WALLDORF, Germany, April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Forty years ago to the day, SAP AG (NYSE: SAP), now the market leader in enterprise application software, was founded. What began as a five-man operation is now one of the world's largest independent software providers, an employer of more than 55,000 people in over 50 countries serving more than 183,000 customers worldwide. Today, three quarters of the Forbes 500 companies run SAP® software. SAP software powers 80 percent of the companies on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and 85 percent of the top 100 most valued brands in the world. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110126/AQ34470LOGO) "When we began in 1972, our vision was to build real-time business applications and we did so in close cooperation with our first customers," said Hasso Plattner, co-founder of SAP and chairman of the SAP Supervisory Board. "Today, SAP continues to be the trusted innovator it was then. We are driving intellectual renewal with breakthrough innovations like the SAP HANA platform for the next generation of real-time management of businesses anytime, anywhere, from any device. And we have also returned to our roots, working closely with customers to make the impossible possible." The story of SAP is one of innovation and continuous growth. Born of a single customer's demand and an entrepreneurial vision for technology's business potential, SAP began its path of transforming the world of IT. Five engineers — Hasso Plattner, Dietmar Hopp, Klaus Tschira, Hans-Werner Hector and Claus Wellenreuther — were driven by the desire to help companies run their businesses better, faster and more efficiently with standard software solutions. The founders' vision holds true and its potential continues to unfold. "SAP's success is based on our commitment to innovation and to our customers," said Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-CEO, SAP. "This commitment has enabled SAP to deliver leading business solutions to companies of any size and help them become best-run businesses. In a hyper-connected world with limited resources and more than 7 billion people, we are committed to leveraging this experience to help the world run better. We are proud that our software is helping to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide."