Skip to Content
 Abstract programming code

SAP History

Building on a track record of innovation.

The e-business era

2001 – 2010

Real-time goes online: open and flexible e-business solutions running on the latest Web technologies enable cross-company collaboration. SAP becomes a multiproduct company.

2001

A new market

SAP adds enterprise portals to its solution portfolio by acquiring TopTier, Israel’s market leader in this domain. TopTier's founder, Shai Agassi (pictured left), takes over the management of this business segment.

 

From revolution to evolution

SAP develops mySAP.com into a comprehensive technology for business applications, creating the architecture it needs to help companies integrate a wide variety of IT systems.

Ongoing growth

As the dot-com bubble bursts, the IT market feels the impact of dwindling investment. But customer confidence in SAP’s solutions remains strong, and SAP grows its revenues once again, by 17%.

New CFO

Werner Brandt joins the Executive Board, succeeding Henning Kagermann as CFO and Dieter Matheis as commercial director.

2002

A rising star 

Thirty years after its foundation, SAP’s portfolio is still growing – and so is its workforce, which now numbers around 29,000. Approximately 1,300 employees move into a striking new star-shaped office building at company headquarters in Walldorf.

New names at the top

The Executive Board welcomes two new members: Shai Agassi as head of new technologies, and Léo Apotheker as head of global sales.

Record-breaking earnings

Despite continued economic uncertainty around the globe, the long-term effects of the terrorist attacks in the United States, and a wave of corporate accounting scandals at the beginning of the year, SAP sets a new record: Its final-quarter earnings are the highest in its 30-year history.

2003

New ERP offering

At CeBIT, SAP announces the availability of mySAP ERP as part of the mySAP Business Suite. mySAP ERP is the company’s most comprehensive, flexible, and extensible ERP offering to date.

Name change

SAP renames its flagship suite from mySAP.com to mySAP Business Suite.

End of an era

Hasso Plattner steps down from the Executive Board and is elected chairman of the Supervisory Board. He is the last of SAP’s co-founders to leave the management team, though he still serves the company in an advisory role. Passionate sailor, Plattner receives a unique farewell gift – a sail signed by all of SAP’s employees, that they hope will keep him on course for a successful future.

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 – on SAP and non-SAP systems.

Global developments

SAP Labs China opens, becoming the ninth SAP research and development center outside Walldorf. It joins a network of research facilities in Bulgaria, Canada, France, India, Israel, Japan, and the United States helping SAP convert IT expertise into business applications for its customers. The company now employs around 30,000 employees, some 17,000 of whom work outside of Germany.

2004

A clear vision

SAP plans its future around the concept of enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA). Raising the bar yet again, CEO Henning Kagermann (pictured right) announces SAP’s intention to make all its business applications service-based in the medium term and thus provide maximum flexibility for customers.

Resounding success

SAP releases the first version of SAP NetWeaver. The market’s response to this new integration and application platform is overwhelming. By year’s end, well over 1,000 customers have already bought the product – and many more will follow. Meanwhile, more than 24,000 customers are running 84,000 SAP software installations in over 120 countries.

Joining forces

SAP announces its intention to acquire the remaining shares of its consulting subsidiary SAP SI and to merge the company with its own consulting unit. This move strengthens SAP’s global portfolio of strategic IT consulting and integration services, making SAP the go-to provider for many customers — especially those in Germany, Switzerland, and the United States.

Strong leader drives growth

In a resurgent IT market and under Kagermann’s leadership, SAP continues to report quarterly revenue growth and expand its market share – staying ahead of its competitors. Business Week names Kagermann one of Europe’s 25 best business managers, praising his customer-oriented corporate philosophy.

2005

Departure

Co-founder Dietmar Hopp (pictured left) steps down from the Supervisory Board.

Impressive numbers

License revenues increase 18%, and growth is especially strong in the Americas region. SAP’s more than 35,800 employees around the world generate total revenues of €8.5 billion.

SAP Labs Hungary

SAP opens a new research and development center in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. The team of around 50 developers at SAP Labs Hungary become part of SAP’s global network of research locations – home to some of the world’s brightest IT minds.

Best employer

A study conducted for business magazine Capital names SAP Germany’s best employer in the category for companies with 5,000 employees or more. Receiving the award from Wolfgang Clement, Germany’s Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, SAP Executive Board member Claus Heinrich says, “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 serve first and foremost as a 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.”

Organic growth

In 2005, while its competitors are busy with major takeovers, SAP focuses on organic growth. However, it does acquire retail providers Triversity and Khimetrics, whose solutions complement its portfolio.

2006

Good news from the midmarket

SAP All-in-One and SAP Business One boost SAP’s share of the midmarket. With 10,000 customers deploying SAP Business One, the company generates around 30% of its €3.1 billion total software license revenue from companies with fewer than 2,500 employees.

 

Harmonious partnership

SAP and Microsoft present Duet, the first product to be jointly developed, supported, marketed, and sold by the two companies. Duet enables users to quickly and easily connect Microsoft Office applications with SAP-based business processes. The partners sell 200,000 licenses in 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 is the cornerstone of SAP’s industry solutions and the springboard to enterprise SOA,” says SAP Executive Board member Léo Apotheker.

International recognition

SAP once again wins numerous employer accolades. SAP Austria, SAP in Germany, SAP Chile, SAP Andina y del Caribe, SAP Mexico, and SAP’s southern Latin America region are all recognized as a “Great Place to Work” by the eponymous organization. SAP Labs India receives a “Recruiting and Staffing Best in Class” award from the Indian Institute of Management Studies & Research for its innovative workforce planning and management methods.

2007

Head start in the midmarket

At a special event in New York City, SAP unveils SAP Business ByDesign, a product tailored to the needs of small and midsized enterprises and SAP’s first on-demand solution. SAP CEO Henning Kagermann describes this new offering as a “bold move to create an all-new solution for a largely untapped market”.

Seizing new opportunities

If acquiring a company will enhance its product portfolio, SAP is prepared to make the investment required. In addition to Pilot Software, a California-based provider of strategy management software, it buys Yusa, OutlookSoft, Wicom, and MaXware. SAP also announces its intention to purchase Business Objects, a French company specializing in business intelligence applications.

All change on the Executive Board

With Shai Agassi’s departure from the Executive Board, Léo Apotheker is named deputy CEO. SAP sets up an executive council comprising corporate officers who share responsibilities for market and product strategies and report to the Executive Board.

More accolades roll in

In its 35th year, SAP is named “Germany’s Best Employer” for the third time in the annual “Great Place to Work” awards. It also receives a special prize for its extensive health management program. SAP Labs India is ranked the country’s eighth best employer.

2008

Global focus

SAP’s Supervisory Board names Léo Apotheker (left) co-CEO alongside Henning Kagermann (right). Peter Zencke resigns from the Executive Board, which then welcomes Ernie Gunst, Bill McDermott, John Schwarz, and Jim Hagemann Snabe as new members. Their international backgrounds will prove invaluable to SAP’s executive management team.

A done deal

SAP completes its acquisition of Business Objects, making it the market leader in business software, enterprise performance management, and business intelligence.

Employer of choice

For the fourth time, the "Great Place to Work" initiative names SAP “Germany's Best Employer” in the category of enterprises with more than 5,000 employees. SAP also receives numerous awards in other countries, including Bulgaria, China, Denmark, India, Japan, and Mexico.

Sustainable business

Demonstrating its commitment to more socially responsible business practices, SAP publishes its first Sustainability Report. As the leader in its market, SAP is uniquely placed to provide information technology that helps companies and organizations manage their economic, social, and environmental impact.

2009

Making a difference

SAP demonstrates its commitment to corporate social responsibility by supporting PlaNet Finance, an international nonprofit organization that funds microfinance institutions (MFIs). SAP and PlaNet Finance aim to optimize the microfinance sector through a combination of funding, new technologies, and socially sustainable value chains. In advance of the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15), SAP also pledges to support the U.N.'s Hopenhagen initiative. SAP employees continue to volunteer their time in support of social projects all over the world.

 

Image: SAP and PlaNet Finance Press Conference, Paris, France, June 17, 2008: Sebastien Duquet, PlaNet Finance, Léo Apotheker, CEO of SAP AG, Jacques Attali, president, PlaNet Finance (from left)

Difficult times

Following the global financial crisis of 2008, businesses around the world are struggling. In response to the situation, SAP makes staff cuts and initiates other cost-saving measures. By year’s end, SAP still employs some 48,500 people. Meanwhile, the company supports its customers with special programs designed to help them emerge from the crisis stronger than before. Despite challenging circumstances, these initiatives enable SAP to improve its operating margin.

Another business milestone

At a launch event in New York City, SAP unveils SAP Business Suite 7, a software suite designed to help businesses optimize their performance and reduce IT costs. A condensed ramp-up phase enables the first customers to go live in March. In early May, SAP’s next-generation software suite is released to customers worldwide.

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.

Dynamic duo

The Supervisory Board names Bill McDermott (right) and Jim Hagemann Snabe (left) co-CEOs of the company. Chief technology officer Vishal Sikka joins the Executive Board and, soon after, Angelika Dammann becomes the first woman to serve on it – as the member responsible for global human resources and labor relations.

Major acquisition

To bring its business applications to mobile users, SAP announces plans to acquire Sybase for US$5.8 billion. California-based Sybase is the largest business software and service provider specializing in information management and mobile data services.

Real-time innovation

More than 50,000 customers and prospects attend SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW event either live or online – a new record. As well as getting the lowdown on SAP’s product strategy, they learn about a raft of innovations. Chief among them is in-memory technology, which ushers in a new era of real-time processing in business applications.

Effective strategy

The co-CEOs’ strategy of investing in new technologies – in-memory, mobile, and cloud computing – pays off: SAP ends the year with the highest final-quarter revenues in its history.

Back to top