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SAP History

Building on a track record of innovation.

The SAP R/3 era

1991 – 2000

Real-time reaches the desktop: With the new client-server version of its standard application software, SAP helps businesses around the world run more efficiently and becomes a driver of globalization.



Surging ahead

SAP continues on its rapid growth trajectory: revenues reach DM707.1 million and the workforce increases to 2,700. The company now has 14 international subsidiaries and more than 2,200 customers in 31 different countries. Henning Kagermann joins the Executive Board.

Sneak preview

SAP presents the first SAP R/3 applications at CeBIT in Hanover to an excited audience. The client-server concept, consistent graphical interface, dedicated use of relational databases, and support for servers from a range of vendors appeal both to SMEs and to the subsidiaries of multinationals – opening up significant new market potential for SAP.

Looking east

As eastern Europe opens up to the world, SAP expands its business across the region. It signs a partnership agreement with Russia’s largest software company, ZPS, and begins developing a Russian version of SAP R/2.

Image: SAP Executive Board: Hans-Werner Hector, Klaus Tschira, Dietmar Hopp, Hasso Plattner, Henning Kagermann (from left)



The next generation

Following successful installations at selected pilot customers, SAP releases SAP R/3 to the market and enters a new era of growth.


To be ready to invest in mergers and acquisitions, SAP adds another DM15 million to its capital stock, bringing it to a total of DM100 million.

20th anniversary

SAP marks its 20th anniversary with the opening of its new sales and development center. Prominent German politician Erwin Teufel is among the guests. The company begins managing its 15 international subsidiaries from Walldorf.

Joint success

Anticipating strong demand for R/3, SAP augments its partner strategy. Independent consulting firms, which SAP refers to as “logo partners,” help customers implement the new system.

International sales take off

SAP is now generating nearly 50% of its DM831 million revenue outside Germany, and its global workforce numbers 3,157. Hans Schlegel, head of SAP’s international business, joins the Executive Board.




SAP starts working with Microsoft to port SAP R/3 to the Windows NT operating system. It also joins the IXOS project to develop and market an electronic document archiving system.


Image: SAP and Microsoft sign an agreement about a strategic cooperation, Munich, Germany, April 30, 1993: Bill Gates, Hasso Plattner (from left)


In the global innovation hub

The construction of a development center in Foster City, California, gives SAP a presence near Silicon Valley.


SAP delivers a version of SAP R/3 that supports kanji characters to the Japanese market. SAP R/3 is ported to Sun hardware, enabling it to run on all relevant RISC platforms.

Another landmark

SAP reaches a new revenue milestone, as its 3,600 employees generate DM1.1 billion in revenue. Peter Zencke joins the Executive Board.



China and Latin America

SAP kicks off its marketing activities in the Chinese market with presentations in Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin. It also opens its first Latin America subsidiary, in Mexico City.

Business growth

SAP grows its revenues to DM1.8 billion, with the United States accounting for 34.3% of that total. By year's end, the company employs 5,229 people.

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 combination.


Retail expertise

SAP steps up its efforts to develop a retail solution for SAP R/3 by acquiring a 52% stake in DACOS Software GmbH.


Partners and customers

IBM, a longstanding SAP partner, is running its global operations on SAP R/3 – under the largest contract SAP has so far signed in its 23-year history.



Stock market success

SAP’s share price soars following the company’s listing on Germany’s DAX and the transition to a minimum par value of DM5. Shortly afterwards, manager magazin once again names SAP “Company of the Year.” Now nearly 7,000 strong, SAP’s workforce generates DM2.7 billion in revenue.

Customer trust

Burger King Inc. becomes the 1,000th customer to implement SAP’s software for human resources management. Microsoft joins the ranks of tech companies opting for SAP R/3. Deutsche Telekom sets a new record for the largest-ever SAP contract, covering 30,000 SAP R/3 workstations, and collaborates with SAP on a solution for the telecommunications industry.

Midmarket push

SAP enlists system resellers to help sharpen its marketing focus on SMEs.



Highly visible

It is a year of record-breaking events for SAP: 4,300 customers attend the European SAPPHIRE in Vienna; 8,000 register for its U.S. counterpart; and more than 5,000 travel to the inaugural SAPPHIRE event for Japan.

Still climbing

SAP generates revenues of DM3.7 billion; its workforce numbers 9,202 by the end of the year.


SAP is named “Company of the Year” for the third time by manager magazin.

SAP goes online

SAP launches 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 AS/400 platform.


More big-name customers

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest manufacturer of soft drinks, decides to implement SAP R/3.


New Executive Board members

Claus Heinrich, Gerhard Oswald, and Paul Wahl are appointed to SAP’s Executive Board.




Silver jubilee

SAP celebrates 25 years. German Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl is among the guests at the festivities.

In demand

High-profile customers including Deutsche Post, Daimler-Benz, and General Motors implement SAP R/3. More than two million people now 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.

Raising its profile

SAP plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), aiming to bolster its presence in the world’s most important market for information technology and to strengthen its relationships with shareholders.

An outstanding year

SAP sees its operating profit top one billion for the first time (DM1.6 billion). Revenues grow 62% to DM6.02 billion, 81% of which are generated outside Germany. SAP’s workforce increases 40% to nearly 13,000.



SAP on the Big Board

On August 3, 1998, the letters “SAP” appear for the first time 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 an “essential and momentous milestone in SAP’s history.”

Changes at the top

Dietmar Hopp and Klaus Tschira, two of SAP’s co-founders, announce their decision to step down from the Executive Board. Both transfer to the SAP Supervisory Board, where Hopp becomes chairperson. The Supervisory Board appoints Henning Kagermann co-CEO of the company alongside co-founder Hasso Plattner.



More than 15,000 customers, partners, and prospects travel to Los Angeles, California, for SAP’s 10th SAPPHIRE event – breaking the previous attendance record. The event focuses on EnjoySAP, a new, user-centric strategy designed to make SAP software easier to learn, faster to work with, and simpler to customize.

New Dimension

SAP launches its New Dimension products to compete with best-of-breed providers in customer relationship and supply chain management.

Hiring drive

To achieve its ambitious plans, SAP hires 6,500 motivated and highly skilled employees this year – increasing its workforce by 50% and taking the headcount to over 19,000. Its annual revenues now stand at €4.3 billion (DM8.5 billion).



The revolution

SAP co-CEO Hasso Plattner announces a new strategy that completely realigns the company and its product portfolio: The strategy combines e-commerce solutions with SAP’s ERP applications on cutting-edge Web technology.


Big names on board

It does not take long for the first customers to sign up. Soccer club FC Bayern Munich and financial services provider MLP are soon joined by Hewlett-Packard, Ford subsidiary Visteon, and pharmaceutical group Hoechst Marion Roussel.

New image

The products are changing – and so is SAP. Reflecting an even sharper focus on the customer in the Internet age, the company reorganizes its divisions and establishes its German Internet subsidiary,


Employees and earnings

More than 20,000 employees generate €5.1 billion in revenue for SAP. The company invests nearly 15% of this sum in research and development.



Global Compact

SAP is one of the first German companies to sign the United Nations Global Compact announced by the organization’s Secretary-General, Kofi Annan (left) and SAP's chief communications officer, Herbert Heitmann (right).

Doing business without boundaries

Comprehensive e-business solutions, innovative technologies, and extensive services converge on the trailblazing platform, allowing employees, customers, suppliers, and other business partners to collaborate across company borders – anytime, anywhere.

Online marketplaces and portals

SAP enters the world of electronic marketplaces, setting up a subsidiary, SAP Markets, for this business and embarking on a partnership with Commerce One.

The new economy

SAP is now the world’s leading provider of e-business software solutions that integrate processes within and between companies. It is also the world’s third-largest independent software vendor. A workforce of over 24,000 in more than 50 countries generates revenues of €6.3 billion in 2000 – a 23% increase on the previous year.


By continuing to expand its product and service portfolio, SAP demonstrates its commitment to transforming from a component supplier into a solution provider. This approach appeals to leading global companies particularly. One of them, Nestlé, signs the biggest deal in SAP’s history.

SAP Community

SAP Community goes live. Its aim is to provide SAP’s ecosystem and partners with a forum for communication and interaction that is “open” all day, every day.

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