What is SAP?

SAP is one of the world’s leading producers of software for the management of business processes, developing solutions that enable effective data processing and information flow across organizations.

Founded in 1972, the company was initially called System Analysis Program Development (Systemanalyse Programmentwicklung), later abbreviated to SAP. Since then, it has grown from a small five-person startup to a multinational enterprise with more than 100,000 employees and over 440,000 customers in 180 countries. Its global headquarters is in Walldorf, Germany.

With its original SAP R/2 and SAP R/3 software, SAP established the standard for enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. SAP S/4HANA takes ERP to the next level by using the power of in-memory computing to process vast amounts of data and support advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

The company’s integrated applications connect all parts of a business into an intelligent suite on a digital platform. Today, SAP has more than 215 million cloud users, more than 100 solutions covering all business functions, and the largest cloud portfolio of any provider.

Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein lead the company as co-CEOs on the Executive Board of SAP SE. Morgan (48) is the first woman at the top of a company listed on the German Stock Index (DAX), and Klein (39), is the youngest CEO at a DAX enterprise.

*Numbers current as of March 2020, see current figures here.

What does SAP stand for?

The name is an acronym of the company’s original German name: Systemanalyse Programmentwicklung, which translates to System Analysis Program Development. Today the company’s legal corporate name is SAP SE — SE stands for societas Europaea, a public company registered in accordance with the European Union corporate law.

How do you pronounce SAP?

People often want to know “How do you say SAP?” Since it is an acronym, it is pronounced as individual letters (S-A-P). SAP is not pronounced as a word (“sap”).

A student typing “What is SAP?” into his smartphoneWhat is SAP software used for?

Traditional business models often involve decentralized data management, with each business function storing data about its operations in a separate database. This means that employees from other business functions cannot access the information, and duplication of data across multiple departments increases IT storage costs and the risk of data errors.

By centralizing data management, SAP software provides a single view of the truth that is used by multiple business functions. This helps companies better manage complex business processes involving different departments by giving employees access to real-time insights across the enterprise. As a result, businesses can accelerate workflows, improve operational efficiency, raise productivity, enhance customer experiences – and ultimately increase profits.

What is ERP software?

ERP stands for “enterprise resource planning.” ERP software includes programs all core business areas, such as procurement, production, materials management, sales, marketing, finance, and human resources (HR). SAP was one of the first companies to develop standard software for business solutions.

How does ERP software work?

With centralized ERP software, all employees make updates using the same data platform. They can also view data entered by other departments to complete tasks more efficiently.

For example, when receiving a call about a potential order, a sales team can immediately see whether there is enough stock and can quickly confirm the sale, providing efficient customer service. Once the order is placed, the ERP system automatically triggers a billing process in the finance department. It also automatically updates inventory information in real time.

Based on inventory levels, a production planning team can schedule the manufacture of new products so they can fulfill the order, with HR getting an immediate update on any additional resources that are required for this activity. Using the same inventory information, a procurement team can see if there are enough raw materials in stock to complete the planned manufacturing activity. If not, they can then source the materials in a timely manner.

By integrating processes across different business functions in this way, each team is updated about upcoming requirements as soon as possible, resulting in more efficient business processes and increased customer satisfaction.

Was SAP a startup?

SAP began with a small group of friends who had a big idea: a vision of a digitally connected enterprise. Dietmar Hopp, Klaus Tschira, Hans-Werner Hector, Hasso Plattner, and Claus Wellenreuther started the company as a private partnership in 1972 and launched the first commercial product a year later.

Since then, it has grown steadily to become one of the world’s largest technology companies by expanding its market and acquisitions worldwide, transforming from a small German startup company into a global leader in business software. However, it has never lost its pioneering spirit and ambition to create trailblazing solutions that change people’s lives for the better. Its founders and employees worked closely with customers – often sitting side-by-side with employees in customers’ offices to learn their business needs and processes. Learn more about the company’s history.

What does SAP do?

SAP helps companies and organizations of all sizes and industries run their businesses profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.

The company develops software solutions that are used by small businesses, midsize companies, and large corporations. With standard applications, industry solutions, platforms, and technologies, every business process can be mapped and designed. The software collects and processes data on one platform, from raw material purchasing to production and customer satisfaction. SAP solutions can be installed “on premise” at a user’s location(s) or used from the cloud, helping companies analyze and efficiently design the entire value chain. SAP solutions can also be used to create forecasts, such as when a machine needs to be repaired or how revenue will develop in the next half year.

In addition, SAP helps customers seamlessly link operational data on business processes with experience data on emotional factors such as purchase experience and customer feedback. This enables companies to better understand and respond to their customers.

What solutions are available?

SAP offers solutions across a wide range of areas:

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