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1981

Debut
SAP makes its first event appearance at the IT trade show Systems in Munich, Germany.

Stabile
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.

Joint development
With the help of its customers, SAP expands its range of products with a production management module. 

1982

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.

1983

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 employs 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.

1984

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.

1985

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.

1986

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).

Development
After three years in development, SAP's software for human resources management is made available to customers.

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.

Presentation
The company showcases itself at the world's largest computer trade show CeBIT in Hanover, Germany, for the first time.

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.

1987

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.

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.

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.

User conference
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.

1988

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.

1989

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.

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.

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.

Financial markets
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.

1990

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.

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