SAP Lays Off Undisclosed Number of Workers

SAP laid off an undisclosed number of employees last week as part of its previously announced plan to trim 3,000 jobs, a company spokesman confirmed Monday.

SAP laid off an undisclosed number of employees last week as part of its previously announced plan to trim 3,000 jobs, a company spokesman confirmed Monday.

The enterprise software giant had recently said it hoped to lower its headcount to 48,500 by taking "full advantage of attrition," but apparently that tactic alone has not been enough.

Comments on the cuts began to surface in recent days on the social messaging service Twitter, with one poster reporting that layoffs were made at SAP's Palo Alto, California, lab.

"The cuts were not directed at any one particular discipline or area of our business," said SAP spokesman Andy Kendzie. "It was really across the board."

Kendzie declined to provide details on the jobs affected.

Citing the "challenging economy," Kendzie added that beyond layoffs, SAP has been cutting costs such as travel expenses.

One laid-off SAP worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said SAP's move "wasn't unexpected, given how slow business has been. Everybody's been sitting around for a few months waiting for the other shoe to drop."

The ex-employee was a solution engineer at SAP, supporting sales account executives in the US by performing product demonstrations and needs analyses for customers.

The worker asked that information about the software area he specialized in be withheld from publication. But sales activity overall in his division had been slow of late, according to the worker, an indication that SAP customers are reluctant to buy new software licenses amid the recession.

SAP has indeed been cracking down hard on line items like travel, pushing employees to instead meet with customers through Web conferencing software, the worker said.

But SAP's management layer remains thick, and the company also may have overly bloated its employee ranks during flusher times, according to the worker: "When they hired people, they were hiring people in droves. That scared me."

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