SAP Cutting 300 U.S. Employees

German software maker SAP AG will lay off about 7 percent of its U.S. work force and trim its focus to 12 vertical markets, from 21.

Finally succumbing to U.S. economic pressures, European enterprise software maker SAP AG will lay off about 7 percent of its U.S. work force.

Approximately 300 employees from various divisions will be released by the end of the year, as officials here scramble to realign SAPs U.S. focus for 2002.

SAP, of Walldorf, Germany, develops ERP (enterprise resource planning) and e-business software for 21 vertical markets. In honing its revenue growth strategy for 2002, SAP will pare its U.S. vertical focus to 12 vertical markets, according to officials at U.S. headquarters in Newtown Square, Pa.

Likewise, while SAP will continue to focus globally on the Five Pillars of software development outlined earlier this year; the U.S. business arm, headed by Wolfgang Kemna, will focus on developing software for three specific areas: ERP, SCM (supply chain management) and CRM (customer relationship management).

The five pillars SAP has highlighted in the past include ERP, SCM, CRM, e-markets and portals.

The decision to hone SAPs U.S. sales, marketing and development focus will not affect customers, according to officials. Products in all areas, as well as SAPs e-business suite, will continue to be available.

"The shift in the U.S. is where we see opportunities for the best return," said SAP America spokesman James Dever. "These are decisions based for growth and profitability in 2002, and what we know about the market, and what we can reasonably anticipate for 2002. We believe hopefully there will be a resurgence and allow us to continue to be a model of growth and expansion."

The layoffs will not affect SAP Markets or SAP Portals U.S. divisions, according to Dever.