What Does the Acronym SAP Stand For in Business Terms?


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

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What SAP is
  • The history of SAP’s name
  • What SAP does
  • Lots more

So if you want to understand the acronym SAP in business terms, this article is for you.

Let’s begin!

Super Simple: SAP in a Nutshell

SAP is a HUGE European business software manufacturer.

The company was founded by five former IBM employees in Germany in 1972.

Today, SAP provides the world’s leading business software applications that manages the various processes within companies and across company boundaries.

The SAP definition is:

SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing) SE (Societas Europaea) is a European worldwide operating software company that makes software for the management of business processes suitable for companies of any size and industry.

SAP’s flagship products are applications to manage processes for ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). ERP can be divided into many subcategories such as SCM (Supply Chain Management), PLM (Product Line Mangement), and CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

The CRM market is the biggest subcategorie of ERP software in terms of market size and the fastest growing.

Let’s take a look at ERP and CRM:

SAP Makes ERP Software

An ERP application intertwines, manages, tracks, and analyzes what a company does in order to achieve its purpose.

77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system.


SAP’s portfolio includes ERP applications for large and medium-sized companies that are highly customizable, as well as less-customizable standard solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.

Additionally, SAP provides industry-specific ERP applications to support core processes in a variety of industries.

SAP provides out-of-the-box ERP modules for industries such as:

  • Aerospace and Defense
  • Automotive
  • Banking
  • Chemicals
  • Consumer Products
  • Defense and Security
  • Engineering, Construction & Operations
  • Healthcare
  • High Tech
  • Higher Education and Research
  • Industrial Machinery & Components
  • Insurance
  • Life Sciences
  • Media
  • Mill Products
  • Mining
  • Oil and Gas
  • Professional Services
  • Public Sector
  • Retail
  • Sports and Entertainment
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation & Logistics
  • Utilities
  • Wholesale Distribution

You find all SAP industry solutions and SAP ERP modules in this complete SAP ERP modules list.

SAP’s flagship product is the SAP ERP Business Suite, a bundle of interconnected business applications that cover almost any of a business’s processes to archive the purpose of the business itself such as asset management, controlling, and human resources.

The most recent version of SAP’s ERP Business Suite is called S/4HANA (Business Suite 4 High-Performance Analytical Appliance).

The ERP software market is forecasted to have a revenue of 96.74 billion U.S. dollars worldwide by the year 2023:

As the name S/4HANA suggests, the application bundle is based on the HANA (High-Performance Analytic Appliance) database technology developed by SAP.

HANA’s major feature is that data is no longer stored on the hard disk but fully in memory and is therefore available more quickly.

SAP is #1 in the ERP software market worldwide.

The CRM Market

Lately, SAP has heavily invested in the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) market.

SAP is #2 in the CRM market, after Salesforce, but is eager to become #1.

Worldwide Market Share of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software Vendors in 2017 and 2018

As the SAP CEO, Bill McDermott, said in 2018: “We’re going to turn up the jets, and we’re going after CRM with everything we have.”


Through acquisitions, SAP offers now various CRM cloud computing applications for:

  • Commerce (SAP Commerce Cloud)
  • Customer data protection (SAP Customer Data Cloud)
  • Customer service (SAP Service Cloud)
  • Marketing (SAP Marketing Cloud)
  • Sales (SAP Sales Cloud)

The CRM software market is forecasted to have a revenue of 40.26 billion U.S. dollars worldwide by the year 2023:

Along with its CRM cloud computing applications, SAP still offers an on-premise version of CRM applications with SAP S/4HANA for customer management.

Plus, there are still running a lot of SAP CRM 7.0 versions.

SAP CRM 7.0 runs on-premise and is the predecessor of SAP S/4HANA for customer management.

The Odd Naming History of SAP

When SAP was founded in Germany in 1972, SAP stood for “Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung.” That translates to “System Analysis and Program Development” in English.

When SAP was founded, it took the form of a private partnership (GbR) under the German Civil Code.

In 1976, SAP founded a limited liability company (GmbH) in accordance with German laws as a sales and support subsidiary to SAP’s private partnership.

This limited liability company was called SAP as well, but in this case, SAP stood for “Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung” or in English, “Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing.”

When SAP turned into a stock company (AG) in 1988, SAP continued to stand for “Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing.”

And it stuck with the same name when it transformed from a stock company to the European SE (Societas Europea) in 2014, and that has continued to the present day.

Therefore, SAP initially stood for “Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung” in German or in English, “System Analysis and Program Development.”

Now, SAP stands for “Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung” in German or in English, “Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing.”

So SAP Stands for in Business Terms

What does SAP stand for in business terms? It depends.

If you just mean the acronym, then SAP stands for “Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing.”

But if you want to know what SAP actually is, then SAP stands for a HUGE corporation that makes business software.

SAP is the 3rd largest company in the software and programming market worldwide:

And, if you want to know what SAP does, then SAP stands for a manufacturer of software to manage the various processes in a company.

Especially, ERP and CRM applications that companies use to intertwine, manage, track, and analyze all the business activities to achieve their goal as a company and to relate to their customers.

More Acronyms in the SAP Universe

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