SAP was founded in 1972 by five German engineers that worked for IBM in Mannheim, Germany. The company originally took the name SAP from the abbreviation for Systemanalyse und Programmenentwicklung (‘systems analysis and program development’ (German).
In the 1970’s, SAP initially struggled to sell the concept of a completely integrated software product that could be adapted for an exact fit in the running all of a company’s processes. However, by the 1990’s, SAP had grown from start-up obscurity to the business software applications vendor of choice for nine of the ten largest U.S. corporations, one-third of the Fortune 500, seven of the ten largest Business Week Global 1000, and 80% of the Fortune 100 companies in software, computers, peripherals, and semiconductors.
In 2001, SAP made the acquisition that would result in the company’s entry into the small business space. It purchased TopTier Software, an Israeli company specialising in portals, along with its sister company TopManage, which was a developer of small business software. TopManage’s product became SAP Business One.