Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Peter Spielvogel

Bon Jovi and SAP – two global and agile brands

In planning my agenda for SAPPHIRE NOW, it occurred to me that Bon Jovi is the perfect choice for the celebration event. Why? Both SAP and Bon Jovi are decades-old global brands with millions of customers. And, both have had to adapt quickly to changing market conditions. Let’s examine the details.







Bon Jovi






Founded in 1972 by five entrepreneurs, formerly of IBM.



Founded in 1984 by five musicians from New Jersey.



Early success



Sold accounting software (eventually R/1) and reached 40 reference   customers within three years.



Second album went gold. Third album, Slippery When Wet (1986) sold   more than 12 million copies.



Global presence



Offices in 130 countries.



Played in 53 countries.



Market share



#1 or #2 in most markets served.



Consistent #1 albums and Top Ten hits over three decades



Customer count



253,500 customers.


Many customers have purchased more than one solution from SAP.


This includes millions of business users that rely on SAP to make   their businesses (and lives) run better.



Sold over 130 million albums. Performed more than 2,900 concerts for over   37.5 million fans. This number certainly includes counting customers more   than once.


(Disclosure: I have 20 Bon Jovi albums on my iPod.)



Customer demographics



Serves 25 distinct industries. Expanded beyond core IT customer base   into several major lines of business. Introduced new, intuitive products to   appeal to millennials.



Retained traditional fans from the late 1980s who grew up with the   band. Cultivated a new generation of fans in the early 2000s. Cross genre   collaborations expanded market. Now appealing to the children of the original   fans.






Successfully migrated from mainframe to client-server to Web. Now   delivering Cloud solutions and leading the industry towards in-memory computing. 


Constantly reinventing technology to remain relevant.



Started in “hair metal”, transitioned to mainstream rock. Has   produced rock anthems, ballads, pop hits, and even a country hit and numerous   collaborations with new bands.


Constantly reinventing sound to remain relevant.


The parallels go beyond the “organization.” Let’s look at the leadership. Both SAP’s Bill McDermott and Jon Bon Jovi share several characteristics.




Bill McDermott



Jon Bon Jovi



Humble roots



Started career running a deli



Son of two U.S. Marines



Strong work ethic (a bit of an understatement  in both cases)












Transition SAP to be the cloud company powered by SAP HANA



Remain relevant to the American and global music scene



Passion for what they do



Watch the keynote



Watch the concert



Leadership development



Rotates executives and actively cultivates young leaders



Encouraged band members to pursue solo projects to develop as artists



Bias towards (intelligent) risk taking, both personally and   professionally



Enters new markets, acquires companies in strategic industries, does   not back down from challenge



Started band, produced solo material, movie scores, acted in movies,   tries different sounds, owned arena football team



Dedicated to giving back to the community



Active in social causes in and around Philadelphia area, notably   Children’s Aid Society, but many others



Active in social causes in and around Philadelphia area, notably   Habitat for Humanity, but many others



Outside of work



Family, friends, sports



Family, friends, sports, music


Looking at the live and online attendance of SAPPHIRE NOW, and the number of keynotes CEO Bill McDermott has delivered, I think it’s safe for him too to state “I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve rocked them all.”

Looking forward to Wednesday night in Orlando. Hope to see you there.

Peter Spielvogel

Assigned Tags

      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Trond Stroemme
      Trond Stroemme

      Comparing Bon Jovi to SAP rings true, for better or worse. However, I could not help thinking of the following:

      - Usually a few steps behind the more innovative and agile actors spearheading their domains - prefers to catch up rather than invent...


      Author's profile photo Jelena Perfiljeva
      Jelena Perfiljeva

      Bon Jovi haven't had a major hit since 80s yet still can gather a full stadium of their old-time fans. So yeah, pretty much like SAP. 🙂