One of the top-10 software vendors in Europe today, Software AG was founded in 1969 by a group of six young software engineers in Darmstadt, a German city with a long history of engineering innovation (Darmstadtium, the 110th element, was first created there and named after the town). The company’s first product Adabas (adaptable database), a revolutionary breakthrough in high-performance data management, was soon released and started. Today, it’s a 45-year success story. Indeed, the company is committed to innovate and support Adabas & Natural beyond 2050.

As in every enterprise operating in the world’s most dynamic industry, it wasn’t always plain sailing and, after a period of stagnation, the current CEO of Software AG, Karl-Heinz Streibich, was appointed in 2003 with a mandate to transform the company.

“Software AG was more or less a one-product company,” Karl-Heinz explains. “Adabas, as a non-SQL standard database (the global IT industry standard), had reached the limits of its growth and revenue was indeed shrinking. Therefore, we had to build a new portfolio, but one that was a logical extension for the existing customer base, so-called adjacent technology.”

The strategy that the CEO pursued was to develop a portfolio focused on the existing customer base, protecting their years of IT investments, and offering them access to the latest IT technology developments with minimum risk and disruption.

“When developing our new portfolio, we built on our years of mission-critical data management experience and independence from hardware and application vendors. We started with the integration of all our customers’ disparate systems—no matter what software company provided them, giving customers the ability to see across departmental boundaries and have a full picture of their operations. We then moved into business process management, optimising and streamlining business processes and, in the last five years, big data streaming analytics, allowing enterprises to digitise their entire value chain.