History of SAP

A brief history of SAP: Founded by five former IBM employees in year 1972 as Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung (System Analysis and Program Development) with a vision of real-time data processing...

I have compiled the history of SAP here so that you can develop a perspective of the company. I have referred SAP website for writing this page.


SAP was founded by five former IBM employees in year 1972 as Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung (System Analysis and Program Development) with a vision of providing Standard Application software for real time data processing, as a private partnership firm in Weinheim, Germany. In the first year, it generated a revenue of DM 620,000.

In 1973, SAP launched its first Financial Accounting system "RF" on which other modules were developed later on and branded as "SAP R/1" in the coming years.

In 1976, it made a transition from private partnership to a limited liability company and became SAP Gmbh. As it was growing in number of customers, employees and product integration across business functions, SAP shifted its headquarters to Walldorf in 1977 and started operation outside Germany.

In 1979, SAP R/2 was launched and by 1981, it attained high degree of stability and derived its power from increased power of mainframes by that time.

In 1986, the first international subsidiary was opened in Austria. In 1988, it became a publicly traded company, SAP AG. In 1982, SAP introduced its new user-friendly interface for R/2. The company also kicked off various development projects – in production and other areas – with new tools, such as the ABAP/4 programming environment.

In 1991, the company showcased R/3 which received overwhelming response and it was set to penetrate the mid-sized companies segment. In 1992, following the successful implementation of pilot projects at select customers end, R/3 was introduced to the market and to leverage it introduced partner strategy allowing independent consulting companies to help the customers implement the system at their end.

In 1993, SAP crossed DM 1 billion-mark of revenue and employed more than 3600 people. In 1996, SAP went online which allowed their customers to connect their online applications to R/3. In the same year, Coca-Cola decided to implement SAP.

In 1997, SAP celebrated its 25th anniversary and touched a revenue of DM 6 billion out of which more than 80% was from outside Germany. In 1998, the company launched the EnjoySAP strategy which focused on better user experience and making the software easier to learn.

In year 1999, SAP announced the new strategy mySAP.com which combined the existing ERP applications with the e-commerce solutions incorporating the web-technology and in 2000, SAP became the world's leading provider of e-business software solutions. Despite the IT bubble burst in 2001, the company scored well with increased revenue.

In 2003, the mySAP.com strategy culminated into SAP Netweaver, an integration and application platform which enabled to design open and flexible business applications for end-to-end support to business processes whether they run on SAP or other systems.

In 2004, SAP brought Netweaver to the market and received a great response and more than a thousand customers went for it in the same year.

In 2008, SAP acquired Business Objects - a company in the space of business intelligence and adds its products to its portfolio. In 2010, SAP acquired Sybase in a major acquisition move, Sybase being the largest business software and service provider specializing in information management and mobile data use.In December, 2011, SAP announced buying SuccessFactors, the biggest maker of cloud software.
SAP's fierce competition with Oracle resulted in a major consolidation in ERP and business solutions market. Follow this link for History of SAP acquisitions.

At present SAP enjoys a customer-base of more than 176,000 worldwide. For year 2010, the reported revenue is Euro 12.5 billion and has a workforce of more than 54,000 employees. SAP has sales and development operations in more than 75 countries. That's the brief history of SAP's journey over almost four decades of existence and it’s still evolving !

Related LinksOfficial SAP Page on its History of Innovation

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