Bloomberg News

SAP Chairman Plattner Courts Startups, Asian Customers

May 16, 2012

SAP AG (SAP) Chairman Hasso Plattner said the German software maker is stepping up efforts to court new business in Asia as well as from the startup community centered in Silicon Valley, California.

Plattner also said the company plans to announce a new addition to its six-member executive board in the coming month.

SAP executives are taking the stage at a conference in Orlando, Florida, to discuss the company’s High-Performance Analytics appliance, or Hana, which is designed to help analyze large amounts of data. The software maker is using Hana to woo new users -- from small companies in Northern California to larger businesses in China, Plattner said.

“It’s great to have contact with startups,” said Plattner, who is chairman of SAP’s supervisory board.

Hana’s “radically different approach” may let SAP use the software to compete with databases from Oracle Corp. (ORCL:US), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM:US), Plattner said.

Taulia Inc., a San Francisco startup, said it’s using Hana to broker discounting deals between buyers and suppliers. AlertEnterprise, which makes risk-management software for businesses, is also a customer, Plattner said.

Hana Customers

Chinese retailer Suning Appliance Co. and bottled water distributor Nongfu Spring Co. are running Hana installations.

SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, is also trying to make headway in cloud computing software while protecting its main business of selling software that helps companies manage operations.

SAP is competing with Oracle, the largest maker (ORCL:US) of database software, and smaller cloud-computing companies such as Salesforce.com, Workday Inc. and NetSuite Inc. (N:US), which have made inroads into its applications sales with programs that customers access over the Web, rather than install on their own computers.

In December, SAP bought online human-resources software maker SuccessFactors Inc. for $3.4 billion, and in April named the SuccessFactors CEO, Lars Dalgaard, to its executive board.

SAP this week announced a new cloud-computing division headed by Dalgaard with 5,000 people, and said it will ship new online payroll and sales software.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Ricadela in San Francisco at aricadela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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