At SAP in France, a seed planted two decades ago has grown into a sturdy source of innovation with deep roots to a fertile ecosystem.

What started with six employees led to a team of engineers working out of a French supermarket, eventually evolving into 400 employees across three locations in France. Now, with offices in Sophia Antipolis, Caen, and Paris, SAP Labs France has established a unique profile within SAP and is proudly celebrating “20 years of innovation, progress, and excellence.”

The story of SAP Labs France started in the 1990s, when expansion measures were on the agenda of the SAP Executive Board. In search of the best software engineering talent worldwide, the board decided it needed to establish more development locations at the most promising tech innovation hotspots.

SAP Labs France is proudly celebrating 20 years of innovation, progress, and excellence.

Sophia Antipolis, a fast growing technology park in the South of France, was chosen as the first SAP Labs France site when it was set up in 1998 by Harald Stuckert (1953-2016). It was SAP’s third lab outside Germany, and its establishment marked the start of the unprecedented international growth of the SAP Labs Network.

Each SAP Lab location has a unique profile, contributing its strengths and talents to the greater whole, and SAP Labs France is no different. “After 20 years, our goal remains unchanged: to be a lab that can be counted on to meet the expectations of a changing and demanding world,” says Hanno Klausmeier, managing director of SAP Labs France.

Trusted Partner for Innovation in France

Although the lab is one of the Network’s smaller locations, it contributes its expertise on a global level in numerous ways, for example in strategic research areas such as security and trust, and industries like telecommunications and the public sector. Labs France is also largely responsible for the development of the SAP Solution Manager application management solution.

One of the tasks of a lab is to build strong relationships with the local community and ecosystem. SAP Labs France is proving that strong local roots also benefit global growth. For example, SAP Labs France is implementing several smart city projects with the city of Antibes that serve as lighthouse projects for data security. An IoT-based monitoring system keeps the city’s water distribution system operational and secure.

The close relationship between the lab locations and the public sector was also underscored during the official celebrations on June 14 in Sophia Antipolis and June 19 in Caen, which were attended by Jean Leonetti, mayor of Antibes and president of the Urban Community Sophia-Antipolis, and Joël Bruneau, mayor of Caen and president of the Urban Community Caen la Mer.

The anniversary event also included workshops on how to code with the Scratch learning platform, an introduction to synthesis technology by design thinking ambassadors and important facts about cybersecurity. Further activities were centered around topics such as SAP Business One, Charge-Angels (see “Leader in E-Mobility” below), cybersecurity, test automation in the cloud, gamification of machine learning, and cloud service security.

Any report about SAP Labs France would be remiss if it didn’t mention the majestic location in Sophia Antipolis, nestled in the hills between Nice and Antibes and minutes from the Mediterranean Sea. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful places to live and work in all of Europe, and employees there give it high marks for quality of life.

“Working in Sophia-Antipolis is very nice, and not only because of its idyllic environment,” says SAP colleague Laure Maida-Bigot, “Joining SAP Labs France was like joining a big family which always wishes you a warm welcome. The momentum at SAP Labs France is great, as well as the way it supports athletic activities and environmental protection.”

Leader in E-Mobility

Attendees of the 20th anniversary celebration heard about Charge-Angels, an application developed by employees Serge Fabiano and Gérald Seiler and influenced by SAP Labs France’s environmental emphasis. The application, based on SAP Cloud Platform, encourages the sharing of resources by showing current and cumulative power consumption, and available charging spots. SAP Labs France already operates the largest electric vehicle charging station on the French Riviera, with the overall goal of transforming the entire company car fleet to electric. In 2017, a French-German duo from Labs France participated at the eRallye Monte Carlo to promote the company’s growing e-vehicle fleet. Participation is also planned in 2018.