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Taking an in-house system to a software powerhouse: SAP

When five IBM engineers began working on a project to build an in-house IT system in 1971, they could not have known they were laying the foundations for the world’s largest provider of enterprise application software.

Having officially separated from IBM in 1972, the company now known as SAP embarked on a period of rapid growth and acquisitions, adding punch card systems and mainframe programs for payroll and accounting to its service portfolio.

Today, the five-person team has expanded to over 100,000 in more than 180 countries, making it the world’s largest non-American software company. SAP now offers over 100 cloud solutions, including ERP, cloud-engineered systems, human capital management, customer relationship management, product lifecycle management, and supply chain management to over 24,000 partner companies and 280 million users.

This incredible solution portfolio, along with 55 data centres in 15 countries, makes SAP one of the largest and most comprehensive cloud vendors on the planet.

Its global client base is just as impressive, generating 87% of total global commerce ($46 trillion). It also counts 99 of the world’s top 100 largest companies and 97 of the world’s top 100 greenest companies as customers.

SAP leads the way in innovation, too. With 100 development centres worldwide, the company invests 20% of its revenues into research and development, oversees more than 50 transformational AI use cases, and invests billions in emerging and disruptive startups.

Unsurprisingly, the company’s industry-leading performance has been recognised on numerous occasions. SAP is featured among the Forbes Most Valuable Brands list and Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies rankings. It has also won numerous awards for its innovation, workplace and software solutions.

The company’s financials often take the headlines, too, with annual revenues closing in on the USD 35bn mark.

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