In 1972, SAP was born – five former IBM employees in Germany had a dream to develop a standard ERP business application system. Their main goal was to be able to process business information in real-time. They set out on a path that would change not only the world of IT, but also the way companies do business forever.
In 2017, SAP S/4HANA was launched as the “intelligent ERP system of the new generation”. With more than 240 million cloud users, more than 100 solutions covering all business functions, and the largest cloud portfolio of any provider, SAP operates 65 data centres at 35 locations in 16 countries. SAP customers generate 87% of the total global commerce. 99 of the 100 largest global companies are SAP users, and 85 of the 100 largest global companies are SAP S/4HANA customers.
50 years after the original idea of SAP and more than 400,000 customers later, SAP is fuelled by the pioneering spirit that inspired its founders to continuously transform the IT industry.
Christian Klein became SAP’s sole CEO just as the 2020 pandemic hit. Taking on a new role at any time can be nerve-racking but imagine it when the world had turned into a place of uncertainty and fear. But against all odds, Christian Klein has transformed SAP into a high-growth and potentially powerful cloud powerhouse by shifting its focus from short-term deals to lasting customer success.
“Against all odds”, what does this mean? Let’s delve in shall we. With the pandemic in full flow, April 2020 had disrupted SAP’s business so much that SAP could not provide guidance on its future financial performance on its first quarter call. Although SAP had several cloud applications, it had not yet completed the integration of these different solutions into a single cloud platform. Arch-rivals Salesforce and Oracle were pouncing at the opportunity to portray SAP as unsteady, unfocused, and unable to make the leap to a cloud company. Several high-volume, low perception “experts” called for the dismissal of Christian Klien and blamed him for all the problems the company faced because of the pandemic.
Now let us fast forward 18 months and look at the figures, shall we?
SAP now offers the powerful combination of strong quarterly growth in cloud revenue and very impressive future booking growth. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, SAP reported that the current cloud backlog was up 32% to nearly $11 billion.
The RISE initiative has been released for just over a year now. So, what are the main objectives for this project? The three main objectives are to help customers create and implement new business models, help customers create intelligent and resilient supply networks and help customers improve their sustainability. Thus meaning, SAP are now offering different services and transforming their legacy business models.
There has also been a culture change within SAP, rather than just thinking about SAP-centric metrics, the new priorities for developers, salespeople, and go-to market teams are all focused entirely on business results and customer success.
It is plain to see that SAP is certainly on the up. After an arduous 2 years they have defied everything and ended 2021 on an absolute high proving their critics wrong!
2022 is just the beginning of this new way of working that SAP has implemented. It is certainly an exciting time for SAP as a company and for all the people who work for them. The future is bright, the future is SAP.
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