Enterprise Software: A Belated Rush To The Net

Makers of software that run corporations have to play catch-up in becoming Web-worthy

January is a dark and misty month on Sylt, a German resort island in the North Sea. But gloomy Sylt seemed just the place last winter for the annual planning meeting of software giant SAP. The company grew smug in the mid-1990s on a steady diet of success, but now its revenue growth was leveling out at 20%, down from three times that during its heyday. SAP's proud leaders weren't about to give up on their core business: software to run a company's biggest jobs. But during intensive meetings in Co-chairman Hasso Plattner's thatched-roof house, they searched for ways to get their revenues revving again. The answer came from Kevin McKay, CEO of SAP America Inc. "He told us there was no way he would make his sales numbers unless the company shifted and embraced the Internet," says Plattner.

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