceutical firm Knoll in Ludwigshafen. Meanwhile, SAP itself is using IBM servers and the DOS operating system.
Companies can now handle their purchasing, inventory management, and invoice verification with SAP's RM system.
An SAP trademark begins to emerge – the integration of all of the company's applications. Materials management data flows directly into financial accounting on a value basis, while invoice verification and posting can be completed in one step.
The limited-liability company SAP GmbH Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung ("Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing") is founded as a sales and support subsidiary. Five years later, the private partnership is dissolved and its rights are passed on to SAP GmbH.
Continued business success
SAP and its 25 employees generate DM 3.81 million in revenue.
SAP moves its headquarters from Weinheim to nearby Walldorf.
First steps abroad
The company begins installing its system for customers outside of Germany for the first time. Two companies in Austria decide to implement SAP software.
SAP's reorganization strengthens its active sales.
SAP completes the module Asset Accounting and a corresponding implementation project at a pilot company.
SAP parle français
The farm equipment manufacturer John Deere demonstrates SAP's international viability by developing a French-language version of the company's accounting software in an in-house project.
SAP begins operations on its own server, Siemens 7738, for the first time. Up until this point, its employees' development activities have been distributed across the data centers of regional customers such as ICI, Thermal, Knoll, Grünzweig+Hartmann, and Freudenberg.
A home of its own
SAP's first data center is still located in leased space, but the company has already broken ground on the initial construction of its own facility.
An in-depth examination of IBM's database and dialog control system causes SAP to rethink its software, paving the way for SAP R/2.
SAP moves into its first facility on Max-Planck-Strasse in the Walldorf industrial park. Its development area – now 50 computer screens strong – is finally unified under one roof.
SAP augments its data-processing infrastructure by pairing its existing Siemens 7738 with an IBM/370-148, which the company then replaces in the same year with a more powerful IBM 4341. This model boasts 4MB of memory.
SAP expands its product portfolio with RV, a custom development for sales and distribution.
The SAP R/2 era
Real-time touches more of the business: SAP R/2 packaged mainframe software application processes in real time and integrates all of an enterprise’s business functions.
SAP makes its first event appearance at the IT trade show Systems in Munich, Germany.
SAP R/2 achieves high level of stability.
Performance driving sales
The growing power of mainframe servers is enabling SAP to expand its customer base to approximately 200 companies.
With the help of its customers, SAP expands its range of products with a production management module.
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.
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.
By midyear, SAP employs 125 people, and generates DM 41 million by the end of the fiscal year.
Heraeus of Hanau, Germany, becomes the first customer to install SAP's RM-PPS module for production planning and control.
SAP hires 48 new employees, in particular to meet its significant personnel needs in developing the new modules RK, PPS, and RP.
SAP (International) AG is founded in Biel, Switzerland, as the starting point for SAP's efforts in markets abroad.
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.
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.
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).
After three years in development, SAP's software for human resources management is made available to customers.
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.
The company showcases itself at the world's largest computer trade show CeBIT in Hanover, Germany, for the first time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SAP holds its first software conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, to establish a platform that enables current and potential users to share experiences.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In its very first full year on the stock exchange, SAP is named "Company of the Year" by Manager magazine.
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.
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.
The SAP R/3 era
Real-time reaches the desktop: A client-server version of the standard application software allows businesses to run more efficiently around the world.
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.
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.
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.
The next generation arrives
Following successful installations with select pilot customers, SAP brings SAP R/3 to the general public and enters a new level of growth.
Expecting high demand for SAP R/3, SAP augments its partner strategy. Independent consulting firms, which SAP refers to as "logo partners," support customers in implementing the new system.
Of its DM 831 million in total revenue, SAP is now generating nearly 50% of it outside of Germany. Meanwhile, its global workforce grows to 3,157 employees by the end of the year.
To ready itself for potential acquisitions and holdings, SAP adds another DM 15 million to its capital stock, bringing it to a total of DM 100 million.
Ten twice over
Not about to let its 20th birthday pass without a proper celebration, SAP marks the occasion by opening its new sales and development center. Erwin Teufel, Minister President of the state of Baden-Württemberg, is among the guests. The company now manages its 15 international subsidiaries from Walldorf to make better use of its existing infrastructure.
SAP begins working with Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, to port SAP R/3 to the Windows NT operating system. SAP also begins participating in the IXOS project, a joint undertaking involving the development and marketing of an electronic archiving system for original documents.
The construction of a development center in Foster City, California, gives SAP a presence near Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, the company establishes its 18th international subsidiary in the Czech Republic.
SAP delivers a version of SAP R/3 with support for kanji characters to the Japanese market. SAP R/3 is also being ported to SUN hardware, enabling it to run on all relevant RISC platforms.
By the numbers
SAP reaches the 10-figure mark for the first time, generating DM 1.1 billion in revenue with a workforce of more than 3,600.
SAP R/3 and Microsoft
The SAP R/3 system is released for Windows NT. One month later, a Swiss company becomes the first customer to go live with this new version.
SAP's revenues have grown to DM 1.8 billion, of which the United States accounts for 34.3%. At year's end, the company is employing 5,229 people.
In faraway lands
SAP kicks off its marketing activities in the Chinese market with presentations in Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin. It also opens its 19th international subsidiary in Mexico City.
Partners and customers
The IBM corporation, a longstanding SAP partner, is now using SAP R/3 to manage its global business processes. The corresponding contract is the largest in SAP's 23-year history.
SAP bolsters its efforts in developing a retail solution for SAP R/3 by acquiring a 52% holding in DACOS Software GmbH.
A midmarket push
SAP begins to focus more marketing efforts on midsize companies with the help of system resellers.
The U.S. company Burger King, Inc., becomes the 1,000th customer to implement SAP's software for human resources management. Meanwhile, Microsoft joins the ranks of high-tech companies opting for SAP R/3. Deutsche Telekom AG sets a new record as the largest of SAP's contracts to date with 30,000 SAP R/3 workstations and collaborates with SAP on a solution for the telecommunications industry.
Success in the capital market
SAP's share price soars following its addition to Germany's DAX stock index and the transition to a minimum par value of DM 5. Shortly thereafter, Manager magazine once again names SAP "Company of the Year." Now nearly 7,000 strong, SAP's workforce generates DM 2.7 billion in revenue.
SAP goes online
SAP introduces its joint Internet strategy with Microsoft. Through open interfaces, customers can now connect online applications to their SAP R/3 systems. They can also take advantage of IBM's new AS/400 platform.
SAP's revenues climb to DM 3.7 billion, and its employees number 9,202 by year's end.
SAP is named "Company of the Year" by the European Business Journalists Association and for the third time by Manager magazine.
More renowned customers
Coca-Cola, the world's largest manufacturer of soft drinks, decides to implement SAP R/3.
SAP raises the bar with its numerous customer events, welcoming 4,300 guests interested in the company's products and strategy to the European SAPPHIRE event in Vienna. Meanwhile, over 8,000 attendees flock to the corresponding event in the U.S., and more than 5,000 are on hand for the first SAPPHIRE event in Japan.
SAP celebrates its 25 years in existence in Mannheim. German Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl is among the guests at the festivities.
An outstanding year
SAP sees its financial results before taxes reach the billions for the first time (DM 1.6 billion). The company's revenues grew by 62% to DM 6.02 billion, 81% of which comes from outside of Germany. SAP's workforce also expanded to nearly 13,000 employees â a 40% increase.
SAP R/3 still resonating
High-profile customers, such as Deutsche Post AG, Daimler-Benz, and General Motors, implement SAP R/3. More than two million users work with SAP solutions. Right on schedule, SAP completes release 4.0 of SAP R/3 and delivers it to pilot users at the end of the year.
SAP resolves to enter the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Q3 1998. In doing so, it mainly aims to raise its profile and presence in the world's biggest and most important market for information technology and strengthen its relationships with shareholders.
Changing of the guard
Dietmar Hopp and Klaus Tschira, two of SAP's cofounders, announce in February their decision to resign from the company's Executive Board. Both make the transition to the SAP Supervisory Board in May, where Hopp takes over as chairman. Meanwhile, the Supervisory Board names Henning Kagermann co-CEO of the company alongside cofounder Hasso Plattner.
SAP takes New York
On August 3, 1998, the letters "SAP" appear for the first time on the big board at the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest trading floor. SAP co-CEO Hasso Plattner calls the company's debut on Wall Street a necessary and momentous milestone in SAP's history.
More than 15,000 customers, partners, and other interested individuals descend upon Los Angeles, California, for SAP's 10th SAPPHIRE event – breaking the previous attendance record. The event focuses on a new strategy, EnjoySAP, which places its focus squarely on SAP users. SAP plans to make its software easier to learn, faster to work with, and simpler to customize to customers' needs.
SAP plots a course for further success, which will continue to require motivated, qualified employees. It hires 6,500 new employees in 1998 – a 50% increase that expands the company's workforce to over 19,000 by year's end. SAP's fiscal year revenues come to €4.3 billion.
SAP does not have to wait long to welcome its first mySAP.com customers. The soccer club FC Bayern Munich, the financial services provider MLP, and others sign up in October, while November and December witness the arrival of Hewlett-Packard, the Ford subsidiary Visteon, and the pharmaceutical group Hoechst Marion Roussel.
More than 20,000 employees generate €5.1 billion in revenue for SAP. The company invests nearly 15% of this sum into research and development.
The mySAP.com revolution
In May, SAP co-CEO Hasso Plattner announces a new strategy that completely realigns the company and its product portfolio: mySAP.com. This reorientation will combine e-commerce solutions with SAP's existing ERP applications on the basis of cutting-edge Web technology.
Excelling with Enjoy
The EnjoySAP initiative serves as the foundation for mySAP.com's success. Studies carried out in the summer of 1999 by Mannheim University clearly show how much time customers can save in training and everyday use with mySAP.com.
A new self-perception
Along with its products, SAP's self-image is changing due to mySAP.com. The company reorganizes its Executive Board areas and founds the German Internet subsidiary e-SAP.de, reflecting an even stronger focus on the customer in the Internet age.
The new economy
SAP is now the world's leading provider of e-business software solutions that integrate processes within and among companies. The company is also the third-largest independent software vendor on the planet. Its workforce now numbers more than 24,000 employees in over 50 countries, generating revenues of €6.3 billion in the 2000 fiscal year (a 23% increase compared to 1999).
Cooperating without boundaries
Comprehensive e-business solutions, innovative technologies, and extensive services come together in the forward-thinking mySAP.com platform. As a result, employees, customers, suppliers, and other business partners can work together across company borders – anytime, anywhere.
Online marketplaces and portals
SAP enters the world of electronic marketplaces and corporate portals by outsourcing its corresponding area to its SAP Portals subsidiary and starting a partnership with Commerce One.
In continuing to expand its product and service portfolio, SAP demonstrates its commitment to evolving from a component vendor into a solution provider. Other world-leading companies recognize the value in this approach – Nestlé, for one, signs the largest SAP contract to date.
Real-time data where and when you
Real-time moves to the Web and beyond: Cloud computing, mobile, and in-memory computing open up new horizons for real-time data access – anywhere.
A new market
SAP adds a number of corporate portals to its solution portfolio by taking over TopTier, the leading company in the corresponding Israeli market. TopTier's founder, Shai Agassi, takes over the management of this business area and is appointed to the SAP Executive Board one year later.
From revolution to evolution
SAP expands mySAP.com, making it a comprehensive technology for business applications. As a result, SAP has the architecture it needs to help companies integrate a wide variety of IT systems.
The "New Economy" bubble has burst, and the IT market is suffering from the resulting decline in investment. However, customer faith in SAP's solutions remains undaunted, and SAP increases its revenues once again by 17%.
More birthday cake
Thirty years after its foundation, SAP is the third-largest independent software provider in the world and a paragon of the German economy. The SAP brand stands for high-quality business software.
A rising star
SAP's portfolio is not the only thing witnessing constant growth. The company's workforce also increases to around 29,000 by the end of 2002. Approximately 1,300 employees move into the new star-shaped building that has opened directly adjacent to SAP's headquarters in Walldorf.
New blood at the top
The Executive Board bolsters its ranks with Shai Agassi, who assumes responsibility for new technologies, and Léo Apotheker, who takes over global sales.
End of an era
Hasso Plattner resigns from the Executive Board and is elected chairman of the Supervisory Board. Plattner is the final SAP co-founder to leave the company's management team, but remains with SAP in an advisory role. Upon taking his leave, the nautical enthusiast receives a special gift — a sail signed by all of SAP's employees, which they hope will carry him to further success.
Technology of the future
What began in the "new economy" as mysap.com and evolved to mySAP technology reaches a new pinnacle in SAP NetWeaver. This technology enables SAP to offer fast, open, and flexible business applications that support end-to-end business processes â no matter whether they are based on systems from SAP or other providers.
SAP Labs China marks the ninth opening of a development location outside of Walldorf. This and the other research centers in India, Japan, Israel, France, Bulgaria, Canada, and the United States help SAP convert IT expertise into business utility for its customers. The company now employs around 30,000 employees, approximately 17,000 of whom work outside of Germany.
SAP brings the first version of SAP NetWeaver to market. The response to this new integration and application platform is overwhelming. By the end of the year, well over 1,000 customers acquire the product, with even more on the way. Meanwhile, more than 24,000 total customers are running 84,000 SAP software installations in over 120 countries.
SAP announces its intention to acquire the remaining shares of its consulting subsidiary SAP SI and to merge the company into its corporate group. This move strengthens SAP's global portfolio of strategic IT consulting and integration services and makes SAP the go-to provider of many customers — especially those in Germany, Switzerland, and the United States.
A clear vision
SAP plans its future around the concept of enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA). According to CEO Henning Kagermann, SAP will make all of its business applications service-based in the medium term to provide its customers with the most flexibility possible. In doing so, SAP sets the standard for the rest of the market.
Under Kagermann's leadership, quarterly revenue gains and a constantly increasing market share keep SAP at the head of the pack in the rejuvenated IT market. Business Week names Kagermann one of the 25 best business managers in Europe, praising his customer-oriented corporate philosophy.
A study conducted on behalf of the business magazine Capital names SAP Germany "Best employer of 2005" among other companies with 5,000 employees or more. "I accept this award with pride and gratitude on behalf of the more than 32,000 people who work at SAP. For us as a company, it will mainly serve as motivation for the future. After all, SAP's success will continue to depend on the skills, drive, and dedication of our current and future employees," declares SAP Executive Board member Claus Heinrich upon receiving the award from Wolfgang Clement, Germany's Federal Minister of Economics and Technology.
Something cooking in the east
In February, SAP officially opens its new research and development facility in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. SAP Labs Hungary and its some 50 developers join SAP's global network of research locations, which incorporates the brightest minds in IT all over the world.
The year 2005 is marked by a series of acquisitions. While its competitors initiate their own major takeovers, SAP focuses on organic growth by acquiring smaller companies whose specific solutions augment its portfolio in sensible ways. These companies include the two retail providers Triversity and Khimetrics.
The company's software license revenues increase by 18%, and it records particularly high rates of growth in the Americas. The more than 35,800 SAP employees around the world generate total revenues of €8.5 billion.
SAP once again garners numerous employer accolades. Along with SAP Germany, SAP Austria, SAP Chile, SAP Andina y del Caribe, SAP Mexico, and SAP Region Sur win the "Great Place to Work" award from the institute of the same name. In addition, SAP Labs India receives the distinction "Recruiting and Staffing Best in Class" from the Indian Institute of Management Studies & Research for its innovative methods in workforce planning and management.
SAP and Microsoft introduce Duet, the first product of the two companies' joint efforts in development, support, sales, and marketing. This software enables users to quickly and easily integrate Microsoft Office and SAP-supported business processes. The partners sell 200,000 licenses in just the first three months.
Onward to further success
At the first SAPPHIRE event of the year in Orlando, Florida, SAP announces the general release of its flagship application, SAP ERP. "SAP ERP constitutes the foundation of SAP's industry solutions and a springboard to enterprise SOA," says SAP Executive Board member Léo Apotheker.
Good news from the midmarket
SAP noticeably expands its share of the midmarket with the solutions SAP All-in-One and SAP Business One. In June, the company announces that the latter solution has gained its 10,000th customer. SAP also has generates around 30% of its €3.1 billion in total software licensing revenues from companies with fewer than 2,500 employees.
Seizing new opportunity
When an acquisition makes sense in enhancing its product portfolio, SAP does not shy away from the investment required. The company buys Pilot Software – a private California provider of strategy management software – as well as Yusa, OutlookSoft, Wicom, and MaXware. SAP also announces its intention to purchase Business Objects, a company specializing in business intelligence applications.
Restructure of the Executive Board
Léo Apotheker is named SAP's deputy CEO at the end of March. SAP also forms an Executive Council, which comprises corporate officers who share responsibilities for market and product strategies and report to the Executive Board. This restructuring follows Shai Agassi's departure from the Executive Board.
Another year, another employer accolade
In its 35th year, SAP takes home the title of "Germany's Best Employer" for the third time in the annual "Great Place to Work" awards. The company also receives a special prize for its comprehensive health management program. SAP Labs India also ranks eighth among other employers in India.
Head start in the midmarket
As part of a special event in New York City, SAP reveals SAP Business ByDesign, a product designed specifically for small businesses and midsize companies. SAP CEO Henning Kagermann states that this new offering "represents SAP's ambitious attempt to create an all-new solution for an untapped market."
In the bag
SAP successfully completes its acquisition of Business Objects. Purchasing the French provider of business intelligence solutions expands SAP's software portfolio and makes it the market leader in business software, enterprise performance management, and business intelligence.
The choice of skilled employees
For the fourth time, SAP is named "Germany's Best Employer" among companies with at least 5,000 employees. The company also receives numerous awards in other countries, including China, Bulgaria, Denmark, India, Japan, and Mexico.
A global focus
The SAP Supervisory Board names Léo Apotheker co-CEO alongside Henning Kagermann. Two longstanding members, Peter Zencke and Claus Heinrich, resign from the Executive Board. The board then welcomes Ernie Gunst, Bill McDermott, and Jim Hagemann Snabe, whose international backgrounds will enrich SAP's executive management.
SAP proves its commitment to sustainable business practices, releasing its first Sustainability Report. As the leader in its market, SAP is in a unique position to provide information technology that helps companies and organizations of all sizes improve their track records and achieve long-term sustainability.
With the effects of the global financial crisis having reached the real economy in 2008, the business world faces its own plight. Susceptible to the situation at hand, SAP initiates personnel cutbacks and other cost-saving measures. As of Q3 2009, SAP still employs some 47,800 people. Meanwhile, the company supports its customers with special programs designed to help them emerge from the crisis with the strength to succeed. Thanks to these programs and its cutbacks, SAP is able to improve its operating margin despite the difficult circumstances.
Another business milestone
At a launch event at its offices in New York City, SAP unveils its SAP Business Suite 7 software, which is designed to help businesses optimize their performance and reduce IT costs. A condensed ramp-up phase enables the first customers to go live with the software in March. In early May, the next generation of the suite is released to the rest of the world.
Passing the torch
After 27 years at the company — including 18 years on the Executive Board — Henning Kagermann bids farewell to SAP. Léo Apotheker becomes the company's sole CEO.
In it for the long haul
SAP demonstrates how important it considers social involvement by supporting PlaNet Finance, an international non-profit organization that aids microfinance institutions (MFIs). SAP and PlaNet Finance aim to optimize the microfinance sector with a combination of financing, new technologies, and expanded value chains. In advance of the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15), SAP also offers its assistance to the U.N.'s Hopenhagen initiative. Last but not least, SAP employees continue to volunteer their time in support of social projects all over the world.
In February, the Supervisory Board names Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe co-CEOs of the company. Chief technology officer Vishal Sikka also joins the Executive Board. Angelika Dammann follows Sikka in July, becoming the first woman to serve on the Executive Board as she assumes responsibility for global human resources and labor relations.
In May, SAP announces its plans to purchase the California company Sybase for approximately US$5.8 billion. Sybase is the largest business software and service provider specializing exclusively in information management and mobile data use. The synthesis of the two leading companies is to produce solutions for "wireless" companies.
More than 50,000 customers and other interested people attend SAP's SAPPHIRE Now event either live or online â a new record. In addition to a comprehensive overview of SAP's product strategy, they witness numerous innovations â chief among them is in-memory technology which ushers in a new era of real-time processing in business applications.
In-memory, cloud computing, and business network support record results
Customers, already excited in 2010 by SAP's vision of SAP in-memory computing, are able to take full advantage of its benefits in 2011. Initial customers implement the first in-memory product, the SAP HANA platform, enabling them to analyze data in seconds rather than the days or even weeks they would otherwise have needed. Demand for SAP HANA can be compared to that for SAP R/3 software at the time of its launch. SAP's strategy for mobile business applications is also bearing fruit. Since its acquisition of Sybase, an SAP company, in 2010, SAP and its partners now ship mobile applications that open up the SAP world to a new type of user – those who are out in the field rather than in the office.
SAP announces its plans for growth: It is looking to expand in emerging market economies such as Brazil, India, Russia, and especially China, and it intends to invest some EUR 2 billion in the mid-market sector alone. It also has growth plans for its business in the booming cloud-computing market. Just before the end of the year, SAP announces its EUR 2.5 billion acquisition of SuccessFactors, the leading provider of cloud applications.
Driving Business-to-Business Collaboration
SAP acquires Ariba, with the goal to deliver an end-to-end cloud procurement solution and become the leader in the fast-growing segment of inter-enterprise cloud-based business networks. SAP plans to enable its more than 195,000 customers to easily connect to the Ariba business network through pre-built integration points. SAP also plans to provide open access to the business network, extending the benefits of business collaboration to any company, on any system, from any provider.
Investing in China
SAP announces continued investment and growth in China, underscoring the company's long-term commitment to the world's second-largest economy. SAP enables Chinese customers to grow, scale and globalize, as well as make the transition to a knowledge-based economy. The company announces its best quarterly performance ever in China, with more than 30 percent growth in software license revenue.
Double-digit growth continues
With four consecutive years of double-digit growth, SAP is the fastest-growing mega-cap company in the enterprise software industry. In 2013 the company reports €16.9 billion non-IFRS total revenue, with 11% constant currency growth in software and cloud subscription revenue.
SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA
The entire SAP Business Suite moves to SAP HANA. In the three years since its launch, SAP HANA has generated nearly €1.2 billion in revenue and has become one of the fastest-growing products in the history of enterprise software. In 2013 alone, SAP HANA generates €664 million in revenue, an increase of 69% over the previous year at constant currencies.
Building a Business Network
SAP takes a defining step to the next frontier in the cloud: a secure, real-time business network to reinvent commerce between companies. Starting in 2012 with Ariba, it expands in mid-2014 with Fieldglass and contract workforces. At the end of 2014, SAP completes the acquisition of Concur, the largest software-as-a-service acquisition in history, adding the US$1.2 trillion business travel market to the scope of SAP’s leadership position in the business network.
A European Company
SAP changes its legal form from an “AG” company to a European Company (Societas Europaea, SE), underscoring the company's international nature. The SAP Supervisory Board now holds five of 18 members that are of non-German background.
The company’s cloud transition accelerates, with SAP becoming the fastest-growing enterprise cloud company at scale and the largest cloud company in the world by measure of users (70 million).
Bill McDermott becomes sole CEO of SAP. Jim Hagemann Snabe steps down as co-CEO and is elected to the Supervisory Board of SAP SE at the Annual General Meeting in May.