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SAP and Oracle have both strongly expressed solidarity with Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the country.
Both were responding to a request for support from Mykhhailo Fedorov, vice-prime minister of Ukraine and minister of digital transformation.
Christian Klein, chief executive officer at SAP, has issued a statement that conveys strong support for Ukraine in the second full week of the attack by the military forces of the Russian Federation.
Klein said: “Like the rest of the world, we are watching the war in Ukraine with horror and condemn the invasion in the strongest possible terms. An act as inhumane and unjustified as this is an attack on democracy and humanity. Its consequences affect us all.”
He went on to declare the German business software company’s support for sanctions and announced the cessation of business activities in Russia.
“Economic sanctions against Russia are an important mechanism in the efforts to restore peace,” said Klein. “We are in constant exchange with governments around the world, have every confidence in their guidance, and fully support the actions taken so far. We are stopping business in Russia aligned with sanctions and, in addition, pausing all sales of SAP services and products in Russia.”
Such services and products play a significant role in the Russian economy, which has outsized strengths in oil and gas. According to the World Bank, its oil and gas revenues were up by 60% in the first nine months of 2021. And its banking sector, according to the same source, proved resilient through the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a 2018 Reuters analysis of SAP’s commercial performance in the Russian Federation, the country represented 2% of the company’s revenue at that time.
However, SAP was the “clear leader in the Russian business-planning software market, supplying 53 of the top 100 Russian companies by revenue”. And while, on the Reuters analysis, rivals Oracle, Microsoft and Google were losing enterprise software market share, SAP saw revenue at that time rise by “about a third to €468m”.
The Reuters journalists highlighted how SAP’s products were entrenched in running the biggest state firms in industries including energy, metals, transport and retail. “The German firm has invested heavily in the market, even sponsoring top-tier Saint Petersburg football club Zenit,” they added.
SAP has allocated €1m initially in humanitarian support for the people of Ukraine and said it was working with national Red Cross organisations, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and other organisations to offer technology to support their efforts.
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Although a global company, SAP is headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, a nation that has pivoted in its strategic orientation with respect to Russia in the past week. Western defence and security commentators have noted this shift, which has seen Germany, for the first time since the end of the Second World War, agree to the movement of lethal weapons to a conflict zone.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a general and dramatic shift in defence, security and foreign policy in the Bundestag on 1 March. Germany will now become the biggest defence spender in Europe by increasing its expenditure to 2% of GDP.
Klein’s statement continued: “We have also offered to convert our office space at locations across Europe into warehousing and accommodation for refugees.”
With respect to SAP employees, he said: “The safety and protection of our colleagues in the region is of the utmost importance. For those colleagues who chose to leave Ukraine, we are providing financial and logistical support to try to make this incredibly difficult step as easy as possible.”
The statement concluded: “The SAP family stands with everyone affected and horrified by the events in Ukraine. There are no winners in war, and we join others in calling for the restoration of peace.”
Oracle made a similar, brief statement on Twitter, saying: “On behalf of Oracle’s 150,000 employees around the world and in support of both the elected government of Ukraine and for the people of Ukraine, Oracle Corporation has already suspended all operations in the Russian Federation.”
According to Reuters, Oracle was not responding to requests to elaborate on the tweet.