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Performance Management System

We use various performance measures to help manage our performance with regard to our primary financial objectives, which are growth and profitability, and our primary non-financial objectives, which are customer loyalty and employee engagement. We view growth and profitability as indicators for our current performance, while customer loyalty and employee engagement are indicators for our future performance.

Measures We Use to Manage Our Financial Performance

Measures We Use to Manage Our Operating Financial Performance

In 2016, we used the following key measures to manage our operating financial performance:

Cloud subscriptions and support revenue (non-IFRS): This revenue driver comprises the main revenues of our fast-growing cloud business. We generate cloud subscriptions and support revenue when we provide software functionality in a cloud-based infrastructure (software as a service, or SaaS) to our customers; when we provide our customers with access to a cloud-based infrastructure to develop, run, and manage applications (platform as a service, or PaaS); and also when we provide hosting services for software hosted by SAP (infrastructure as a service, or IaaS). Cloud subscriptions and support revenue are also generated when providing additional premium cloud subscription support beyond the regular support, which is embedded in the basic cloud subscription fees as well as business network services to our customers. We use the cloud subscriptions and support revenue (non-IFRS) measure both at actual currency and at constant currency.

Cloud and software revenue (non-IFRS): We use cloud and software revenue (non-IFRS) and constant currency cloud and software revenue (non-IFRS) to measure our revenue growth. Our cloud and software revenue includes cloud subscriptions and support revenue plus software licenses and support revenue. Cloud subscriptions and support revenue and software revenue are our key revenue drivers because they tend to affect our other revenue streams. Generally, customers that buy software licenses also enter into related support contracts, and these generate recurring revenue in the form of support revenue after the software sale. Support contracts cover standardized support services that comprise unspecified future software updates and enhancements. Software licenses revenue as well as cloud subscriptions and support revenue also tend to stimulate services revenue earned from providing customers with professional services, premium engagement services, training services, messaging services, and payment services.

Total revenue (non-IFRS): We use nominal total revenue (non-IFRS) and constant currency total revenue (non-IFRS) to measure our growth. The total of cloud subscriptions and support revenue and software support revenue divided by total revenue is the share of more predictable revenue. This measure provides additional insight into our sustained business success.

New cloud bookings: For our cloud activities, we also look at new cloud bookings. This measure reflects the committed order entry from new customers and from incremental purchases by existing customers for offerings that generate cloud subscriptions and support revenue. In this way, it is an indicator for cloud-related sales success in a given period and for secured future cloud subscriptions and support revenue. We focus primarily on the average contract value variant of the new cloud bookings measure that takes into account annualized amounts for multiyear contracts. Additionally, we internally monitor the total contract value variant of the new cloud bookings measure that takes into account the total committed order entry amounts regardless of contract durations. There are no comparable IFRS measures for these bookings metrics. In addition to new cloud bookings, we use the measure “cloud backlog” to evaluate our sales success in the cloud business. We define cloud backlog as a measure that represents the volume of business that, as of period end, is contracted but not yet billed.

Operating profit (non-IFRS): We use operating profit (non-IFRS) and constant currency operating profit (non-IFRS) to measure our overall operational process efficiency and overall business performance. See below for more information on the IFRS and non-IFRS measures we use.

Cloud subscriptions and support gross margin (non-IFRS): We use our cloud subscriptions and support gross margin (non-IFRS) to measure our process efficiency in our cloud business. Cloud subscriptions and support gross margin (non-IFRS) is the ratio of our cloud subscriptions and support gross profit (non-IFRS) to cloud subscriptions and support revenue (non-IFRS), expressed as a percentage.

Measures We Use to Manage Our Non-Operating Financial Performance

We use the following measures to manage our non-operating financial performance.

Financial income, net: This measure provides insight into the return on liquid assets and capital investments and the cost of borrowed funds. To manage our financial income, net, we focus on cash flow, the composition of our liquid assets and capital investment portfolio, and the average rate of interest at which assets are invested. We also monitor average outstanding borrowings and associated finance costs.

Days Sales Outstanding (DSO): We manage working capital by controlling the days sales outstanding (DSO) for operating receivables (defined as the average number of days from the raised invoice to cash receipt from the customer).

Measures We Use to Manage Overall Financial Performance

We use the following measures to manage our overall financial performance:

Earnings per share (EPS) (IFRS and non-IFRS): EPS measures our overall performance because it captures all operating and non-operating elements of profit as well as income tax expense. It represents the portion of profit after tax allocable to each SAP share outstanding. EPS is influenced not only by our operating and non-operating business as well as income taxes but also by the number of shares outstanding.

Effective tax rate (IFRS and non-IFRS): We define our effective tax rate as the ratio of income tax expense to profit before tax, expressed as a percentage.

Operating, investing, and financing cash flows and free cash flow: Our consolidated statement of cash flows provides insight as to how we generated and used cash and cash equivalents. When applied in conjunction with the other primary financial statements, it provides information that helps us evaluate the changes of our net assets, our financial structure (including our liquidity and solvency), and our ability to affect the amounts and timing of cash flows to adapt to changing circumstances and opportunities. We use our free cash flow measure to determine the cash flow remaining after all expenditures required to maintain or expand our organic business have been paid off. This measure provides management with supplemental information to assess our liquidity needs. We calculate free cash flow as net cash from operating activities minus purchases (other than purchases made in connection with business combinations) of intangible assets and property, plant, and equipment.

Measures We Use to Manage Our Non-Financial Performance

In 2016, we used the following key measures to manage our non-financial performance in the areas of employee engagement, customer loyalty, and leadership trust:

Employee Engagement Index: We use this index to measure the motivation and loyalty of our employees, how proud they are of our company, and how strongly they identify with SAP. The index is derived from surveys conducted among our employees. Applying this measure is recognition that our growth strategy depends on engaged employees.

Customer Net Promoter Score (NPS): This score measures the willingness of our customers to recommend or promote SAP to others. It is derived from our annual customer survey that identifies, on a scale of 0–10, whether a customer is loyal and likely to recommend SAP to friends or colleagues, is neutral, or is unhappy. We introduced this measure in 2012, as we are convinced that we can achieve our financial goals only when our customers are loyal to, and satisfied with, SAP and our solutions. To derive the Customer NPS, we start with the percentage of “promoters” of SAP – those who give us a score of 9 or 10 on a scale of 0–10. We then subtract the percentage of “detractors” – those who give us a score of 0 to 6. The method ignores “passives,” who give us a score of 7 or 8.

Leadership Trust Score: We use this score to further enhance accountability and to measure our collective effort to foster a work environment based on trust. It is derived from a question in our annual global employee survey that gauges employees’ trust in our leaders. We measure leadership trust by using the same methodology as we do determining the Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Value-Based Management

Our holistic view of the performance measures described above, together with our associated analyses, comprises the information we use for value-based management. We use planning and control processes to manage the compilation of these key measures and their availability to our decision makers across various management levels.

SAP’s long-term strategic plans, including a multiyear financial plan through 2020, are the point of reference for our short-term and midterm planning and controlling processes. We initially identify future growth and profitability drivers at a highly aggregated level. In a first step, the resulting financial plan is broken down to (i) our deployment models “On Premise,” “Software as a Service/Platform as a Service,” “Infrastructure as a Service,” and “Business Networks”, and (ii) functions such as development, sales, or administration. In a second step, the planned total revenues and total expenses are allocated to the individual board areas. Budget administration and control, including budget adjustments applied during the year to reflect changes in priorities, to achieve efficiency targets and to reflect endogenous and exogenous factors, are handled at board area level. It is then the individual board member’s responsibility to break down, in their board area, the allocated budgets and budget adjustments. The Executive Board’s efforts to assess the performance of the company and components thereof is also done on the level of the board areas. Based on an integrated portfolio process running in parallel to the budgeting process we ensure aligned investment behavior across board areas with regards to specific solutions or solution areas. In a final step, customer-facing revenue targets and cost of sales and marketing targets are broken down into sales regions.

Based on our detailed annual plans, we determine the budget for the respective year. We also have processes in place to forecast revenue and profit on a quarterly basis, to quantify whether we expect to realize our financial goals, and to identify any deviations from plan. We continuously monitor the concerned units in the Group to analyze these developments and define any appropriate actions. Our entire network of planning, control, and reporting processes is implemented in integrated planning and information systems, based on SAP software, across all organizational units so that we can conduct the evaluations and analyses needed to make informed decisions.

Non-IFRS Financial Measures Cited in This Report

As in previous years, we provided our 2016 financial outlook on the basis of certain non-IFRS measures. Therefore, this report contains a non-IFRS based comparison of our actual performance in 2016 against our outlook in the Financial Performance: Review and Analysis section.

Reconciliations of IFRS to Non-IFRS Financial Measures for 2016 and 2015

Due to rounding, the sum of the numbers presented in the following table might not precisely equal the totals we provide.

Reconciliation of IFRS to Non-IFRS Financial Measures for the Years Ended December 31

€ millions, unless otherwise stated 2016 2015
IFRS Adj. Non-IFRS Currency
Revenue measures
Cloud subscriptions and support 2,993 2 2,995 12 3,007 2,286 10 2,296
Software licenses 4,860 2 4,862 31 4,893 4,835 1 4,836
Software support 10,571 1 10,572 82 10,654 10,093 0 10,094
Software licenses and support 15,431 3 15,434 113 15,546 14,928 2 14,930
Cloud and software 18,424 5 18,428 125 18,553 17,214 11 17,226
Services 3,638 0 3,638 39 3,678 3,579 0 3,579
Total revenue 22,062 5 22,067 164 22,231 20,793 11 20,805
Operating expense measures
Cost of cloud subscriptions and support −1,313 247 −1,066 −1,022 232 −789
Cost of software licenses and support −2,182 238 −1,944 −2,291 283 −2,008
Cost of cloud and software −3,495 485 −3,010 −3,313 516 −2,797
Cost of services −3,089 113 −2,976 −2,932 167 −2,765
Total cost of revenue −6,583 598 −5,985 −6,245 683 −5,562
Gross profit 15,479 603 16,081 14,548 694 15,242
Research and development −3,044 201 −2,843 −2,845 202 −2,643
Sales and marketing −6,265 549 −5,716 −5,782 462 −5,320
General and administration −1,005 119 −886 −1,048 116 −932
Restructuring −28 28 0 −621 621 0
Other operating income/expense, net −3 0 −3 1 0 1
Total operating expenses −16,928 1,494 −15,434 −192 −15,626 −16,541 2,084 −14,457
Profit numbers
Operating profit 5,135 1,498 6,633 −28 6,605 4,252 2,095 6,348
Other non-operating income/expense, net −234 0 −234 −256 0 −256
Finance income 230 0 230 241 0 241
Finance costs −268 0 −268 −246 0 −246
Financial income, net −38 0 −38 −5 0 −5
Profit before tax 4,863 1,498 6,361 3,991 2,095 6,087
Income tax expense −1,229 −474 −1,703 −935 −651 −1,586
Profit after tax 3,634 1,024 4,658 3,056 1,445 4,501
Attributable to owners of parent 3,646 1,024 4,671 3,064 1,445 4,509
Attributable to non-controlling interests −13 0 −13 −8 0 −8
Key ratios
Operating margin (in %) 23.3 30.1 29.7 20.5 30.5
Effective tax rate (in %) 25.3 26.8 23.4 26.1
Earnings per share, basic (in €) 3.04 3.90 2.56 3.77

Explanation of Non-IFRS Measures

Non-IFRS Adjustments by Functional Areas

€ millions 2016 2015
IFRS Acqui-
SBP1) Restruc-turing Non-IFRS IFRS Acqui-
SBP1) Restruc-turing Non-IFRS
Cost of cloud and software −3,495 395 89 0 −3,010 −3,313 441 74 0 −2,797
Cost of services −3,089 12 101 0 −2,976 −2,932 54 113 0 −2,765
Research and development −3,044 10 190 0 −2,843 −2,845 36 166 0 −2,643
Sales and marketing −6,265 257 292 0 −5,716 −5,782 202 260 0 −5,320
General and administration −1,005 6 113 0 −886 −1,048 4 111 0 −932
Restructuring −28 0 0 28 0 −621 0 0 621 0
Other operating income/expense, net −3 0 0 0 −3 1 0 0 0 1
Adjustments of
total operating expenses
−16,928 680 785 28 −15,434 −16,541 738 724 621 −14,457
1) Share-based payments (SBP)

We disclose certain financial measures, such as revenue (non-IFRS), operating expenses (non-IFRS), operating profit (non-IFRS), operating margin (non-IFRS), and earnings per share (non-IFRS), as well as constant currency revenue, expense, and profit that are not prepared in accordance with IFRS and are therefore considered non-IFRS financial measures. Our non-IFRS financial measures may not correspond to non-IFRS financial measures that other companies report. The non-IFRS financial measures that we report should only be considered in addition to, and not as substitutes for, or superior to, our IFRS financial measures.

We believe that the disclosed supplemental historical and prospective non-IFRS financial information provides useful information to investors because management uses this information, in addition to financial data prepared in accordance with IFRS, to attain a more transparent understanding of our past performance and our anticipated future results. We use the revenue (non-IFRS) and profit (non-IFRS) measures consistently in our internal planning and forecasting, reporting, and compensation, as well as in our external communications, as follows:

  • Our management primarily uses these non-IFRS measures rather than IFRS measures as the basis for making financial, strategic, and operating decisions.
  • The variable components of our Executive Board members’ and employees’ remuneration are based on revenue (non-IFRS), operating profit (non-IFRS), as well as new cloud bookings measures rather than the respective IFRS measures.
  • The annual budgeting process for all management units is based on revenue (non-IFRS) and operating profit (non-IFRS) numbers rather than the respective IFRS financial measures.
  • All forecast and performance reviews with all senior managers globally are based on these non-IFRS measures, rather than the respective IFRS financial measures.
  • Both our internal performance targets and the guidance we provided to the capital markets are based on revenue (non-IFRS) and profit (non-IFRS) measures rather than the respective IFRS financial measures.

Our non-IFRS financial measures reflect adjustments based on the items below, as well as adjustments for the related income tax effects.

Revenue (Non-IFRS)

Revenue items identified as revenue (non-IFRS) have been adjusted from the respective IFRS financial measures by including the full amount of software support revenue, cloud subscriptions and support revenue, and other similarly recurring revenue that we are not permitted to record as revenue under IFRS due to fair value accounting for the contracts in effect at the time of the respective acquisitions.

Under IFRS, we record at fair value the contracts in effect at the time entities were acquired. Consequently, our IFRS software support revenue, IFRS cloud subscriptions and support revenue, IFRS cloud and software revenue, and IFRS total revenue for periods subsequent to acquisitions do not reflect the full amount of revenue that would have been recorded by entities acquired by SAP had they remained stand-alone entities. Adjusting revenue numbers for this revenue impact provides additional insight into the comparability of our ongoing performance across periods.

Operating Expense (Non-IFRS)

Operating expense numbers that are identified as operating expenses (non-IFRS) have been adjusted by excluding the following expenses:

  • Acquisition-related charges
    • Amortization expense/impairment charges of intangibles acquired in business combinations and certain stand-alone acquisitions of intellectual property (including purchased in-process research and development)
    • Settlements of preexisting business relationships in connection with a business combination
    • Acquisition-related third-party expenses
  • Share-based payment expenses
  • Restructuring expenses, that is, expenses resulting from measures which comply with the definition of restructuring according to IFRS

We exclude certain acquisition-related expenses for the purpose of calculating operating profit (non-IFRS), operating margin (non-IFRS), and earnings per share (non-IFRS) when evaluating SAP’s continuing operational performance because these expenses generally cannot be changed or influenced by management after the relevant acquisition other than by disposing of the acquired assets. Since management at levels below the Executive Board does not influence these expenses, we generally do not consider these expenses for the purpose of evaluating the performance of management units. For similar reasons we eliminate share-based payment expenses as these costs are impacted by share price developments and other factors outside our control. We also eliminate restructuring expenses because they are volatile and mostly cannot be influenced by management at levels below the Executive Board.

Operating Profit (Non-IFRS), Operating Margin (Non-IFRS), Effective Tax Rate (Non-IFRS), and Earnings per Share (Non-IFRS)

Operating profit, operating margin, effective tax rate, and earnings per share identified as operating profit (non-IFRS), operating margin (non-IFRS), effective tax rate (non-IFRS), and earnings per share (non-IFRS) have been adjusted from the respective IFRS measures by adjusting for the aforementioned revenue (non-IFRS) and operating expenses (non-IFRS) and the income tax effects thereon.

Constant Currency Information

We believe it is important for investors to have information that provides insight into our sales. Revenue measures determined under IFRS provide information that is useful in this regard. However, both sales volume and currency effects impact period-over-period changes in sales revenue. We do not sell standardized units of products and services, so we cannot provide relevant information on sales volume by providing data on the changes in product and service units sold. To provide additional information that may be useful to investors in breaking down and evaluating changes in sales volume, we present information about our revenue and various values and components relating to operating profit that are adjusted for foreign currency effects.

We calculate constant currency revenue and operating profit measures by translating foreign currencies using the average exchange rates from the comparative period instead of the current period.

Free Cash Flow

Among others we use the measure free cash flow to manage our overall financial performance.

Free Cash Flow

€ millions 2016 2015 ∆ in %
Net cash flows from operating activities 4,628 3,638 27
Purchase of intangible assets and property, plant, and equipment (without acquisitions) −1,001 −636 57
Free cash flow 3,627 3,001 21

Usefulness of Non-IFRS Measures

We believe that our non-IFRS measures are useful to investors for the following reasons:

  • Our revenue (non-IFRS), expense (non-IFRS), and profit (non-IFRS) measures as well as the measures “new cloud bookings” and “cloud backlog” (see above) provide investors with insight into management’s decision making because management uses these measures to run our business and make financial, strategic, and operating decisions. We include the revenue adjustments outlined above and exclude the expense adjustments outlined above when making decisions to allocate resources. In addition, we use these non-IFRS measures to facilitate comparisons of SAP’s operating performance from period to period.
  • The non-IFRS measures provide investors with additional information that enables a comparison of year-over-year operating performance by eliminating certain direct effects of acquisitions, share-based compensation plans, and restructuring plans.
  • Non-IFRS and non-GAAP measures are widely used in the software industry. In many cases, inclusion of our non-IFRS measures may facilitate comparison with our competitors’ corresponding non-IFRS and non-GAAP measures.

Limitations of Non-IFRS Measures

We believe that our non-IFRS financial measures described above have limitations, including but not limited to, the following:

  • The eliminated amounts could be material to us.
  • Without being analyzed in conjunction with the corresponding IFRS measures, the non-IFRS measures are not indicative of our present and future performance, foremost for the following reasons:
    • While our profit (non-IFRS) numbers reflect the elimination of certain acquisition-related expenses, no eliminations are made for the additional revenue or other income that results from the acquisitions.
    • While we adjust for the fair value accounting of the acquired entities’ recurring revenue contracts, we do not adjust for the fair value accounting of deferred compensation items that result from commissions paid to the acquired company’s sales force and third parties for closing the respective customer contracts.
    • The acquisition-related amortization expense that we eliminate in deriving our profit (non-IFRS) numbers is a recurring expense that will impact our financial performance in future years.
    • The remaining acquisition-related charges that we eliminate in deriving our profit (non-IFRS) numbers are likely to recur should SAP enter into material business combinations in the future. Similarly, the restructuring expenses that we eliminate in deriving our profit (non-IFRS) numbers are likely to recur should SAP perform restructurings in the future.
    • The revenue adjustment for the fair value accounting of the acquired entities’ contracts and the expense adjustment for acquisition-related charges do not arise from a common conceptual basis. This is because the revenue adjustment aims to improve the comparability of the initial post-acquisition period with future post-acquisition periods, while the expense adjustment aims to improve the comparability between post-acquisition periods and pre-acquisition periods. This should particularly be considered when evaluating our operating profit (non-IFRS) and operating margin (non-IFRS) numbers as these combine our revenue (non-IFRS) and expenses (non-IFRS) despite the absence of a common conceptual basis.
    • Our restructuring charges resulted in significant cash outflows in the past and could do so in the future. The same applies to our share-based payment expense because most of our share-based payments are settled in cash rather than shares.
    • The valuation of our cash-settled share-based payments could vary significantly from period to period due to the fluctuation of our share price and other parameters used in the valuation of these plans.
    • In the past, we have issued share-based payment awards to our employees every year and we intend to continue doing so in the future. Thus, our share-based payment expenses are recurring although the amounts usually change from period to period.

We believe that constant currency measures have limitations, particularly as the currency effects that are eliminated constitute a significant element of our revenue and expenses and could materially impact our performance. Therefore, we limit our use of constant currency measures to the analysis of changes in volume as one element of the full change in a financial measure. We do not evaluate our results and performance without considering both constant currency and nominal measures in revenue (non-IFRS) and operating profit (non-IFRS) measures on the one hand, and changes in revenue, operating expenses, operating profit, or other measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with IFRS on the other. We caution the readers of our financial reports to follow a similar approach by considering nominal and constant currency non-IFRS measures only in addition to, and not as a substitute for or superior to, changes in revenue, operating expenses, operating profit, or other measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.

Despite these limitations, we believe that the presentation of our non-IFRS measures and the corresponding IFRS measures, together with the relevant reconciliations, provide useful information to management and investors regarding present and future business trends relating to our financial condition and results of operations.

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