Our customers trust us again, says EMEA boss
Software firm SAP has revealed strong growth figures for the first quarter of 2010, with profit nearly doubling on the back of strong demand for its services division.
Revenue at the company was up 5% to €2.5bn while profit after tax came in at €387m, 97% up on last year’s figure of €196m. Figures included an 11% growth in revenue from software and a 12% jump in services revenue.
Speaking to CBR about the results, SAP’s president EMEA and India, Jose Duarte, said that the results signal an improvement in the economic situation, particularly in emerging markets. “A lot of analysts have said that we’ve been out of the recession since Q3 last year, but then you have situations like in Greece. The ‘unknown’ of the recession has gone away and some economies have definitely returned to growth. Europe is doing well but we’re still cautious.”
Another indication of the economic upturn is the size of the deals the firm is signing, according to Duarte. “One year ago we saw a brutal and dramatic shift in deals, as the big contracts were replaced by smaller deals. We’re now seeing customers discuss much bigger and much longer deals – which suggests they have confidence in the economy.”
Earlier this year SAP was rocked by the sudden departure of CEO Leo Apotheker, after which the company returned to a co-CEO system with Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe taking over. Their first job, they said, was to regain customer trust that had been lost over the maintenance hike issue – when the firm raised support fees to 22%.
Duarte said that these figures indicate the firm has won back the trust of its customers and that the new bosses have had a good impact at SAP. “The early signs are positive,” he said. “The headlines two months ago were pretty negative but now customers are voting with their wallets and that is a solid sign of trust in SAP.”
In other SAP news the firm has agreed to work closely with The SAP UK & Ireland User Group to help shape its future product roadmaps. The formation of the working group is a joint initiative between SAP and SUGEN (SAP User Group Executive Network). It aims to get customers involved at a much earlier stage of the product development cycle.
“Greater input into, and visibility of product roadmaps has been a long-standing wish for many of our members,” said George Mansfield, director with responsibility for SIG (Special Interest Groups) development, SAP UK & Ireland User Group. “This is a great milestone in SUGEN and the User Group’s relationship with SAP and clearly shows the renewed focus that the company has in listening to its customers and receiving greater input from them.”