Skip to Content
Author's profile photo Juergen Mueller

A History of Innovation…to be Continued

“What do you associate with SAP?” This is a question I like to ask when I meet startups, customers and partners of various industries. It is not surprising that “ERP” is the first answer that comes to their minds. What does surprise me though is that many of them are not aware of SAP being a technology-provider with the power to help them transform their businesses to disrupt whole industries and that we ourselves pioneer software in new markets, for instance in personalized medicine. So here’s the story.

SAP’s vision is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. We enable our customers to operate at their best. We’ve done this for more than forty years, supporting them by solving their challenges and helping to run their mission-critical processes across all areas of business.

Since its foundation, innovation has been at the heart of SAP’s transformation of the IT industry. For us, innovation is more than developing software – it’s making breakthrough technologies and best practices that shape IT trends. We’ve helped businesses lead the change at every major inflection point in the global economy, helping customers through each transition in a non-disruptive way.

A Brief History of SAP’s Solutions

  • 1979: The data processing era gave customers a complete view of their business and improved their competitive advantage. SAP R/2 provided real-time processing of data across integrated modules for materials, procurement and accounting.
  • 1992: Globalization required companies to manage large, global enterprises. SAP R/3 gave companies a unified view of their business across an increasingly complex enterprise.
  • 1994: The Internet offered both opportunities and challenges. With SAP ERP Core Component (SAP ECC), SAP led the way in helping customers to take advantage of the Internet and expand the reach of unified information flows.
  • Today: Companies have to capitalize on vast quantities of real-time data, machine data, sensor data, and image data to create new customer experiences. This opportunity has enterprise solutions at its core, but goes far beyond traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP). SAP S/4HANA is at the core of this new set of solutions that rethinks the whole IT architecture across platform, applications and network, in the cloud and on premise.

SAP HANA: The Future of Business

At the heart of SAP S/4HANA is, as the name implies, SAP HANA. It’s our in-memory platform that combines transactional and analytical processing in one system, providing IT simplification, rapid transaction processing with real-time analytics, and an advanced development environment for SAP and custom-built applications. SAP HANA offers a choice of deployment models and partners, which translates into lower cost and faster innovation.

/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/bookcover_825795.pngThe story of SAP HANA began in 2006 when Prof. Dr. hc. mult. Hasso Plattner, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE and professor at the University of Potsdam, asked himself: If someone were to design an ERP system from scratch, what would it look like? He predicted that ERP systems could take advantage of main memory becoming cheaper and the ability to process data in parallel by instantaneously updating and analyzing data, practically achieving zero response time.

The rest is history – and the topic of the new book, The In-Memory Revolution by Hasso Plattner and Bernd Leukert. In Plattner’s own words, the book “should enable people in management to recognize the potential of S/4HANA and to feel confident to start projects, large and small, in the near future.”

The book gives readers a better understanding of what to expect for the future of business. It also demonstrates ways they can participate in evolving existing enterprise applications with SAP HANA. They’ll learn about the foundation of SAP HANA and its technical background, its business benefits, as well as the new enterprise business suite, SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (SAP S/4HANA), which was announced in February 2015.

With over 3,100 customers to date, SAP HANA has proven that it’s one of those rare and major technological advances with the power to transform businesses and disrupt whole industries.

While market adoption speaks for itself, readers can learn about use cases for SAP HANA in the book. Customer examples describe diverse implementations, and target readers from both business and technical backgrounds. Examples address both the application and the individual business process level.

Much More to Come

With SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA, we’re redefining how enterprise software creates value in a digital, networked economy – and the journey has only just begun. Research and development are the source of discoveries that will shape the future of SAP and its customers.


Many teams at SAP work passionately to improve existing products, provide topic-based research, and deliver short-term innovation. In addition, a dedicated global unit – the Innovation Center Network – pursues applied research and innovation in the fields of Personalized Medicine, Smart Cities, and Future Enterprise Applications. It provides a protected environment in which employees can explore new markets and disruptive technologies to deliver value-creating solution. 

One of the most prominent examples is the SAP Medical Research Insights solution that has recently been awarded in the “Germany – Land of Ideas” competition  and has been recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  Developed in partnership with the German National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg and various teams at SAP, this solution enables doctors and researchers to securely analyze clinical data to accelerate cancer research and match patients with the best clinical trials. It helps cancer centers and hospitals obtain meaningful data to improve the accuracy of cancer diagnoses and, ultimately, patient outcomes. SAP has long been active in the healthcare segment as a provider of ERP systems in hospitals. With the SAP Medical Research Insights solution, we’ve taken the first important step towards enabling Personalized Medicine – one of the future’s fundamentally changing trends in the medical field.

Are you curious to learn more about how we drive innovation? Stay tuned and join us online:

Assigned Tags

      1 Comment
      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Your entry into this article "“What do you associate with SAP?” is quite fundamental. Just recently I told a friend that I was surprised to see that SAP is engaged in so much more than just enterprise software, when I began last year.

      HANA is without a question a corner stone and forms the basis of many great things to come. But what else do you think is needed to be done right now, to achieve that solutions based on HANA go viral? I hate to draw the comparison, but I am talking about massive talk such as on Uber, regardless if good or bad. Such news leave a trace in the minds of people and I am confident, if we can achieve this very same thing with HANA, then we are no longer just an "ERP"-company.

      Looking forward for your comments on that.