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Frequently Asked Questions


In 1972, five former IBM employees founded the company they call SAP Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung ("System Analysis and Program Development").Taking the initial form of a private partnership under the German Civil Code, the company establishes its headquarters in Weinheim, Germany, and opens an office in nearby Mannheim. However, SAP's five founders spend most of their time in the data centers of their first customers, which include the German branch of Imperial Chemical Industries in Östringen.

Further information can be found on the SAP History page.

"SAP" stands for Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing.

In the digital era, data is the “new currency” in an enterprise. Businesses that are able to harness their data faster and more effectively will be the ones that succeed through disruption.


As the world’s largest enterprise software company, SAP offers perspective on the massive scale and power of data. Our customers have a vast amount of enterprise data assets flowing through our SAP ERP and cloud applications and business networks every day. Our enterprise resource planning applications touch 77% of global transaction revenue, we run the world’s largest business network with over US$3.6 trillion in commerce annually, and we have over 200 million users of our cloud applications.


SAP software and technologies can deliver deep value to our customers by providing the tools to harness the power of the data flowing through their systems. Our vision for the intelligent enterprise is an event-driven, real-time business powered by intelligent applications and platforms. In this vision, enterprise data sits at the core of a virtuous cycle whereby:

  • Enterprises will combine proprietary data assets from their internal systems of record with real-time, external data feeds to train intelligent algorithms.
  • Intelligent algorithms will be embedded into core business processes to enable enterprises to increase their awareness of events and respond in real time.
  • As the cycle repeats itself, enterprises will produce even richer datasets based on business outcomes that can be used to train the next generation of increasingly intelligent algorithms.

By embedding intelligence in core processes, businesses of all sizes will benefit from the automation of routine tasks and improved decision-making driven by advanced analytics.


Combining intelligent algorithms with empowered employees will allow companies to free up scarce resources to focus on what matters most – driving value for their customers. In this way, we can fulfill our promise of enabling our customers to Run Simple, while helping the world run better and improving people’s lives.

The most recent update on our outlook and mid-term ambition can be found here.

Organic growth remains the primary driver of our strategy. We will continue to invest in our own product development and technology innovation, improving the speed, number of projects, and innovations brought to market. We will also continue to acquire targeted, strategic, and “fill-in” technology and software to add to our broad solution offerings and improve coverage in key strategic markets. By doing so, we will strive to best support our customers’ needs for simplified operations. Additional information can be obtained here.

Find more information about the SAP Executive Board here.

The change of legal form from a stock corporation under German law to a European Company was made to manifest SAP’s self-image as an international player with European roots. Presenting itself as a European Company thus reflects the importance of the Company’s European and international operations.

Our employee headcount is updated regularly in the Quarterly Statement

SAP offers its employees and managers various investment programs.


SAP’s purpose is to help the world run better and improve people's lives. We believe social, environmental, and economic activities and performance are interrelated – each impacting the others. Our efforts focus on creating a sustainable future for SAP, our customers, and society. For us, it is crucial to be a responsible business that holistically manages our performance and steers our business in an integrated way – connecting financial and non-financial performance. In this short video, our Chief Sustainability Officer explains SAP’s strategic approach to sustainability.

SAP addresses sustainability, including climate action, as one of our key focus areas through a dual approach. As an enabler, we aim to provide products and services to our customers to reduce their carbon emissions and pave the way toward a low-carbon future together. As an exemplar, to live up to our responsibility and build climate resilience, we strive to lead by example by running our own business operations and practices more sustainably.


To get insights into how SAP addresses climate change with our three-fold approach “avoid-reduce-compensate,” please read this SAP News article and see the SAP Integrated Report. SAP’s environmental efforts and targets are also outlined in the Global Environmental Policy.


For an overview of how SAP embeds sustainability in our solution portfolio, please visit our Web site.


Since 2018, SAP reports in alignment with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. The topic of climate change-related risks is addressed in the chapter "Energy and Emissions" of our Integrated Report.

In 2017, we set our leading environmental target of making our operations carbon neutral by 2025. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced a significant decrease in our carbon emissions. To consider this impact on our emissions, to uphold our role model position in sustainability, and to maintain our ambition level, we decided to accelerate our carbon-neutral target: we now aim to become carbon neutral in our own operations by 2023 – two years earlier than what we aimed for thus far. Further details can be found in the chapter Energy and Emissions of our Integrated Report. Our emissions reduction journey is visualized in our Interactive Chart Generator. Details on how we calculate our carbon footprint can be found here.

Yes. In 2017, SAP established our science-based target by committing to reduce the absolute GHG emissions of Scope 1, 2, and 3 by 40% by 2025, from a 2016 baseline. This target is an important milestone in reducing emissions up to 85% by 2050. SAP was one of seven global companies that established a 1.5°C-aligned reduction target and the first one in Germany. Please see the press release by UN Global Compact and the Science-Based Target initiative.

SAP is committed to protecting the environment and continuously improving our own environmental performance. Therefore, we are gradually introducing an EMS reflecting the ISO 14001 standard at SAP sites worldwide. An ISO 50001-certified energy management system is integrated with existing management systems at selected sites, such as SAP’s headquarters. View our ISO certificates here.

SAP aspires to a world of zero waste and is eager to move to an interconnected, circular economy through ambitious enabler and exemplar activities. As an example, in July 2019, SAP launched the initiative ‘Beyond Single-Use Plastics” to phase out single-use plastics in our own operations. In 2020, at the World Economic Forum, SAP joined the Global Plastic Action Partnership to create a cleaner ocean by 2030 and became part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to pave the way to a circular economy. Further details can be found on our Circular Economy Web site and our Integrated Report.

SAP published its first Integrated Report in 2013 (for the reporting year 2012). Since then, we release integrated reports every year under the consideration of the recommendations of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC). The Integrated Report combines our full-year financial, social, and environmental performance, allowing us to present a clear and holistic overview of what drives our company and our long-term success. With our dedication to transparency and belief in an integrated management approach, SAP remains the only software company disclosing sustainability performance in a holistic integrated report. The current SAP Integrated Report can be found at

At SAP, we put a monetary value on how selected non-financial indicators have impacted our operating profit. For example, how well we engage with our employees and inspire them to commit to our purpose and strategy, support a healthy business culture, and succeed in reducing our carbon emissions. The inextricable interlinkage of financial, social, and environmental indicators is visualized in our connectivity map and key to our overall company success. More details can be found in our Integrated Report.


Building on our experience in connecting financial and non-financial measures, we co-founded the Value Balancing Alliance (VBA) in 2019 to support the development of a standardized methodology that helps companies, investors, and other stakeholders understand and compare non-financial performance. These insights enable companies to create business value beyond revenue or profit growth while taking into consideration the long-term impacts of business operations on the environment and society as a whole. Further details on SAP’s journey on holistic steering and reporting can be found here.

SAP uses the following three key measures: Customer Net Promoter Score (NPS), Employee Engagement Index, and carbon impact. Outlook and results for the current year can be found in the SAP Integrated Report. Explanations of these measures can be found here.


In addition, SAP tracks further social and environmental indicators, such as women in management, employee retention, the Business Health Culture Index, energy consumption, and e-waste. Please review SAP’s interactive chart generator for employee and environmental data.

Since 2020, SAP’s executive short-term incentive (STI) compensation includes sustainability targets (sustainability KPIs) on top of our financial targets with a total weight of 20%. The sustainability KPIs are: Customer Net Promoter Score, which measures SAP’s customer loyalty; Employee Engagement Index, which measures SAP’s employee commitment, pride, and loyalty; and Carbon Impact, which measures SAP’s greenhouse gas emissions. See the SAP Integrated Report.

To select the topics to be included in our integrated reporting, we conducted a comprehensive materiality assessment in 2020, using an artificial intelligence and Big Data solution from Datamaran Limited that helped us build an evidence-based materiality matrix. For the first time, we assessed economic, social, and environmental topics in our reporting according to three criteria: importance to stakeholders; relevance to SAP’s business success; and magnitude of the impact on society, the environment, and the economy.

Have a look at our interactive materiality matrix or see our Integrated Report for further details. 

Yes, the social and environmental data and information included in SAP’s Integrated Report was prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards: Core option. Please see our latest GRI Content Index for further details. The GRI Content Index also reflects SAP’s Communication on Progress requested by the UN Global Compact. 

SAP has a code of business conduct for employees which includes, among other items, loyalty, bribery and corruption, and confidentiality. View the full policy here. Furthermore, we assess compliance risks, enforce policies, and facilitate reporting and remediation without retaliation. For more information, please see the chapter "Business Conduct" in the SAP Integrated Report and/or Ethics and Compliance at SAP on

We have implemented safeguards to help protect the fundamental rights of everyone whose data is processed by SAP, whether they are our customers, prospects, employees, or partners. In addition, we work toward compliance with all relevant legal requirements for data protection. You can find more information in the chapter "Security, Data Protection and Privacy" of the SAP Integrated Report, on SAP Trust Center, in SAP’s Data Protection and Privacy Policy, or in the SAP Privacy Statement.

SAP embraces the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and embedded the framework as a foundation to our strategic approach to sustainability. We use this framework to evaluate global progress – both for our roles as a role model and exemplar and as an enabler. Our contribution to the SDGs is a cross-company effort driven by experts from almost every board area and aligned through the internal SDG Network. Engagement with customers and other activities contributing to the SDGs are published in our continuously updated Web book “SAP and the UN Global Goals” and addressed in our Integrated Report, where we describe the potential positive and negative direct or indirect impacts of our company and of our products and services related to the SDGs. 

At SAP, upholding universal human rights is vital and we drive a cross-company human rights agenda. Details can be found in the chapter "Human Rights & Labor Standards" of our Integrated Report and SAP’s Human Rights Commitment Statement. We have also established 7 Guiding Principles for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to recognize the significant impact of AI on people, our customers, and society. More information on how SAP approaches AI can be found here.

About 35% of SAP’s institutional investors are classified as SRIs. Learn more in the SAP Integrated Report.

Yes, learn more about SAP's sustainability awards and recognitions here.

Yes, learn more about SAP’s Global Tax Principles here.

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