SAP's history in a glance
SAP AG was founded in 1972 by five former IBM engineers in Mannheim, Germany with the vision of creating a standard application software for real-time data processing.
SAP’s first financial accounting system is completed in 1973 paving the way towards the system that will be called SAP R/1.
This system will allow customers to handle their purchasing, inventory management and invoice verification in one integrated system.
In 1976 SAP declared itself a GmbH corporation (Limited-liability Company) and by 1977 it relocated its headquarters from Weinheim to nearby Walldorf (Germany).
The following years SAP will continue improving its application software and in 1981 the next version called SAP R/2 achieves a high level of stability which will lead SAP to expand its customer base to approximately 200 companies inside and outside of Germany.
At the end of 1985 SAP generates DM 61 million and employs more than 250 people. In 1987 when SAP AG begins developing its next version SAP R/3, it is already generating between DM 30 million and DM 200 million.
SAP transforms to a publicly traded company in 1988 while generating annual revenues of DM 245 million. It also celebrates its 1000th customer (Dow Chemicals). SAP confirms its global presence by opening offices in Denmark, Italy, Sweden and the United States.
In 1991 the company generates over DM 700 million in revenue with 2700 members and 14 international subsidiaries and more than 2,200 customers in 31 different countries. SAP brings its new version SAP R/3 to the general public in 1992 and 1 year later it partners with Microsoft to port this new version to Windows NT. SAP will continue growing during the following years reaching a workforce of nearly 13,000 employees in 1997 and generating over DM 6 billion.
SAP co-CEO Hasso Plattner announces a new strategy for the company in 1999. This is the launch of mySAP.com and consists in the combination of e-commerce solutions with the existing applications within SAP R/3. In 2000 SAP becomes the world’s leading provider of e-business software solutions for the integration of processes within a company.
In 2004 SAP introduces its first version of SAP Netweaver. This will be a major success as more than 1000 customers will acquire this new product at the end of the same year. One year later SAP is generating a total revenue of $ 8.5 Billion with more than 35,800 employees all around the world.
2006 marks the launch of SAP ERP which constitutes the foundation of SAP’s industry solutions. SAP is also generating a lot of revenue from the midmarket with its corresponding solutions SAP All-in-One and SAP Business One.
In 2008 SAP completes the acquisition of Business Objects and positions itself as the market leader in business software, enterprise performance management, and business intelligence. In 2010 SAP announces its plans to purchase the largest business software and service provider specializing exclusively in information management and mobile data use. This company is Sybase.
In 2011 SAP launches a revolutionary product called SAP HANA, the first in-memory product that enables businesses to analyze data in seconds rather than days or weeks. This product has been further improved during the following years and in 2015 SAP announced the launch of SAP Business Suite for SAP HANA a new product fully built on the advanced in-memory platform.
Today SAP continues to focus on innovation and new market trends with new products focusing on Mobility, Cloud computing and In-memory technology combining this with more than 40 years of experience across industries.