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Stakeholder Engagement

  • We drive innovation and the development of our solutions in close co-operation with our key stakeholders.
  • We communicate with our identified key stakeholder groups continuously.
  • We provide insight into the various engagement activities with selected examples.

For SAP, stakeholder engagement and collaboration are deeply embedded into our process of innovation and the development of our solutions. Before we can design a new solution, we must first understand the issue we are addressing. For this reason, design thinking and co-innovation are essential. At the same time, this process is not complete. With any innovation, there is often a time lag before stakeholders understand and absorb the full implications of a new solution. In other words, we need to update our license to operate by continually assessing and managing the additional responsibilities brought about by innovation.

To fully understand these responsibilities, we regularly engage with seven key stakeholder groups that are most relevant to our business, as well as our Sustainability Advisory Panel. We have selected these groups as they are critical to our value creation. This dialog also influences our materiality assessment.

Stakeholder Group   How We Engage   Further Information

Ensuring our customers’ success is core to everything we do. In addition to the sales engagement cycle, we also engage customers through industry value networks, co-innovation projects, customer councils, and customer-organized user groups throughout the world. The Customer Engagement Initiative provides early insight to SAP product planning, allowing our customers to influence and collaborate around our product development cycle. We also gather customer feedback regularly through our “SAP Listens” customer and partner feedback program. In addition our customer facing organizations like sales, consulting, education or support have multiple touch points with customers on a daily basis.


Dedicated customer officers are directly attached to the members of the global management board.


As one cornerstone of our corporate objectives we measure customer loyalty on an annual basis.


For more information on customer surveys, see the Customers section.


We survey employees annually, conducting pulse checks throughout the year. The Supervisory Board comprises 50% employee representation, and management regularly engages with employee works councils. In addition, the Global Managing Board answers employees’ questions in all-hands meetings that take place every quarter. In quarterly coffee corner sessions, senior executives explain our strategy to employees and answer their questions directly. Through topic related discussion blogs executives engage regularly with employees, foster an open discussion and receive focused feedback globally.


For the results of our latest employee survey and how SAP is responding, see the Employee Engagement section.


We advise governments and administrations worldwide on critical IT topics, such as digitization, the Cloud and Big Data, which play a key role in creating new efficiencies and spurring economic growth.


For more information on our policy engagement in 2015, see the Public Policy section.

Industry analysts  

Our Analyst Relations team, the Global Managing Board and executives interact with IT analysts on a frequent basis.


We updated IT analysts, for example, on SAP HANA, our enterprise applications, our industry solutions, our Cloud solutions, our ecosystem, and our services. The latest industry positioning material integrates economic, social and environmental impact creation.

Financial analysts and investors  

Our Investor Relations team and the Global Managing Board conduct one-to-one briefings with financial analysts and institutional investors, as well as investor road shows, quarterly earnings calls and our annual general meeting; the investor relations team also engages with the sustainable investment community in close cooperation with the sustainability team; the global treasury team interacts regularly with debt investors.


For more information on our dialog with investors, see the Investor Relations section.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academia  

Our dialog with NGOs, NPOs and academic institutions helps us understand how we can help address today’s most pressing issues with our solutions and what is expected from us as a corporation.


In 2015, United Nations adopted the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a to-do list to end poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change. SAP was a founding partner of IMPACT 2030, a business-led coalition that aligns companies and their employee volunteer efforts with the SDGs to address the needs of our rapidly changing world and create real and sustainable change. In addition to SAP, the network of businesses includes: IBM, Google, GSK, TATA Consultancy Services, and The Dow Chemical Company.


In response to the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe, SAP aims to join forces with local and federal governmental organizations. SAP and SAP employees’ donations support a range of local and national refugee aid non-profit organizations as well as the UN Refugee Agency.


In 2015 we continued to expand our strategic partnerships with non-profit organizations in the area of STEM education. Together with the Cape Town Science Centre, the Galway Education Centre and 100 other Non-Profit Organisations and government partners, SAP launched the Africa Code Week. This initiative provides young people with the coding tools and skills they need to thrive in the digital economy and further Africa’s economic development. SAP was also a key partner with the European Commission for EU Code Week.


We extensively work with academia through the SAP University Alliances program, providing students at more than 1,200 universities with hands-on experience working with SAP software and solutions.


On the openSAP platform we expanded our offerings of free of charge massive open online classes (MOOC’s) covering introductory and advanced classes of SAP technology. We also repeated our course on “Sustainability and Business Innovation” to the interested public audience.


Our investment in the Livelihoods Fund creates social impact in rural communities and for the second year in a row we received offsets mitigating our overall CO2 emissions in 2015.


Partners and suppliers  

Our partners are also key to our growth, as they help us co-innovate solutions, sell and implement solutions at customer sites. The spirit of cooperation and engagement is exemplified by the online SAP Community Network, which now includes more than two million members.


We have also started to work with selected suppliers to understand how we can help each other improve.


As with customers, we also gather partner feedback regularly through our “SAP Listens” customer and partner feedback program.

An example for our engagement with suppliers is the introduction of sustainability labels to our indirect procurement catalogue, enabling our employees to consciously select IT equipment or office materials. For more information see the sustainable procurement section

Sustainability Advisory Panel  

Our Sustainability Advisory Panel consists of expert representatives of customers, investors, partners and NGOs.


Our Sustainability Advisory Panel met in 2015 with SAP senior executives – including Luka Mucic, CFO, COO and board sponsor for sustainability – from the areas of strategy, solutions, finance, and administration. The group discussed the further integration of sustainability into SAP solutions, how we can support business transformations, and the key issues where our digitization strategy will play an especially important role in creating a sustainable future.

We continue our stakeholder engagement as it meets the variable requirements of the diverse stakeholder groups.

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