SAP Celebrates 40 Years of Innovation

Four decades later, SAP continues to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.

JohannesburgForty years ago to the day, SAP AG, now the market leader in enterprise application software, was founded. What began as a five-man operation is now one of the world’s largest independent software providers, an employer of more than 55 000 people in over 50 countries serving more than 183 000 customers worldwide.

Today, three quarters of the Forbes 500 companies run SAP software. SAP software powers 80% of the companies on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and 85% of the top 100 most valued brands in the world.

“When we began in 1972, our vision was to build real-time business applications, and we did so in close co-operation with our first customers,” said Hasso Plattner, co-founder of SAP and chairman of the SAP Supervisory Board.

“Today, SAP continues to be the trusted innovator it was then. We are driving intellectual renewal with breakthrough innovations like the SAP HANA platform for the next generation of real-time management of businesses anytime anywhere from any device. And we have also returned to our roots, working closely with customers to make the impossible possible.”

The story of SAP is one of innovation and continuous growth. Born of a single customer’s demand and an entrepreneurial vision for technology’s business potential, SAP began its path of transforming the world of IT. Five engineers — Hasso Plattner, Dietmar Hopp, Klaus Tschira, Hans-Werner Hector and Claus Wellenreuther — were driven by the desire to help companies run their businesses better, faster and more efficiently with standard software solutions. The founders’ vision holds true and its potential continues to unfold.

“SAP’s success is based on our commitment to innovation and to our customers,” said Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-CEO, SAP. “This commitment has enabled SAP to deliver leading business solutions to companies of any size and help them become best-run businesses. In a hyper-connected world with limited resources and more than 7 billion people, we are committed to leveraging this experience to help the world run better. We are proud that our software is helping to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide.”

“SAP is still fuelled by the pioneering spirit that inspired our founders: We remain focused on the success of our customers. They are at the heart of our ambition to transform the industry,” said Bill McDermott, co-CEO, SAP. “With our bold commitment to innovation without disruption, we are uniquely positioned to help organisations run like never before. The passion of SAP employees to win has brought amazing momentum back to the company. Our best-ever financial results, the strategic acquisitions of Sybase and SuccessFactors, our long-term investment in China and the highest share price since 2000 are a testament to our strategic direction, our customer orientation and our world-class employees.”

“SAP has been best known for its traditional strength in ERP and core business processes. In recent times we have expanded into new market areas like mobile, in-memory and cloud, which have provided SAP with the ability to address a multiplicity of business challenges facing customers of all sizes. As we expand into Africa, we expect to leverage five market categories namely applications, analytics, mobile, cloud as well as database and technology, to propel our growth trajectory and enable our customers to run like never before,” said Pfungwa Serima, Managing Director, SAP Africa.


As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back-office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organisations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 176 000 customers (includes customers from the acquisition of Sybase) to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

Editorial contacts

Sunil Geness
(+27) 11 235 6459
Ogilvy Public Relations South Africa
Mbali Zulu
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