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SAP transformation program a ‘euphemism’ for job cuts

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A SAP transformation program has been slammed by the European Works Council as a mask for making job cuts.

In an email surfaced by German media, the council argued the transformation program – which The Register reported would affect 8,000 roles – was mainly designed to reduce costs. At the time, the German software giant claimed the roles affected were to be covered by voluntary leave programs and internal reskilling, but did not say how many job cuts it planned to make.

In the email reported by news outlet Handelsblatt, the council asserted that SAP’s management “did not adequately justify the business logic and did not provide accurate information about inefficiencies.”

The program – named “Next Level Transformation” – was a euphemism for workforce reductions, it argued.

According to the newspaper report, the restructuring program will see 2,600 jobs lost in SAP German operations.

In a statement, SAP replied: “In January, [we] announced a company-wide restructuring program to prioritize strategic growth areas, including business AI. We are committed to carrying out this restructuring, which will impact 8,000 positions, with care and empathy. This includes offering internal alternatives and voluntary programs, as well as working closely with our social partners in relevant regions.”

The spokesperson revealed that the majority of employees would be informed about how their roles would be affected in the coming weeks. “SAP intends to complete the reorganization process worldwide by the end of Q1 2025. SAP will continue to invest in key growth areas and intends to end 2024 with steady headcount levels,” they added.

As well as introducing the corporate restructure in January, SAP launched an incentive package to encourage users to adopt its cloud transformation programs: RISE with SAP and GROW with SAP.

The ERP giant – which boasts customers including Walmart, Disney, and Airbus – put “financial incentives” on the table to help every customer move to the cloud and “maintain the pace and level of innovation that cloud enables.”

SAP claimed at the time that the “limited-time offer … may reduce the cost of migration up to 50 percent and shorten the time to value.” ®

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