On Feb. 7, Deepak Chopra showed up at the Silicon Valley offices of German software giant SAP, causing quite a stir. Hundreds of people packed SAP’s cafeteria and an overflow room to listen to the New Age guru. Chopra, wearing a black suit with red sneakers, advised workers to sleep more, eat right, and meditate on their place in the world. And, if anyone needed help, Chopra recommended his line of consciousness-altering Dream Weaver glasses. “I got the idea for these during my first LSD experience at the age of 17,” Chopra told the SAP employees.
This is not your typical SAP event. The company is known as a very important—yet very sedate—producer of software that helps its 230,000 customers manage operations, including inventory, payroll, and finance. Over the years, its complex applications have earned the unfavorable reputation of being pricey and taking months to install. “People haven’t seen them as being all that innovative,” says China Martens, an analyst with Forrester Research.