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SAP reorganizes internally, bolsters development

SAP is shifting responsibilities of its top executives to conduct better oversight of its 10 research and development labs and better define its executive roles.

SAP is designating new management responsibilities for its top executives in an internal reorganization the software vendor said will reinforce its growth strategy.

SAP has a very strong management team in place, so they're really just trying to simplify and clarify their structure.
Paul Hamerman,
vice president of enterprise applicationsForrester Research Inc.

Executive board member Claus E. Heinrich, who was formerly in charge of SAP's industry-specific software with a focus on products for manufacturing industries, is now heading SAP's 10 research and development labs. His new responsibilities will include final production and delivery of SAP software and the internal security and IT organizations.

Heinrich will also continue as head of Global Human Resources.

Executive board members Peter Zencke and Shai Agassi also have newly defined roles.

Zencke will focus on application development of the Business Process Platform and new products based on the platform. Agassi will oversee further development of existing products, including SAP's NetWeaver integration and development platform.

In addition, Agassi is also responsible for overseeing SAP's industry-specific products and will be in charge of product and industry marketing.

Leo Apotheker, also an executive board member, will continue to oversee global sales. He will take on the responsibility of leading SAP's global marketing initiatives, a role previously handled by SAP CEO Henning Kagermann.

The changes are being made just a week after SAP announced the opening of its tenth research and development lab in Budapest, Hungary. The new lab will develop new supply chain management applications.

SAP is also making a broader push into the retail industry, announcing Monday it would purchase Retek, a best-of-breed retail industry software vendor, for $495 million in cash.

Related news:

Supply chain lab to open

SAP to acquire retail software vendor

SAP said the responsibilities are being shifted to better align the executive roles to its product research and development, rollout, marketing, training, consulting and sales activities.

The realignment doesn't pose any sweeping changes at SAP, said Paul Hamerman, vice president of enterprise applications at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. Instead, the changes bolster SAP's already strong executive board, Hamerman said.

"This doesn't signal any change to their industry strategy," Hamerman said. "SAP has a very strong management team in place, so they're really just trying to simplify and clarify their structure."

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