Table: Plattner's Uphill Battles

SAP's Hasso Plattner has made significant progress in turning the company into a major player in e-business software. Now he must focus on linking engineers and clients and capturing new growth markets


With SAP's core financial and human-resources software market growing at less than 10% a year, Plattner must find new turf. SAP is off to a slow start in the exploding market for customer-management software, with just a 2% share. It's doing better in supplier management, where this year it's expected to have a 9% share and trail only i2 Technologies. PROGRESS: 30%


SAP has long been dominated by its engineering teams, which have been slow to change. So Plattner set up a handful of startups in the U.S. and Germany to stimulate innovation. He's also urging SAP engineers to respond to customer requests. Habits die hard, and Plattner's, too: He insists there's no need to throw out hard-to-use SAP software tools that customers have complained about. PROGRESS: 50%


SAP used to do everything itself. But after being late with e-commerce software, Plattner forged a key alliance with Commerce One last year that made SAP a player in e-marketplaces. This spring it joined with Yahoo! to create corporate portal software. Both alliances are promising, but SAP still has a long way to go to become a leader in these businesses. PROGRESS: 60%


SAP was late to the Internet, but toward the end of 1999, Plattner delivered, a version of the company's software for big corporate jobs that could be viewed via Web browsers. After a lag, the product took off, driving sales growth 29% last quarter. SAP will soon ship application-server software that will help corporations create e-business programs quickly. PROGRESS: 80%

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