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Thứ Ba, 11 tháng 2, 2014

SAP to Open Potsdam Hub as Billionaire Plattner Fosters Startups - Bloomberg

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SAP AG (SAP) will today open a development center outside Berlin, underscoring a commitment by the software maker’s billionaire founder Hasso Plattner to incubate new technology and foster young programmers.


The innovation center sits 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from the research institute that bears the SAP chairman and co-founder’s name. SAP plans to make it a key development hub and will potentially double its staff to 150 to work closely with technology startups, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named before the official opening.


Plattner, who turned 70 last month and will inaugurate the center today, remains involved in the software vendor he helped found 42 years ago as the company undertakes a tricky transition from programs for managing supply chains and financial systems installed on customers’ computer servers to newer cloud-computing applications delivered over the Internet.


SAP has already pushed back a profitability target because rented Web software costs less upfront than the programs it traditionally offered. It also requires a simpler user interface and the ability to develop products SAP can continually update online.


“Those two things have been traditionally difficult for SAP, but we have been putting a lot of energy into that recently,” Vishal Sikka, SAP’s chief technology officer and a board member, said in a recent interview.


Medicine, Sports


At the two-day event, Walldorf, Germany-based SAP plans to showcase how its software can be applied to new areas -- such as personalized medicine and sports statistics analysis -- that can help with the transition. Other speakers include Sikka, who heads development of the Hana database under Plattner’s tutelage, and co-Chief Executive Officer Bill McDermott.


The data-crunching Hana software -- an acronym for high-performance analytic appliance -- rapidly processes millions of database records ranging from business data to genome sequences found in cancer patients’ blood. The vast quantity of information amassed by businesses, governments and universities that requires powerful computers for storage and analysis is often referred to as big data.


SAP’s outspoken chairman, with a fortune of $10.6 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, has had a long-running professional feud with Oracle Corp. (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison. Plattner incubated Hana, which competes with Oracle, using a small group of developers near Berlin. Sales of Hana grew 61 percent last year to 633 million euros ($863 million), and are a bright spot amid slower growth for traditional software.


Biggest Shareholder


SAP’s total revenue in 2015 may reach 19.1 billion euros, according analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company had forecast 20 billion euros in sales for that year.


McDermott, an American who will take over as sole CEO in May, told investors in New York last week that SAP is dedicating more salespeople to online software. The shift to cloud computing would delay SAP’s goal of reaching an operating margin of 35 percent by two years to 2017.


Plattner, who is SAP’s biggest shareholder with a 10 percent stake, also plans to address how the new center in Potsdam can work more closely with the Hasso-Plattner Institute, an academic research body he has personally endowed.


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


To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net







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