Analyst Coverage: David Norfolk and Daniel Howard
SAP is a multinational software company that offers end-to-end enterprise application software, databases, analytics, intelligent technologies, and experience management, and boasts over 440,000 customers in more than 180 countries. It offers database software in the form of SAP HANA, as well as solutions in the business intelligence, CRM and ERP spaces, among others.
The company was founded by five German software engineers (Dietmar Hopp, Klaus Tschira, Hans-Werner Hector, Hasso Plattner, and Claus Wellenreuther), originaly from IBM, in June 1972, as a private partnership under the German Civil Code. In 1976, “SAP GmbH” was founded. In August 1988, SAP GmbH transferred into SAP AG and was publicly traded later that year on the Frankfurt and Stuutgart stock exchanges. In 1995, SAP was included in the German stock index DAX and in 2003 SAP was included in the Dow Jones STOXX 50.
SAP’s first commercial product, SAP R/1, was launched in 1973. It offered a common system for multiple business tasks, allowing the use of centralised data storage, thus improving the maintenance of the data. In 1979, SAP launched SAP R/2, expanding the capabilities of the system to other areas, such as material management and production planning. SAP R/3 (its flagship product) was released in 1992.
During the middle 90’s SAP moved to support client server architecture with R/3. SAP developed an underpinning infrastructure. SAP Netweaver, first released in 2004, and is marketed as a service-oriented application and integration platform, providing the development and runtime environment for SAP applications. It is built using primarily the ABAP programming language, but also uses C, C++, and Java EE.
In 2008, SAP acquired Business Objects and added its BI products to its portfolio. In 2010, SAP acquired Sybase in a major acquisition move, adding its own database capability and a strong mobile solution (it then found that it had acquired even more useful technology with Sybase than it had expected). In December 2011, SAP AG agreed to buy SuccessFactors Inc. thus increasing its competitiveness in the cloud computing market. In May 2012, SAP AG announced acquisition of Ariba Inc., with its Business Commerce Network.