1972: Five former IBM employees – Hasso Plattner, Dietmar Hopp, Claus
Wellenreuther, Klaus Tschira, and Hans-Werner Hektor – launch a company called
SAP (Systems Analysis and Program Development). Their vision: to develop
standard application software for real-time business processing. Still a private
corporation, the company is headquartered in Weinheim, Germany, with its main
office in nearby Mannheim; however, the five company founders are most often
found at their customers’s computer centers, including ICI in Östringen. The
first software programs were written primarily at night and on weekends. At the
end of the first business year, SAP already had nine employees and a turnover
of DM 620,000.
1973: The first fnancial accounting software is completed, the RF system. This
forms the basis for the continuous development of other software components in
what came to be known as the R/1 system. New customers from the local region
implement SAP software, including the cigarette manufacturer Rothändle in Lahr
and the pharmaceutical company Knoll in Ludwigshafen. These new customer
use IBM computers and the DOS operating system.
1974: SAP demonstrates its flexibility for the first time. Within
eight weeks, the
RF system is converted from DOS to OS. There are already 40 companies on
the reference list.
1976: SAP GmbH Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung
(Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing) is set up as
sales and marketing firm. Five years later in 1981, the private corporation
established in 1972 (Systems Analysis and Program Development) dissolved, and
its rights are transferred to SAP GmbH, giving the company its current name
(Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing). SAP now has 25
employees and a turnover of DM 3.81 million.
1977: The company headquarters moves from Weinheim to Walldorf. For the first
time, SAP installs its system at customer sites outside Germany; two Austrian
companies decide to implement SAP software. The company is reorganized to
support active sales and distribution.
1979: SAP starts to use its first own server, a Siemens 7738. Previously, SAP
employees carried out all development in the data centers of regional companies,
such as ICI, Thermal, Knoll, Grünzwieg+Hartmann, and Freudenberg. SAP’s first
“development center” is still housed in rented space; however, work is already
underway on the first stage of construction for a company headquarters building.
Intensive work with IBM’s database and dialog control system provides the
impetus for a new approach to SAP software. SAP R/2 is brought into the world.
1980: SAP moves into the company’s first building on Max-Planck-Strasse in
Walldorf’s industrial park. The software development area and its 50 computers
are now finally under one roof. The new data processing infrastructure is also
built. The Siemens 7738, an IBM/370-148, is installed, although this is changed
to a higher performance 4341 later in the year. This IBM model has 4 MB of
memory. The palette of products is also increased. The RV order processing
software is added to the product range.
1982: SAP celebrates its 10th birthday. Its offices are already too small and
the first building extension is built in record time. Over 250 companies in
Germany, Austria, and Switzerland work with SAP software. Revenue reaches
approximately DM 24 million, and the company has 100 employees. One of the
company founders leaves the company.
1984: SAP takes on 48 new employees. This increase in personnel resources is
brought about in particular by the further development of SAP’s modules (RK,
PPS, and RP). SAP (International) AG is founded in Biel, Switzerland. The
intention is to deal with foreign markets from this base in Switzerland. SAP has
163 employees and revenues of DM 46 million.
1986: SAP founds its first country subsidiary in Austria. It also
opens its first
branch office in Ratingen, near Düsseldof, Germany. SAP increases its capital
stock from DM 500,000 to DM 5,000,000. The growing number of employees
leads to the creation of smaller organizational units headed by department
managers. A new financial regulation leads to a flood of orders: approximately
100 new orders are received for SAP’s asset accounting software. After three
years in development, SAP’s new human resources software is made available to
customers. The company makes its first appearance at the CeBIT software trade
fair in Hanover, Germany. Revenues reach the DM 100 million mark earlier than
1987: Work begins on SAP’s training center in Walldorf’s industrial
park. The first
SAP software congress in Karlsruhe is used as a platform for the exchange of
information between users and interested parties. The new generation of servers
from IBM means that SAP software is now available to midsize companies
(annual revenue from DM 30 million to 200 million). SAP Consulting is founded
to serve this customer sector. The standardization of software
an incentive for SAP to start developing a new generation of software: SAP R/3.
1988: SAP GmbH becomes SAP AG. In October, 1.2 million shares are listed
on the Frankfurt and Stuttgart stock exchanges. SAP’s international business
grows; country subsidiaries are established in Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and the
United States. The international training center is opened in
Walldorf. This also
incorporates a sport park for SAP’s 940 employees. Dow Chemicals becomes
SAP’s 1000th customer. To meet the requirements of specific industries, SAP
begins to develop RIVA, a billing and administration system for utilities.
1990: SAP stock reaches DM 85 million following the issue of preference shares.
The increased funds are used to finance increasing investments. DM 110 million
is made available for R&D, both for the further development of R/2 and the new
development of R/3. SAP now has over 1700 employees and its revenue exceeds
DM 500 million.
1991: SAP presents its R/3 system for the first time at the CeBIT in Hannover.
The product meets with overwhelming approval due to its client/server concept,
uniform appearance of graphical interfaces, consistent use of
and the ability to run on computers from different providers. Revenues and
employee numbers continue to rise. At the end of the year, SAP has 2685
employees in Germany and its 14 subsidiaries, and has revenues of DM 707
1992: After successful installation at selected pilot customers, SAP
R/3 is released
to the generalmarket. This heralds the start of a new stage in SAP’s
growth. As it
celebrates its 20th anniversary, SAP intensifies its partner strategy
with the expected high installation figures for R/3. Independent consulting
companies support customers during the installation of R/3.
1995: SAP in Germany increases its sales activities targeted at
by collaborating with system resellers. The American company Burger King, Inc.
is the 1000th Human Resources customer. Microsoft also begins to use SAP.
Shortly afterward, the German Manager-Magazin chooses SAP as its company
of the year. Deutsche Telekom AG implements R/3; it requires 30,000 R/3
workstations and represents the largest contract in the company’s history.
1996: SAP and Microsoft present a joint Internet strategy. Coca-Cola,
soft drinks manufacturer in the world, decides to implement SAP R/3. A number
of SAP customer events set new records. At the European SAPPHIRE ’96 in
Vienna, 4,300 customers and interested parties take the opportunity to gain
information about SAP’s products and strategies, and over 8,000
the American SAPPHIRE. SAP is named company of the year for the third time
1997: SAP celebrates its 25th anniversary. Among the guests at the official
celebration is the German Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl. SAP’s earnings
before taxes exceeds the DM billion border for the first time. Customers like
Daimler-Benz and General Motors decide to implement SAP R/3 and more then
two million users worldwide work with SAP products.
1998: Dietmar Hopp and Klaus Tschira, two of the founders of SAP, announce
their decision to leave the board of directors; both move into the supervisory
board. Dietmar Hopp takes over the presidency. Hasso Plattner and Henning
Kagermann are appointed as co-chairman of the board of directors. From August,
SAP shares can be bought on the New York Stock Exchange. More than 15,000
participants come to the 10th SAPPHIRE USA in Los Angeles, where the main
topic is “EnjoySAP.” In this year, worldwide, 6,500 new employees start at SAP –
an increase of 50% to the existing workforce.
1999: In May, Co-Chairman and CEO Hasso Plattner announces the mySAP.com
strategy, heralding the beginning of a new direction for the company and its
product range. mySAP.com connects e-commerce solutions with existing ERP
applications using up-to-date Web technology. In the same year, numerous
my SAP.com customers are won, among them Hewlett-Packard and the
pharmaceutical company Hoechst Marion Roussel. Almost 15% of the revenue of
EUR 5.1 billion is used for research and development.
2000: 10 million users, 36,000 installations, 1,000 partners, and 22 industry
solutions: SAP is the leading global provider of e-business software solutions
that integrate processes within and beyond company boundaries. SAP, with
headquarters in Walldorf, Germany, is the third largest independent software
provider worldwide. With the continuous extension of the product and services
portfolio, SAP changes from a component to a solution provider. Nestlé signs the
biggest contract in SAP history up to this point.
2001: The New Economy bubble has burst, but the trust in SAP and its solutions
is not broken, the revenue reaches EUR 7.3 billion. By taking over TopTier, SAP
extends its solution offering by company portals.
2002: While the success for SAP began with SAP R/2, in 1992 SAP R/3 was
responsible for the international breakthrough. The brand SAP represents high
quality enterprise software. Shai Agassi becomes member of the board
and becomes responsible for new technologies
2003: An era ends. Hasso Plattner, the last of the founders of SAP, leaves the
board of directors and is elected head of the supervisory board. In January, SAP
announces the solution concept behind mySAP Business Suite. In addition to the
name change from mySAP.com to mySAP Business Suite, SAP introduces a new
ERP solution: mySAP ERP. With SAP Labs China in Shanghai, SAP opens the
ninth development site outside Walldorf. Research centers in India,
France, Bulgaria, Canada, and the United States contribute expert IT knowledge
2004: Enterprise Services Architecture delivers the first version of SAP
NetWeaver 04. The resonance from the new integration and application platform
is overwhelming. By the end of 2004 the new product has more than 1000
customers. In total, more then 24,000 customers in over 120 countries run 84,000
installations of SAP Software. SAP announces the future of Enterprise Services
Architecture. It is planned that by mid-year all enterprise
applications of SAP will
be service-based and offer the customer the utmost flexibility.
Source: SAP20/01 Training.