SAP and design? Not long ago, few would have thought to associate the two. That, however, is changing fast.

On September 22, representatives from SAP’s Design & Co-Innovation Center travelled to Singapore to accept a Red Dot award for Design Concept, marking the latest celebration in what is shaping up to be an historic year for the company.

To date, SAP has received 18 design recognitions from some of the most prestigious organizations in the world, including a total of five Red Dots and two recognitions from Fast Company’s Innovation by Design. Scroll down to learn more about the winning designs.

These awards were not easily won: only .8 percent of Red Dot submissions for the Communication Design category were selected as winners. SAP, however, has three separate winning projects in that category.

From a portal that allows citizens to better interact with their government and an app for tennis coaches, to a drag and drop prototyping tool and an application for Apple Watch that helps you stay on schedule, the diverse winning projects represent a pivotal moment that has been years in the making.

“With these awards, we significantly contribute to changing the perception about SAP UX and Design,” said Sam Yen, the company’s Chief Design Officer.

Yet it points to something even larger. As the role of design moves upstream, good design is no longer just a competitive advantage. Instead, designers are becoming the masters of a methodology the world is increasingly looking towards to help solve complex and varied problems. What’s more, enterprise technology is seeing renewed interest for its potential as a powerful, globe-shaping force.

Considering all of this, and the company’s impressive presence across industries, SAP is poised for an exciting, impactful future as it continues to evolve as a design leader.

SAP’s Design Journey

The recent ascent to design acclaim did not happen by accident. While always to a certain extent part of its DNA, the company really began embracing design in 2004 when co-founder Hasso Plattner became inspired after reading a Business Week article on design thinking. 

Design Journey

Sixteen years on, the company has steadily improved the user experience of its core products and delivered real business value through solutions like the Fiori interface. 

Beyond designing a suite of powerful, elegant off-the-shelf software products that help its 300,000 clients run simple, SAP is now creating cutting-edge custom solutions for clients by designing directly with clients. Just four years after its launch, the company’s internal design agency, the Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC), has completed over 500 of these projects – many of them award winning and many of them pushing the boundary of what SAP is traditionally known for. (see Tennis Analytics for Coaches and this project saving lives in the developing world.)

Having learned valuable lessons from the company’s own design journey, the DCC also consults clients who are going through their own digital transformations, helping to weave design into their organizational fabric and develop cultures that can sustainably innovate.

In this way, SAP is taking on a new role, scaling design-led innovation and, through the successes of its clients, helping to shape the future of the working world.

Enterprise is the New Black

The recent flood of awards is in large part thanks to SAP placing design and design thinking at the heart of the company. But, it may also be reflective of a broader trend: the re-popularization of enterprise technology.

It can be easy to forget that modern digital technology traces its roots back to enterprise. Over 50 years ago, companies like IBM began developing groundbreaking computer technology designed for the big corporate entities of the day. While these early business-facing tech pioneers were responsible for establishing the foundations upon which our digital ecosystem still rests, at the end of the 20th century a great shift towards consumer-facing technology brought digital technology and design to the masses, capturing the public consciousness in the process. Enterprise technology became a boring afterthought, and design in the space was seen as a costly luxury.

Yet, here we are again. As Yen recently put it, “Enterprise is the new black.”

The technology industry is once again enamored with enterprise technology, sensing the potential of improved “in-the-workplace” and “behind the scenes” solutions. What’s more, no longer neglected or ignored, big business is scrambling to develop design talent and incorporate design into their operations. Alternatively, many companies have opted to simply acquire design firms – a trend happening at an astounding rate.

This is great news for SAP. Considering the foundational role SAP’s clients play in an increasingly connected, high-tech society, the potential impact of well-designed enterprise technology is staggering.

Horizontal SAP facts

Embracing the growing spotlight, Yen recently said SAP’s goal is, “to be the leader in enterprise design in five years.”

However, considering the recent recognitions, that goal might already be well within reach. Taking it a step further, given the remarkable presence and positioning of its technology, it can be argued that SAP is on its way to becoming one of the most influential design entities in the world.

Design Takes a Seat at the Table

In the same way enterprise is a trending topic in the design world, design is all the rage in the enterprise world.

New technologies are disrupting entire industries and companies are finding it historically hard to stay ahead – or even stay afloat. As a way forward, more and more organizations around the world are embracing design and design thinking as a methodology and a mindset that can deliver real business value and lead to sustainable innovation.


“The world is increasingly looking to design as the best way to solve complicated and pressing issues,” says Janaki Kumar, Head of SAP’s Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC) in the Americas. “Designers are now asked to take a seat at the table to shape business strategy and leverage the medium of technology.”

Solidifying this position at the intersection of design, innovation, technology, and business, SAP is poised to thrive. The good news for everyone else is, when SAP thrives, so do those who use its technology.

Learn more about some of the winning designs below:


Fast Company’s Innovation by Design

BUILD is a comprehensive set of cloud-based design tools that enables anyone to create delightful SAP apps. Develop prototypes collaboratively with your project team, engage end-users for feedback, or jumpstart your designs with one of many prototype examples from the gallery – all while learning the design process. Learn more

Citizen-Centric State Government Portal

Red Dot, International Design Excellence Award (IDEA)

The US State Government Portal improves access to public information, increases transparency, and fosters citizen trust by serving as a one-stop-shop helping citizens find relevant information through an intuitive and elegant user experience. Learn more

SAP Consumer Insight 365

Red Dot

Consumer Insight 365 is cloud-based analytic platform powered by SAP HANA. By gathering millions of anonymous data points every day from mobile operators and organizing the information in a meaningful way, marketing professionals can now efficiently discover rich consumer insights and make well-informed business decisions. Learn more

Fiori Embedded Analytics

Red Dot

SAP Fiori Embedded Analytics is been designed to make real-time business insights available to users in all domains and roles during their everyday work. It builds on the strengths of the ground-breaking SAP HANA in-memory technology, allowing enterprises to see and influence their business as it happens. Learn more

Improving Cervical Cancer Screening

Design Management Institute Award

A solution that significantly accelerates and simplifies the cervical cancer screening process in fragile infrastructures. By significantly reducing the paper trail, valid test results are available faster. The solution also includes remote monitoring that can be done in real time. Learn more

SAP Perfect Meeting with Customers

Red Dot

SAP Perfect Meeting with Customers is an application for Apple Watch that helps sales reps prepare for, manage, and follow up with customer meetings. Now it’s easier than ever to anticipate customers’ business needs in a timely manner. Learn more



Scenes is a tool to quickly, collaboratively and iteratively create stories about products and services. It empowers business leaders and professionals of all industries to shape their ideas and scenarios in the form of fun illustrative storyboards without the need of refined drawing skills. Learn more

SAP Tennis Analytics for Coaches

Red Dot, Fast Company’s Innovation by Design, Core77, IxDA Interaction Award, Webby Award

SAP Tennis Analytics for Coaches is a tablet app powered by SAP HANA that gathers real-time data from ten on-court cameras and the score of the match, translating them into strategic insights that can be shared quickly and clearly. Learn more

For inquiries about any of the award winning projects or SAP UX and Design, please email:

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