SAP co-CEO: Israel R&D center on the front line

Jim Hagemann Snabe told "Globes" that SAP's Israel R&D center is where new ideas are turned into technology.

In an exclusive interview with "Globes", SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe spoke about the importance of innovation at every possible opportunity and how it is reflected in SAP's R&D centers throughout the world. Israel hosts one of SAP's most veteran centers, which employs 750 people and is managed by Miki Steiner. SAP Labs Israel was established after SAP acquired Top Tier in 2001 for $400 million. Shai Agassi joined SAP as a result, and the NetWeaver software became the software's development infrastructure for SAP solutions.

Over the last decade, with Agassi in a senior position at SAP and maintaining his vision in the company, the Israeli R&D center found itself in a strategic position as a result of the importance of NetWeaver, which was developed mainly in Israel. After Agassi left in 2007, NetWeaver was integrated into SAP systems, and the Israeli center needed to find itself a new niche.

"The strategic significance of the Israeli R&D center has not been damaged," Snabe said. "It has turned into a sort of front line where new ideas are tested out and turned into technology, and it is succeeding well." This description includes central aspects in the company's strategy, such as cloud computing infrastructure and data bases. SAP has been involved in eight acquisitions in Israel over the years.

In at least some of the instances, solutions that were developed in Israel were adopted by other divisions in the company, which then pushed for more development and business promotion, which might have hampered the center from growing. Snabe said, "We take the technology that is developed in Israel and try to turn it into something that we can leverage for sales worldwide. In my view, the fact that not everything that is developed in Israel stays there is actually a sign of strength."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on November 16, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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