Software AG: Touching the Lives of Millions for Half a Century!


There is a software company that does things differently; not clamouring to be the latest headline, but quietly running the world with precision for 50 years. That is in itself unusual, how many software companies turn 50, and in robust health? And how many do it on their own terms, actively promoting independence and interoperability with software from any vendor, anywhere and deliberately promoting customer choice?



That is the Software AG way (Software Ltd. or Software Inc. in other words) and has been since the company was founded in Darmstadt, Germany (hence the precision software engineering) in 1969 – a garage start-up like, well, you know who.

You possibly have never heard of Software AG and its trademark never appears on your PC or laptop but you probably use their software today. For example, eight of the top 10 U.S. banks use Software AG – a significant slice of daily global financial transactions are supported by applications developed with the company’s software. And not just bank transactions but online payments, credit card transactions, private investments or if you have traded in pork bellies, then you have used Software AG.

Outside of finance, if you have ever flown in into the U.S., driven a car, taken a train, or a bus, gone to outer space or if that’s too ambitious, just used an escalator or driven to work in a tractor, Software AG eased your ride.

Actually if you’ve ever watched a movie while drinking a Cola, downloaded music or had a coffee on the way to work then you probably used Software AG. In the UK, your driving license (and probably your speeding fine too) is processed by Software AG, so is your UK visa request.

Or if you’ve used the global post or logistics network, berthed your ship in Rotterdam (well maybe), had a package delivered overnight for a birthday, sent freight through Hong Kong or Singapore without a problem then it was precise software engineering supporting precise global services, no matter how small or large the delivery.  

We could go on and on. But basically, if you are alive, you use Software AG on a daily basis.


Why the name Software AG?
In the sixties you bought the hardware, operating system and software applications from one company: IBM, ICL, Honeywell, Burroughs, Olivetti or Bull.Software AG was one of the first software only vendors hence the name and the spirit of independence. The idea caught on of course – there are uncountable software vendors today – and as for that list of sixties hardware enterprises!


Today, Software AG is the world’s largest independent integration software provider and has been giving enterprises the agility and flexibility to react quickly and economically to changing markets for nearly 30 years.

Every one of the companies, not quite, mentioned above have one thing in common. They have all built individual systems and applications that are at the core of their businesses. These are not off-the-shelf software solutions – these are unique applications that give each and every enterprise a unique competitive edge. If these applications do not run the business stops! As according to the Flight Operations Manager of ANA, the Japanese airline: “ANA cannot fly without (Software AG’s) webMethods.”

There is a second feature in common too – Independence. Software AG was founded on adaptability and independence – adaptability to customer requirements for the company’s software (see ADABAS panel next page) and  independence from vendor lock-in preserving customer choice.


Six Men in Garage?
Six young employees at the Firm AV (Institut für Angewandte established Software AG in Darmstadt in 1969. One of the founders is Dr. Peter Schnell, who goes on to become long-serving CEO of the company and today leads the Software AG Foundation.Software AG‘s first office outside of Germany was in the U.S. followed by Japan – the wolrd’s biggest I.T. markets. A lesson for a European startup today – follow the market!

Nearly all major enterprises use software from many vendors in different departments, running their operations, billing or sales. Enterprises must also interact with partners, suppliers and clients. They must reflect the latest regulations governing industry and finance and, if they have the capacity after all that, take into account outside events such as market trends and more immediately weather conditions, strikes or natural disasters.

All of these are built on what is called integration software. Just look at the dictionary definition of integration: “Noun: an act or instance of combining into an integral whole”. Integration software combines all enterprise IT, no matter which vendor produced it, into an integral whole. No more information or process or application silos or islands, no more fractures within the enterprise or government departments. Integration software is what makes a fractured enterprise whole.

Total software integration (applications, data & the cloud) is what gives full visibility of a business – not just historical, not just in real time but also predictive analysis capabilities to identify potential, unexpected machine or engine maintenance issues, or a full view of business operations that allow real-time estimates (based on facts not thumbs) of when a customer order can be processed while still talking to the customer.

Furthermore, integration must be neutral integration. Integration must connect applications from any vendor hosted anywhere, sensors from any manufacturer on any shop floor, up any mountain, down any valley. Integration must guarantee maximum customer choice and completely avoid customer lock-in to a single vendor. Without that the customer is dependent on the innovation cycles of their software suppliers and not their own.


The Software AG Foundation
The Software AG Foundation was founded in 1992 by the company co-founder Dr. h. c. Peter Schnell as an independent non-profit charitable organisation under civil law in Darmstadt, Germany. The foundation is not to be considered a corporate foundation, but rather a major shareholder of Software AG. It manages its own assets, totaling some one billion euros, and uses its earnings for the sole purpose of supporting charitable, independent sponsors in Europe and Brazil. Owning over a third of Software AG shares, the Software AG Foundation is also a key anchor investor, ensuring long-term independence and job security for Software AG.


For the business of tomorrow, independence to invest when and where and with whom they want is possibly the most important IT asset an enterprise can have in fast changing markets.

Today, Software AG is the world’s largest independent integration software provider and has been giving enterprises the agility and flexibility to react quickly and economically to changing markets for nearly 30 years.

And tomorrow? Independence to invest when and where and with whom they want is possibly the most important IT asset an enterprise can have in fast changing markets.

Integration software is fundamental to success in the Internet of Things world we now live in. The enterprise boundaries have moved from being solely on premise, to the cloud and from there to the (mobile) edge – wherever a company has an asset or digital sensor is now the boundary of that company.


The first product ADABAS
ADABAS – (adaptable database system) – is still probably the fastest, lowest TCO database on the market today. Starting as they continued, the database structure adapts to the customers data – no SQL tables here. Adabas has attained transaction speeds of over 1,183,000 commands per second. To put one million commands in perspective, if every spectator at all sixteen NFL games on a particular weekend were to simultaneously ask one bank, running one database, to send their account status to their cell phones, they would all receive simultaneous sub-second replies.

Extend that to include partners, clients and clients’ customers. Extend that further to include data from any third party source: weather, natural events or public opinion and the number of data sources that need to be integrated to provide a full business and operational picture of what is happening inside and outside the enterprise becomes clear.

Then think how this could be accomplished in a fractured enterprise?

This is where Software AG kicks-off its next 50 years – building on the collective experiences and knowledge of a half century of adaptable and independent software – to be the backbone for IoT platforms such as Bosch, Siemens, Deutsch Telekom, Vodafone, NTT in Japan (not quite the A-Z of countries worldwide but the A-U, Austria to UK, USA, UAE and Uruguay). And ADAMOS – an IoT platform from the manufacturing industry for the manufacturing industry, an industry mastering its own way into the digital world with a unique, collaborative digital business model.

A significant and increasing proportion of today’s new digital services are supported by Software AG. You won’t see the logo on your smartphone screen but…still touching your life and the lives of, well perhaps, billions.


Touching people’s lives
Medellin – The City of Eternal Spring creates economic growth supported by a modern, effective and flexible IT infrastructure!The Urban Land Institute has recognised Medellin as the world’s most innovative urban centre implementing innovative solutions to problems such as mobility and environmental sustainability.Medellin has also been recognised by the United Nations for the multiple transport options now offered to its citizens. Its new urban transport infrastructure has opened jobs and schools to the previously isolated communities living in outlaying mountainside areas with travel times for the majority of its citizens being cut from more than two hours to just a few minutes.Gabriel Werner Brandt, Director of Planning for Information Technology at the Municipality of Medellin: “In the government sector the transition to a digital enterprise must be staged and gradually introduced, maintaining focus on not just the needs of the citizen but also on state employees and acknowledging the political dimension.” “For this we needed a flexible IT infrastructure that can leverage the many investments we have made over the years. We needed an infrastructure that is easy and quick to implement and adapt, with a clear return on investment. Software AG provided that.”

Touching people’s lives – In Real Time
The Internet of Things (IoT) opens a multitude of new business opportunities that are only limited by your imagination.

It opens countless opportunities for streamlining and cost reduction but it is the game-changing new business opportunities that are the enormous pots of gold at the end of the rainbow and these need totally new digital business models. This is not the easiest thing to do unless some ingenious company comes along and takes care of all that for you with a plug-and-play solution that allows you to build a portfolio of new and better services for your clients. Simply plug in to an already analysed, real-time data stream and play with the results.

One such company is Octo. In their words, “it all starts with a very powerful sensor – a bit bigger than a mobile phone chip in your car.” This sensor takes information from the accelerator, the GPS, measures the car speed, where and when you drive, the movement and rolling of the car and context information such as the weather from Google maps.

Analysed in real-time in the cloud, break-downs, accidents and fraud can be identified and emergency services can be immediately notified, so can fleet management and insurance companies.

Over time, the behaviour of drivers or the time of the day the car is driven – in the rush hour or not – or the performance of the car itself, all result in an accurate driver risk profile. Vehicle telematics are sent to the insurance companies who can then accurately identify the individual driver risk and charge the appropriate premium. This is a real (time) win-win situation that also saves lives.


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