What is SAP and Why exists SAP Just Because of IBM?


SAP is a German business software manufacturer that is in the top 10 of the largest software companies worldwide among Google, Microsoft, and IBM.

SAP has

  • 437,000+ customers in 180+ countries,
  • 98,600+ employees, and
  • 340+ products.

If you like to learn almost anything about SAP, then this article is for you.

Let us get right into it.


SAP in a Nutshell

SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing) is a German business software manufacturer that is one of the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software pioneers.

Get a quick start into SAP or check if you SAP basics are up to date: most important SAP full forms and the explanation of each.

Find a full-fledged list of SAP acronyms and their full forms here: SAP acronyms list.

SAP exists just because of IBM (International Business Machines Corporation).

Five former IBM employees founded SAP because IBM canceled a project the five employees worked on.

Furthermore, they and IBM could not agree about who will work with whom in the following project.

Therefore, the five IBM employees quit IBM and started SAP.

SAP started as a small software startup in Germany with one pilot customer and without any product yet.

SAP developed its first product on-site of its first customer, the German branch of the ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) Group.

SAP’s first product was a financial accounting software called RF (Real-Time Finance.

RF rapidly conquered the market in times of traditional business devices such as calculators and punch cards.

The latest SAP ERP version is called SAP S/4 (Business Suite 4) and runs on an in-memory database called SAP HANA ( High-Performance Analytic Appliance).

SAP made the way from

  • 1 pilot product to now 340+ products,
  • 1 pilot customer to now 437,000+ customers in 180+ countries, and
  • 5 founders to now 98,600+ employees.

Now SAP is the

  • market leader in the ERP applications market,
  • largest software company in Europe,
  • after Microsoft, the market leader for enterprise application software, and
  • 7th largest software company worldwide.

Today, 77%+ of the world’s transaction revenue comes in contact with an SAP system.

SAP’s History

SAP’s Causal Chain Starts (1906-1972)

One thing leads to another – this describes best the beginnings of SAP.

It all started with Xerox in 1906.

In 1906, Xerox started as the ‘The Haloid Photographic Company’ with the production of photographic paper and equipment.

In 1959, Xerox came to prominence through the introduction of the first plain paper photocopier.

Today, Xerox still produces and sells print products and services besides digital document goods as a global corporation in 160+ countries.

However, in 1969, Xerox acquired several companies and entered the computer manufacturing industry via the acquisition of SDS (Scientific Data Systems), which produced mainframe computers.

In 1971, Xerox exited the computer hardware manufacturing industry and asked IBM to migrate its SDS business systems to IBM technology.

At this point, five IBM engineers from Germany from the IBM AI department were working on a project for Xerox on an enterprise-wide system based on SDS technology.

The five men’s names are:

  1. Hans-Werner Hector,
  2. Dietmar Hopp,
  3. Hasso Plattner,
  4. Claus Wellenreuther, and
  5. Klaus Tschira.
The five founder of the business software manufacturer SAP.

IBM decided that the enterprise-wide system based on the SDS technology project would no longer be necessary due to that Xerox migrates from SDS to IBM technology.

Furthermore, IBM and the five AI engineers could not agree who will work with whom in the next project.

Therefore, the five IBM employees quit IBM and started their own company.

That turned out to be not the worst move.

SAP’s First Steps: from RF to R/1 (1972-1981)

Five former IBM employees have a vision of standard business software that processes data in real-time rather than overnight in punch card batches.

They found SAP and go from a single product in financial accounting (RF) to a modularized ERP system (R/1).

Find all about SAP’s ERP modules and components here: SAP’s ERP modules and components.


In June 1972, the five former IBM employees founded SAP, which first stands for ‘Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung’ in German and ‘System Analysis and Program Development’ in English.

SAP establishes its headquarters in Weinheim, Germany, and an office next to Mannheim, Germany.

SAP takes the initial form of a private partnership under the German Civil Code.

SAP’s vision is

  • a standard business application software
  • for real-time data processing.

Standard software means software that is not developed from the ground up explicit for one customer.

Standard software is not tailored but can be reused for different customers.

For example, Microsoft’s operating system Windows is a standard software because it is suited for almost anyone and runs on nearly every hardware.

In 1972, there did not exist any standard software for business processes.

Real-time data processing software means that the system processes data when the user asks it to rather than the next day as with punch cards.

In 1972, it was still common to use punch cards that allowed companies to store and access information by entering punch cards into computers.

Punch cards were processed in batches mostly overnight.

Punch cards were tabulated into instructions for computers and entered into the computer in batches because one punch card can hold only a tiny amount of information.

A punch card to store data.

SAP envisions instead of punch cards, an electronic database that receives and returns data live in real-time.

For example, when a user enters data into a system that works with punch cards, then the data gets firstly stored in the punch cards, and then the punch cards get processed by the system overnight.

When a user enters data into a system that works with an electronic database, then the data gets immediately processed by the database in real-time.

SAP’s first customer is a German subsidiary of the ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) in Östringen, Germany.

Östringen is next to Weinheim, SAP’s headquarters, and Mannheim, SAP’s office.

However, SAP’s five founders spend most of their time in the data center of the ICI in Östringen.

Two founders of the business software manufacturer SAP.

SAP develops in 9 months its first pilot product for the ICI.

A financial accounting system called RF (Real-Time Financial) which is a standard software and processes data in real-time.

The ‘R’ for real-time in RF stands for real-time data processing via an electronic database.

The ‘F’ for financial in RF stands for the business area of the system: financial accounting.

SAP’s ERP flagship product versions carry the R for real-time in its name until the release of SAP’s ECC (ERP Central Component) in 2004.

At the end of SAP’s first year in business, SAP has

  • 9 employees, and
  • ~$1,100,000 in revenue.


SAP completes its pilot product RF for the ICI.

RF runs on IBM servers and DOS/360 (Disk Operating System/360).

SAP uses RF as the cornerstone for additional software modules that are going to come such as

  • RM for material management, and
  • RP for human resource management.

Later SAP renames module bundle to R/1 (Real-Time 1 Tier).

R/1 becomes SAP’s first ERP system.

Besides the ICI, SAP acquires more customers in southwest Germany such as the

  • tobacco company Roth-Händle in Lahr, and
  • pharmaceutical company Knoll in Ludwigshafen.


SAP converts its RF from DOS/360 to OS/360 (Operating System/360) in 8 weeks to use more powerful IBM servers.

DOS/360 was an operating system for the less powerful IBM machines.

OS/360 was an operating system for the more powerful IBM System/360 servers.

SAP has 40 customers.


SAP releases besides its RF the RM (Real-Time Material) module.

SAP’s RF and RM form SAP’s R/1.

SAP’s RM is capable of handling a company’s

  • purchasing,
  • inventory management, and
  • invoice verification.

SAP vision becomes clear: to integrate all of a company’s applications into SAP’s software.


SAP founds the limited-liability company ‘SAP GmbH’ as a sales and support subsidiary to SAP’s private partnership.

SAP stands for ‘Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung’ in German or ‘System, Applications, and Products in Data Processing’ in English.

The SAP full form differs from SAP’s full form of its private partnership.

SAP’s private partnership full form is ‘Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung’ in German and ‘System Analysis and Program Development’ in English.

SAP has

  • 25 employees, and
  • ~$6,762,750 in revenue.


SAP does its first steps abroad: For the first time, SAP installs its software for customers outside of Germany.

SAP relocates its headquarters from Weinheim, Germany to nearby Walldorf, Germany – SAP’s headquarters is up until now in Walldorf.

Two companies in Austria implement SAP’s software.


SAP adds asset accounting to its RF module and, therefore, to its portfolio and completes the implementation of the new software at a pilot customer.

Furthermore, SAP develops a version in French of its RF for the French farm equipment manufacturer John Deere in an in-house project.


SAP’s software has never been in SAP’s possession but rather resided in the data centers of its customers.

Therefore, SAP starts to use its server: a Siemens 7738.

However, SAP locates its server in leased space but SAP begins at the same time the construction of a facility that becomes SAP’s own data center.

Due to an examination of IBM’s database and dialog control system, SAP rethinks its software and lays in the process the foundation for R/2 (Real-Time 2 Tier).

SAP’s R/2 Epoch (1980-1992)

SAP continues its success with the R/2 as the successor of the R/1.

SAP R/2 user interface start screen.

SAP goes in its R/2 era from

  • 100+ employees to 1,700+ employees, and
  • ~$42,573,600 in revenue to ~$887,500,000 in revenue.


SAP adds the module RV for sales and distribution to its portfolio.

SAP’s modules are now

  • RF,
  • RM, and
  • RV.

SAP moves from its former headquarters in Weinheim, Germany into its new headquarter in Walldorf, Germany.

In its new headquarters, SAP’s development area has 50 workplaces.

SAP upgrades its hardware with an IBM/370-148 additional to its Siemens 7738.

SAP replaces the IBM/370-148 in the same year with a more powerful IBM 4341.

The IBM 4341 has 4 MB main memory.


SAP adds the submodule RM-PPS for production planning and control to its portfolio.

SAP’s R/2 achieves a high level of stability.

SAP attends for the first time the IT (Information Technology) trade fair Systems in Munich, Germany.

The growing power of mainframe servers enables SAP to expand its customer base to 200+ companies.


SAP exists for 10 years.

One of SAP’s founder, Claus Wellenreuther, leaves SAP for health reasons.

Claus Wellenreuther receives compensation of ~$1,773,900.

In 1982, Claus Wellenreuther founds DCW Software as a specialist for ERP software for medium-sized companies.

In 2003, SAP acquires DCW Software.

SAP constructs an expansion of its headquarters to create more space for its workforce.

SAP has

  • 100+ employees,
  • ~$42,573,600 in revenue, and
  • 250+ customers from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.


Heraeus located in Hanau, Germany, is the first company that implements SAP’s RM-PPS (Produktionsplanungs- und Steuerungssystem in German) submodule for production planning and control.

SAP starts a third construction project to expand its headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, to create more space for its workforce.

SAP has

  • 125+ employees, and
  • ~$72,775,000 in revenue.


SAP continues to develop its modules, especially

  • RM-PPS for production planning and control,
  • RK for controlling, and
  • RP for human resources management.

SAP founds the SAP AG in Biel, Switzerland, as the starting point in markets abroad.

SAP has

  • 163 employees, and
  • ~$85,200,000 in revenue.


SAP establishes a quality assurance committee to help increase the stability of SAP’s software.

Five SAP employees move from SAP’s headquarter in Walldorf, Germany, to SAP’s new office in Biel, Switzerland, to support the SAP AG and therefore, SAP’s international strive.

SAP’s own data center gets an upgrade and features now

  • 3 IBM server, and
  • 1 Siemens server.

SAP’s data center has now a total of 64 MB main memory to develop and enhance SAP’s software.

SAP has

  • 250+ employees, and
  • ~$108,275,000 in revenue.


SAP adds the modules RP for human resources management to its portfolio after three years of development.

SAP opens its first international subsidiary in Wien, Austria.

Furthermore, SAP opens a branch office in Ratingen, Germany to strengthen its presence in western Germany’s Rhine-Ruhr region.

SAP attends for the first time the former world’s largest computer trade show CeBIT in Hanover, Germany.

SAP reorganizes its workforce of now 300+ employees in smaller organizational units led by department managers.

SAP increases tenfold its capital stock from ~$887,500 to ~$8,875,000.

New legislation in Germany requires governing balance sheets and generates 100+ new orders for SAP’s RK module for asset accounting.

Due to the batch of new orders, SAP almost doubles its revenue in comparison to the last year to ~$177,500,000.

SAP has

  • 300+ employees, and
  • ~$177,500,000 in revenue.


SAP starts to develop its R/3 (Real-Time 3 Tier) as the successor to its R/2.

SAP tries to establish norms in software production in regards to the upcoming client-server model through the development of the R/3.

SAP’s R/2 runs on mainframe computers and uses a two-tier architecture:

  1. client, and
  2. mainframe computer.

SAP’s R/3 uses a three-tier architecture:

  1. client,
  2. application server, and
  3. database.

One of the main advantages of the client-server model is that it is compatible with multiple platforms and operating systems, such as

  • Microsoft, or
  • Unix.

Therefore, the client-server model opens a whole new customer base.

SAP establishes SAP Consulting to support its customers.

SAP founds is first non-German-speaking subsidiary in the Netherlands.

Shortly after, SAP opens subsidiaries in

  • France,
  • Spain, and
  • Great Britain.

Furthermore, SAP opens offices in Germany in

  • Hamburg in the north of Germany, and
  • Munich in the south of Germany.

Plus, SAP expands its headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, with a fifth construction project and opens a training center.

A new IBM server generation enables medium-sized companies to use SAP software too.

SAP has

  • 500+ employees, and
  • ~$269,800,000 in revenue.


SAP starts to develop RIVA to meet the requirement of specific companies.

RIVA is a billing and administration software for utility companies such as energy companies.

SAP opens subsidiaries in

  • Denmark,
  • Italy,
  • the United States of America, and
  • Sweden.

In Walldorf, Germany, SAP opens its international training center.

SAP transforms into the SAP AG.

SAP increases its capital stock from ~$8,875,000) to ~$106,500,000.

SAP issues its initial public offering at a share price of ~$1331.25 for 1,200,000 shares listed on the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, and Stuttgart, Germany.

SAP welcomes its 1000th customer, which is Dow Chemicals located in the USA.

SAP has

  • 940+ employees, and
  • ~$434,875,000 in revenue.


SAP releases a new user interface for R/2.

SAP R/2 updated user interface.

SAP focuses on the development of its R/3.

SAP incorporates four Unix systems from different manufacturers into R/3’s development.

SAP invests ~$150,875,000 in research and development – ~33% of SAP’s revenue.

SAP’s data center has now servers from

  • DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation),
  • HP (Hewlett-Packard),
  • IBM, and
  • Siemens.

The data center has a total of 1,224 MB main memory.

The Manager Magazin names SAP ‘Company of the Year’ after SAP’s first year on the stock exchange.

SAP stages its first Sapphire in New Jersey, USA, as its first-ever North American user conference with 250+ attendees.

SAP has

  • 1,400+ employees, and
  • ~$656,750,000 in revenue,
  • offices in 15 countries.


SAP focuses on the development of R/2 and R/3.

SAP completes two prototype modules for the R/3:

  • financial accounting, and
  • materials management.

SAP increases its capital stock from ~$106,500,000 to ~$150,875,000 by issuing preference shares to finance its investments:

  • SAP invests ~$346,568,750 in research and development,
  • SAP invests ~$239,625,000 into the construction of a sales and development center next to its training center in Walldorf, Germany,
  • SAP acquires 50% of the German software company Steeb, and
  • SAP acquires the German software company CAS.

By acquiring Steeb and CAS, SAP increases its focus on medium-sized companies.

Due to the Germany reunification, SAP expands to East Germany in a joint venture together with

They call the company SRS and locate its headquarters in Dresden, Germany, which is in former Easter Germany located, and a branch office in Berlin, Germany.

SAP has

  • 1,700+ employees, and
  • ~$887,500,000 in revenue.


SAP presents parts of its R/3 at the IT trade fair CeBIT in Hannover, Germany.

SAP’s R/3 features a

  • client-server model,
  • uniform GUI (Graphical User Interface),
  • use of dedicated relational databases, and
  • support for various server types.

SAP’s R/3 suits as SAP’s R/2 large companies.

But SAP’s R/3 aims as well at

  • medium-sized companies,
  • large companies’ subsidiaries, and
  • large companies’ branch offices.

SAP starts cooperation with the largest Russian software company ZPS and begins to develop an R/2 Russian version.

SAP has

  • 2,700+ employees,
  • ~$1,255,102,500 in revenue,
  • 14 international subsidiaries, and
  • 2,200+ customers in 31 countries.

SAP’s R/3 Epoch (1992-1999)


SAP exists for 20 years.

SAP releases R/3 after successful installations with pilot customers.

Due to expected high demands for R/3, SAP partners with independent consulting firms that SAP calls ‘logo partners’.

Up until now, SAP maintains the strategy of partnering up with independent consulting firms to support its customers.

SAP increases its capital stock from ~$150,875,000 to ~$177,500,000 to be ready for acquisitions and holdings.

SAP opens its new sales and development center in Walldorf, Germany.

SAP generates ~50% of its revenue outside of Germany.

SAP has

  • 3,157 employees,
  • ~$1,475,025,000 in revenue, and
  • 15 international subsidiaries.


SAP starts cooperation with Microsoft to make R/3 runnable on Windows NT (New Technology).

SAP makes R/3 runnable on SUN hardware and therefore, on all RISC platforms.

Furthermore, SAP releases a Japanese R/3 version which features Kanji characters.

SAP starts the construction of a development center in Foster City, California, which gives SAP a location near Silicon Valley.

SAP has

  • 3,600+ employees,
  • ~$1,952,500,000 in revenue, and
  • 18 international subsidiaries.


SAP releases its R/3 for Windows NT – a Swiss company is the first customer.

SAP develops a retail version of its R/3.

By acquiring 52% of the Dacos Software GmbH, SAP aims to speed up the development of the R/3 retail version.

Dacos is a software provider for the retail industry.

IBM starts to use SAP’s R/3.

The contract volume between SAP and IBM is the largest in SAP’s history.

SAP starts marketing activities in China: SAP gives presentations in

  • Bejing,
  • Shanghai, and
  • Tianjin.

SAP opens its 19th international subsidiary in Mexico City, Mexico.

SAP has

  • 5,229 employees,
  • ~$3,195,000,000 in revenue, and
  • 19 international subsidiaries.


SAP likes to acquire more medium-sized companies and therefore, strengthens its marketing in this area via system resellers.

Burger King is the 1,000th company that uses SAP’s R/3 HRM module for human resource management.

Microsoft decides to use SAP’s R/3.

The Deutsche Telekom replaces IBM for the contract with the largest volume in SAP’s history: 30,000 SAP R/3 workstations.

Furthermore, the Deutsche Telekom collaborates with SAP to develop an R/3 industry solution for the telecommunications industry.

SAP gets added to the German DAX stock index.

As in 1989, the Manager Magazin once again names SAP ‘Company of the Year’.

SAP has

  • 7,000+ employees,
  • ~$4,792,500,000 in revenue.


SAP forms a joint internet strategy with Microsoft: Online applications can be connected to R/3 systems via open interfaces.

Furthermore, SAP’s R/3 runs now on IBM’s new AS/400.

Coca-Cola implements SAP’s R/3.

SAP’s Sapphire welcomes

  • 8,000+ attendees in the USA,
  • 5,000+ in Japan, and
  • 4,300+ in Europe.

The Sapphire is an SAP event that aims at its customers, where SAP announces major product changes and strategic directions.

As in 1989 and 1995, the Manager Magazin once again names SAP ‘Company of the Year’.

The European Federation of Journalists names SAP ‘Company of the Year’ as well.

SAP has

  • 9,202 employees, and
  • ~$6,567,500,000 in revenue.


SAP exists for 25 years.

SAP releases R/3 version 4.0.

Further large companies implement SAP’s R/3 such as

SAP’s co-founder Hans-Werner Hector leaves SAP due to financial arguments with SAP’s other co-founders.

SAP decides to enter the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) in the 3rd Quarter of 1998 to strengthen SAP’s presence in the USA as the most important market for IT.

81%+ of SAP’s revenue comes from outside of Germany.

SAP has

  • 13,000+ employees (~40% increase in comparison to the previous year),
  • ~$10,685,500,000 in revenue (~62% increase in comparison to the previous year),
  • 2,000,000+ users.


SAP starts the EnjoySAP initiative which focuses on SAP’s end-users and aims to make SAP’s software

  • easier to learn,
  • faster to work with, and
  • simpler to customize to customers’ requirements.

SAP welcomes 15,000+ attendees in Los Angeles, USA, to its 10th Sapphire.

Two of SAP’s founders resign from SAP’s Executive Board and join SAP’s Supervisory Board:

  • Dietmar Hopp, and
  • Klaus Tschira.

Dietmar Hopp becomes the chairman of the SAP’s Supervisory Board.

SAP’s Supervisory Board appoints SAP’s co-founder Hasso Plattner and Henning Kagermann to co-CEOs.

SAP gets listed on the NYSE.

SAP has

  • 19,000+ employees (~50% increase in comparison to the previous year), and
  • ~$7,632,500,000 in revenue.

SAP’s mySAP Advance (1999-2004)


SAP releases mySap.com.

mySAP.com combines SAP’s R/3 with e-commerce solutions on the basis of web technologies.

SAP’s first mySAP.com customers are

SAP invests ~15% of its revenue into research and development.

SAP has

  • 20,000+ employees, and
  • ~$9,052,500,000 in revenue.


SAP continues to expand its products and services portfolio and to further evolve from a software component vendor into a solution provider.

SAP enters the markets of

  • electronic marketplaces, and
  • corporate portals.

For this, SAP outsources its electronic marketplaces and corporate portals area to its SAP portals subsidiary and starts a partnership with Commerce One.

SAP is the world leader for e-business software solutions that integrate processes within and among companies.

Furthermore, SAP is the 3rd largest independent software company worldwide.

SAP has

  • 24,000+ employees in 50+ countries, and
  • ~$11,182,500,000 revenue (~23% increase in comparison to the previous year).


SAP further expands mySAP.com and its integration of various IT systems.

SAP adds several enterprise portals to its portfolio due to the acquisition of TopTier for ~$400,000,000.

TopTier is a leading enterprise portal vendor.

TopTier’s founder, Shai Agassi, takes over SAP’s enterprise portals business area.

The dot-com bubble bursts but SAP increases its revenue by 17% to ~$13,083,525,000.


SAP exists for 30 years.

SAP is the third-largest independent software provider worldwide.

SAP appoints two new members to the executive board:

  • TopTiers founder Shai Agassi responsible for new technologies, and
  • Léo Apotheker responsible for global sales.

SAP has 29,000+ employees.


SAP announces the SAP NetWeaver as the successor of mySAP.com and the mySAP technology.

Like mySAP.com and the underlying mySAP technology, the SAP NetWeaver is an application platform that provides end-to-end business processes regardless of if both systems are from SAP or one is from any other provider.

The SAP NetWeaver technology comes from TopTier that SAP acquired in 2001.

Hasso Plattner resigns from SAP’s Executive Board and joins SAP’s Supervisory Board as SAP’s last co-founder who leaves SAP’s management.

SAP opens an SAP Labs in China.

SAP Labs in China is the 9th development location located outside of SAP’s headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.

Now, SAP Labs are located in

  • Bulgaria,
  • Canada,
  • China,
  • France,
  • Germany,
  • India,
  • Israel,
  • Japan, and
  • USA.

SAP has 30,000+ employees of whom 17,000+ are located outside of Germany.

SAP’s ECC (2004-2011)


SAP releases the SAP NetWeaver and mySAP ERP.

1000+ customers acquire the SAP NetWeaver in 2004.

SAP endorses the enterprise service-oriented architecture and plans to make all of its applications service-oriented in the medium term.

A service-oriented architecture provides companies the most flexibility possible for their systems.

SAP announces to acquire the remaining shares of its consulting subsidiary SAP SI to merge SAP SI into SAP’s corporate group and therefore, to strengthen its strategic IT consulting and integration services.

Businesweek names Henning Kagermann, SAP’s CEO, one of the 25 best business managers in Europe and highlights his customer-oriented corporate philosophy.

SAP has

  • 84,000+ software installations, and
  • 24,000+ customers in 120+ countries


SAP acquires several smaller companies that provide solutions that enhance SAP’s portfolio.

Two of the acquired companies are the retail providers

  • Triversity, and
  • Khimetics.

SAP opens an SAP Labs in Budapest, Hungary.

SAP Labs in Hungary has 50+ developers and is the 10th development location located outside of SAP’s headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.

The German business magazine Capital names SAP Germany ‘Best employer of 2005’ in Germany among companies with 5,000 employees or more.

SAP has

  • 35,800+ employees, and
  • ~$9,435,000,000 revenue.


SAP releases SAP ECC (ERP Central Component).

SAP and Microsoft release Duet.

Duet is the first product of SAP’s and Microsoft’s cooperation in development, support, sales, and marketing.

Duet integrates SAP-supported business processes with Microsoft Office.

SAP and Microsoft sell 200,000+ Duet licenses in the first three months after Duet’s release.

Great place to work names SAP the winner in several countries:

  • Andina y del Caribe,
  • Austria,
  • Chile,
  • Germany,
  • Mexico, and
  • Region Sur.

The Indian Institute of Management Studies & Research names SAP Labs in India ‘Recruiting and Staffing Best in Class’ due to the innovative methods in workforce planning and management.

SAP’s Business One ERP solution for small and medium-sized companies gained its 10,000th customer.

SAP generates ~30% of its ~$3,441,000,000 software license revenue from companies with fewer than 2,500 employees.


SAP exists for 35 years.

SAP releases Business ByDesign.

SAP Business ByDesign is a Cloud ERP for small and medium-sized companies.

SAP acquires further companies to enhance its software portfolio:

Furthermore, SAP announces to acquire Business Objects that is an enterprise software company specialized in business intelligence applications.

Great Place to Work names SAP the third time ‘Germany’s Best Employer’ and gives SAP an additional prize for its comprehensive health management program.

SAP Labs India places 8th in India in a Great Place to Work’s rankings.

Léo Apotheker becomes SAP’s deputy CEO.

SAP founds an Executive Council that consists of corporate officers with responsibilities for market and product strategies and report to the Executive Board.

Shai Agassi resigns from SAP’s Executive Board.


As announced, SAP acquires Business Objects.

SAP expands its software portfolio through the acquisition of Business Objects and is now the market leader in

  • business software,
  • business intelligence, and
  • enterprise performance management.

SAP’s Supervisory Board appoints Léo Apotheker to co-CEO alongside Henning Kagermann.

Two longstanding members resign from SAP’s Executive Board:

SAP’s becomes three new members:

  • Ernie Gunst,
  • Jim Hagemann Snabe, and
  • Bill McDermott.

SAP commits to sustainable business practices and releases its first Sustainability Report and provides software to help companies to improve their track records and to achieve long-term sustainability.

Great Place to Work names SAP the fourth time ‘Germany’s Best Employer’ among companies with 5000+ employees and awards SAP in other countries:

  • Bulgaria,
  • China,
  • Denmark,
  • India,
  • Japan, and
  • Mexico.


SAP releases Business Suite 7.

SAP initiates personnel cutbacks and other cost-saving measures due to the global financial crisis.

Furthermore, SAP offers its customers special programs to help them to emerge from the crisis.

Henning Kagermann, co-CEO, resigns from SAP after 27 years.

Léo Apotheker becomes SAP’s sole CEO.

SAP has 47,800+ employees.


SAP acquires Sybase for ~$5,800,000,000.

Sybase is the largest business software and service provider for information management and mobile data use.

Through the acquisition of Sybase, SAP aims to enhance its portfolio with solutions for wireless companies.

SAP welcomes 50,000+ attendees to its Sapphire event where SAP presents its product strategy and innovations.

The main innovation is in-memory technology that will lead to a new epoche of real-time processing in business applications – the foundation of today’s SAP HANA.

SAP’s Supervisory Board names two new co-CEOs in addition to Léo Apotheker:

  • Jim Hagemann Snabe, and
  • Bill McDermott.

Two new members join SAP’s Executive Board:

  • Vishal Sikka, chief technology officer, and
  • Angelika Dammann, as the first woman on the Executive Board, takes responsibility for global human resources and labor relations.

SAP HANA & SAP Cloud Computing & SAP S/4 & SAP C/4


SAP releases the SAP HANA platform. SAP’s first product that uses SAP’s in-memory database HANA which SAP announced in 2010.

SAP HANA analyzes data in seconds rather than days or even weeks as a traditional disk storage mechanism database would need.

Furthermore, SAP releases mobile applications based on the technology of Sybase which SAP acquired in 2010.

SAP’s mobile applications open up the SAP world to users who are out in the field rather than in the office.

SAP acquires SuccessFactors for ~$2,775,000,000.

SuccessFactors is the leading provider of cloud-computing software as SaaS (Software as a Service) for human capital management.

SAP wants to grow in the steadily increasing cloud computing marketing.

SAP plans to expand in emerging market economies such as

  • Brazil,
  • India,
  • Russia, and
  • especially China.

Plus, SAP wants to invest ~$2,220,000,000 in the business software market for medium-sized companies.


SAP acquires Ariba for ~$4,300,000,000.

Ariba provides cloud-based procurement applications.

SAP plans to continue its investment in China.

SAP has 195,000+ customers.


SAP’s Business Suite migrates to SAP HANA.

SAP acquires hybris for ~$1,500,000,000.

Hybris provides several CRM (Customer Relationship Management) applications which SAP integrates into its product portfolio:

  • Hybris Cloud for Customer for Sales,
  • Hybris Cloud for Customer for Service, and
  • Hybris Commerce,
  • Hybris Marketing, and
  • Hybris Revenue or Billing.

SAP HANA generates ~$737,040,000 in revenue.

Since its release in 2011, SAP HANA has generated ~$1,332,000,000 in revenue.

SAP has ~$18,759,000,000 in revenue.


SAP further strengthen its cloud computing position through acquisitions:

SAP acquires

Fieldglass provides a cloud-based VMS (Vendor Management System) to manage services procurement and external workforce management programs.

Concur provides cloud-based travel and expense management services.

SAP acquires Concur for ~$7,387,000,000 what makes it the largest SaaS related acquisition ever.

SAP is the fastest-growing enterprise cloud computing company at scale and the largest cloud computing company in the world in terms of users:

70,000,000+ users using SAP cloud computing products.

Bill McDermott becomes SAP’s sole CEO after Jim Hagemann steps down as co-CEO and joins the Supervisory Board.

SAP changes its legal form from the German ‘AG’ (Stock Company) to the European ‘SE’ (Societas European).


SAP releases S/4 (Business Suite 4).

SAP S/4 is the successor of SAP’s ECC and therefore, SAP’s newest ERP version.

SAP S/4 is optimized for SAP HANA and overcomes ERP limitations of the past such as analytics and speed.

Furthermore, SAP S/4 incorporates the SAP Fiori UX (User experience) for a modern designed UI (User Interface) that runs on mobile devices as well.

Customers can deploy S/4 on-premise, in the cloud, or as a hybrid version of on-premise and cloud computing.

SAP releases the SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the IoT (Internet of Things).

SAP opens SAP Store.

The SAP Store simplifies the purchase of SAP products.

Now, Customers can buy from SAP via the SAP Store without the need for a

  • purchase order,
  • invoice, or
  • RFP (Request for Proposal) process.

Via the SAP Store, customers can immediately buy SAP products across multiple devices with the ease of a credit card.


SAP releases SAP Predictive Analytics.

SAP Predictive Analytics anticipates the likelihood of futures outcomes with

  • predictive algorithms, and
  • machine learning.

SAP acquires MeLLmo.

MeLLmo provides a business application called Roambi that transforms raw business data into interactive graphics.

Roambi is made for mobile devices on the iOS platform such as

  • iPads, and
  • iPhones.

Furthermore, Apple and SAP partner up to develop native iOS applications that utilize the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

The native iOS applications provide access to SAP S/4 HANA core data and business processes while are based on SAP Fiori design guidelines for iOS and utilize iOS features such as

  • Touch ID,
  • Location Services, and
  • and Notifications


SAP releases an expanded SAP Leonardo.

SAP Leonardo provides software and microservices that enable customers to use future-oriented technologies such as

  • Internet of Things,
  • machine learning,
  • blockchain,
  • analytics, and
  • Big Data.

SAP Leonardo powers

  • ready-made applications, like the SAP Service Ticketing, and
  • microservices and APIs, like the SAP Streaming Analytics microservice, that run on the SAP Cloud Platform to integrate SAP Leonardo capabilities into customer’s applications.

Google and SAP partner up to make SAP HANA available on Google’s public cloud platform.

The partnership between Google and SAP makes SAP HANA available on the three largest public cloud platforms:

Furthermore, Google and SAP plan to make the SAP Cloud Platform available on the Google Cloud Platform as well.

SAP commits to be carbon neutral in its operations by 2025.


SAP releases C/4 HANA.

C/4 HANA stands for the 4th generation of SAP’s CRM.

C/4 HANA is a suite of applications for CRM to help companies to serve and retain customers.

SAP’s former CRM versions had a sales-only focus but C/4 HANA is an integrated solution that provides CRM applications for

  • commerce,
  • customer data protection,
  • customer service,
  • marketing, and
  • sales.

SAP ties together and integrates applications for C/4 HANA from the acquisitions of

  • CallidusCloud (customer service),
  • Gigya (customer data protection), and
  • Hybris (commerce, marketing, and sales).

C/4 HANA integrates into SAP’s ERP application suite S/4 HANA and SAP’s other business applications.

SAP’s Growth in Figures

in progress

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