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Author's profile photo Ulrike Fempel

Enterprise Open Source on the Rise

A great many enterprises are adopting cloud offerings based on cloud-native technologies, pushed by their digital transformation strategies. This technology shift is driven to a large degree by open source. As a cloud company, SAP also consumes and contributes to many open source components and is widely engaged with strategic open source projects and foundations.

Let me share some facts and figures about SAP’s open source engagement. In 2019, SAP was among the top 10 contributors to Kubernetes and Knative. Back in 2018, we initiated projects like Gardener for Kubernetes cluster management and Kyma as side-by-side extensibility platform. The Open Source Contributor Index, updated in September 2020, reflects that open source contributions from SAP employees are on a steady growth path. The chart below shows an increase of SAP contributors to open source projects by 30-40% YoY.

Fig.1: Contributions of SAP employees to open source, published by OSCI in Sept 2020.

Manage Enterprise Open Source at scale

Within SAP, an ever-growing number of teams and individuals are actively involved in open source topics and projects. As Open Source Program Office (OSPO), we ensure that this growth goes along with appropriate processes and tools for automation, tailored to the needs of our development teams and to SAP’s open source policy and strategy and our product standards. The overarching goal is to support our developers to contribute to open source and to consume open source with ease and in a secure way. The OSPO core team is tightly aligned with expert teams from all board areas by means of cross functional teams with different expertise, such as licenses, tools, security, legal affairs, etc. Together, we support our software engineers and development teams to engage in open source with minimal friction while at the same time mitigating potential risks related to open source.

In addition, we heavily count on a growing network of Open Source Champions, who are ambassadors of open source at SAP and act as multipliers for relevant open source topics in all of our world-wide development locations, supporting our ecosystem growth.

Collaboration – SAP’s open source ecosystem

The success of open source is all about collaboration and co-innovation, which is not limited to internal resources: We are proud of our large ecosystem consisting of customers, partners, and our participation in working groups and foundations such as the DSAG (German-speaking SAP User Group), the German Bitkom (Germany’s digital association), or the global TODO group. There are different ways of joining forces, such as working groups, sharing know-how at conferences, engaging in open source projects hosted by foundations (e.g., Eclipse Steady or Eclipse Dirigible) – just to name a few. SAP’s engagement with peers and external groups has been widely extended over the past two years. Besides, we actively work on creating more transparency about our open source engagements by sharing our learnings and open source projects more actively – through podcasts, twitter, blog posts, webinars, events, etc.

Finally, collaboration grows and flourishes with each individual developer’s contribution, whether they are SAP employees or from the external developer community, an academic student, or a software engineer working on an open source project. You find a selection of SAP initiated open source projects on our landing page and a full list of repositories on GitHub.

A healthy open source community with an open feedback and peer review culture fosters sharing of know-how and expertise and is the foundation for a continuous rise of the open source movement world-wide and at SAP. We believe that open source collaboration is the way forward and invite you to contribute and drive innovation together.


For more information, please refer to the following public content: 



The author, Ulrike Fempel, is part of the SAP Open Source Program Office since 2019.

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