In 1972, five former IBM employees — Dietmar Hopp, Hans-Werner Hector, Hasso Plattner, Klaus Tschira, and Claus Wellenreuther — launch a company called Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing in Mannheim, Germany. Their vision: to develop standard application software for real-time business processing.
One year later, the first financial accounting software is complete, forming the basis for the continuous development of other software components in what later came to be known as the “R/1 system.” “R” stands for real-time data processing.
By the end of the decade, intensive examination of SAP’s IBM database and dialog control system leads to the birth of SAP R/2.
SAP moves into the company’s first building on Max-Planck-Strasse in an industrial park in Walldorf, near Heidelberg. Our software development area and its 50 terminals are all now under one roof. Fifty of the 100 largest German industrial firms are already SAP customers.
The SAP R/2 system attains the high level of stability of the previous generation of programs. Keeping in mind its multinational customers, SAP designs SAP R/2 to handle different languages and currencies. With this and other innovations in SAP R/2, SAP sees rapid growth.
By the middle of the decade, SAP founds its first sales organization outside Germany, in Austria. The company makes its first appearance at the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover, Germany. Revenues reach DM 100 million (around $52 million), earlier than expected.
In August 1988, SAP GmbH becomes SAP AG. Starting on November 4, 1.2 million shares are listed on the Frankfurt and Stuttgart stock exchanges.
Germany’s renowned business journal, manager magazine, names SAP its Company of the Year — a distinction we would receive twice more in the next few years.
With the founding of subsidiaries in Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and the United States, SAP’s international expansion takes a leap forward. © 2007 SAP