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The Dream Keeps Growing—and the Show Goes On

Customer Snapshot: Overview

12,000,000 tickets sold globally per year

What began as a busker’s dream in rural Canada has become a worldwide sensation. Since its beginning Cirque du Soleil® has been presented in more than 400 cities across 60 countries with more moving parts than a calliope. When viewed from the audience, a Cirque du Soleil show is the stuff dreams are made of. Behind the scenes, there are thousands of people working hard to make every single show a memorable experience.  

Cirque du Soleil Inc.


Number of Employees

Sports & Entertainment

Visionary Themes

Run Simple, Run Live

Montreal, Quebec

Customer Website

Line of Business
Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, Platform and Technology, Sales, Sourcing and Procurement

SAP Solutions
Concur, SAP Ariba Solutions, SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence (BI) solutions, SAP SuccessFactors

To pull it all together takes tremendous effort and coordination. Cirque du Soleil teamed up with SAP to manage data points from sales, marketing and business intelligence to HR management, finance, and procurement so everything fits under the same umbrella. Now, Cirque du Soleil can Run Simple with SAP.

Photo: Matt Beard Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt ©2012 Cirque du Soleil.

Customer Snapshot: History

From Humble Beginnings, a Visionary Experience

It all started in Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town near Quebec City, in Canada. There, in the early eighties, a band of colorful characters roamed the streets, striding on stilts, juggling, dancing, breathing fire, and playing music. They were Les Échassiers de Baie- Saint-Paul (the Baie-Saint-Paul Stiltwalkers), a street theatre group founded by Gilles Ste-Croix. Already, the townsfolk were impressed and intrigued by the young performers – who included one Guy Laliberté who became founder of Cirque du Soleil.

Photo: Martin Girard/ Costumes: Mérédith Caron © 2015 Cirque du Soleil.


The troupe went on to found Le Club des talons hauts (the High Heels Club), and then, in 1982, organized La Fête foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul, a cultural event in which street performers from all over met to exchange ideas and enliven the streets of the town for a few days. La Fête foraine was repeated in 1983 and 1984. Le Club des talons hauts attracted notice, and Guy Laliberté, Gilles Ste-Croix and their cronies began.

Cirque du Soleil shows transcend boundaries, speaking a universal human language.

In 1984, Quebec City was celebrating the 450th anniversary of Canada’s discovery by Jacques Cartier, and they needed a show that would carry the festivities out across the province. Guy Laliberté presented a proposal for a show called Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun), and succeeded in convincing the organizers. And Cirque du Soleil hasn’t stopped since!

Photo: Matt Beard Costumes: Mérédith Caron © 2014 Cirque du Soleil.

Customer Snapshot: Business Model

Dreaming the Unimaginable, Creating the Unexpected

For Cirque du Soleil, dreaming is an integral part of our philosophy: To take the adventure further, push our dreams further, and, above all, believe that our people are the engine of our enterprise. At Cirque du Soleil, we offer our artists and creators the freedom they need to imagine their most incredible dreams and bring them to life.

Photo: Matt Beard Costumes: Mérédith Caron © 2014 Cirque du Soleil.

The Costume Workshop at the International Headquarters in Montreal (is) filled with nearly 300 craftspeople and specialists in all kinds of fields who bring to life more than 14,000 costume elements for their shows around the world. The creation of a show involves the collaboration of a team which is composed of a Director of Creation, Writer-Director, Acrobatic Designer, Choreographer and designers of the costumes, lighting and sets.


There is more to Cirque du Soleil than what happens on stage.

>1,300 artists from >50 countries 
36% from sports, 33% from circus arts, 31% from performing arts

Customer Snapshot: Success Strategy


It’s All About the Show

Small-town street performances translate to global success.

The Challenge

Consolidating a Universe of Data Under One Umbrella

While Cirque du Soleil shows have appeared in over 50 different countries since they began, when it comes to doing business, the company wanted everyone speaking the same language and on the same page. They looked to SAP to help move their business forward, starting with consolidating information across 27 bank accounts in 26 countries, with 16,000 suppliers, 4,000 employees and 12 million tickets sold globally each year.

Photo: Matt Beard Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt ©2012 Cirque du Soleil.


There has to be a sound management and operational foundation firmly in place if the creativity is to have any chance to grow and flourish.— Charles Décarie, Chief Operating Officer, Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil excels in many areas, but for business software, they look to SAP.

Enter SAP

A Partnership for Growth

16 years ago, Cirque du Soleil evaluated SAP’s software to determine if it would be a good fit for the company. They realized that if growth was their aim, SAP’s business suite applications would help them achieve their goals. They began with an assortment of PC- based apps, Excel spreadsheets and financial systems and integrated them into one system with a singular vision: Run Simple.

Photo: Matt Beard Costumes: Mérédith Caron © 2014 Cirque du Soleil.


Balancing many moving parts is simpler in the cloud.

Enter SAP: The SAP Experience


It’s Not Just Dreams That Live in the Cloud (Big Data’s There, Too)

A Run Simple approach helps consolidate data sources and provide complete visibility.

SAP has reinvented the way we manage complex businesses. SAP may not be on stage everyday with our artists, but it plays an indispensable role in putting them there. It makes sense of our structure and divisions down to the last details.— Charles Décarie, Chief Operating Officer, Cirque du Soleil

Photo: Matt Beard Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt ©2012 Cirque du Soleil.

Better Business

Intelligence Drives Simplicity

With more robust Business Intelligence, the team has a centralized view of data from all of their ticket sales. This new data-centric approach empowers users with better data so they can make their own informed decisions.

Photo: Matt Beard Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt ©2012 Cirque du Soleil.


#1 entertainment rule: the show must go on!

The team expects to reduce closing time by 50% with SAP S/4 HANA Finance.

Better Business: Benefits

Mobile Data at Their Fingertips

The team is also benefiting from global mobility. Business Intelligence helps Cirque du Soleil get at one single version of the truth with everyone on every team speaking the same language. With more relevant current information at their fingertips, information can be disseminated to key shareholders to ultimately help deliver better audience experiences. Cirque du Soleil can now follow customers on their journey from seeing an ad to purchasing a ticket, seeing the show and talking about the show afterward.

Photo: Matt Beard Costumes: Mérédith Caron © 2014 Cirque du Soleil.


SAP Best Practices help speed up the procurement process.

Better Business: Run Simple

More than Just a Safety Net

Automated error-free processes free up employee time to be proactive rather than reactive to drive business forward.

Photo: Matt Beard Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt ©2012 Cirque du Soleil.


A single source of information provides a bird’s eye view to help Cirque du Soleil Run Simple.

Journey Ahead

No Need for a Crystal Ball: The Future is Clear

Consolidated data from all areas of the business behind the scenes and on stage will help Cirque du Soleil assess performance across all areas, manage resources and predict future needs and opportunities. With their new Best Practice systems in place Cirque du Soleil is poised to remain center stage across the globe for many more decades to come.

Photo: Matt Beard Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt ©2012 Cirque du Soleil.


The Cirque du Soleil vision of the future is a bright, colorful, innovative realm of infinite possibilities.

Matt Beard Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt ©2012 Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil, Cirque reinvente, Fascination and JOYA are trademarks owned by Cirque du Soleil and used under license.

All statistics and figures given were accurate as of February 2016, and subject to change.

© Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

 TORUK THE FIRST FLIGHT and JAMES CAMERON'S AVATAR are trademarks of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation


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