M&A, Business Models and Ecosystems in the Software Industry


b. 1986, HK.


Current Position

Dr. Karl Michael Popp is Chief Solution Expert and senior director of mergers and acquisitions in the corporate business development and ecosystem team at SAP SE, one of the largest software companies in the world, responsible for holistic analysis of acquisition opportunities and post merger integration.


Mergers and Acquisitions in the software industry. Holistic analysis of acquisition opportunities and setting the framework for successful execution of post merger integration (8 years,  Experience of over 25 successful mergers and acquisitions in the software industry incl. merger integrations in the US, Canada, Germany, Norway, Poland, Italy, Vietnam and the UK. See my merger due diligence  book on amazon .

Intellectual property management in the software industry (8 years). Long experience in open source licensing and third party licensing.

Business Models in the software industry. From theory to creation to successful execution. (14 years) see my books on amazon and my key article in IEEE Software issue on the software business (IEEE Software).

Partner relationships and partner ecosystems in the software industry. Planning, creation, successful execution of OEM and resell relationships. (14 years, 50 partnerships) see my book on amazon.

Presenter at major conferences, workshops and companies. I regularly deliver motivating presentations about the software business, software ecosystems, business networks and mergers and acquisitions in the software business.


Do the best analysis, then find the best pragmatic solution
in everything i do.
Communication is key.
Empathy is key to create motivating solutions to problems.


Excellence in everything i do, from business to sports. I studied economics and finalized my Ph.D. about model driven architecture as planned. At the same time i was a successful competitive athlete in German Basketball. At SAP, i was running leading edge research and development activities, at the same time, i was running an academic research project. Today, i am striving for M&A Excellence at SAP and i am a serial bookwriter and presenter at international conferences (see ICSOB).

Competitive differentiator

Leveraging my expert technical and business knowledge and outstanding analytical skills to find the best pragmatic solutions for business and technical challenges, especially in the software business, in partner ecosystems and in mergers and acquisitions.

Professional history

Currently, i am evaluating and integrating mergers and acquisitions for SAP AG. One of my key tasks besides evaluating and integrating acquired companies is to continually improve the M&A process for SAP´s core business: creating, selling and supporting software solutions.

Before working on M&A, i had managed all OEM and Resell partnerships for SAP NetWeaver, SAP´s technology platform. In this function i managed the evaluation of several dozen OEM and Resell suppliers, the contracts and the continuous improvements in processes for supplier management.

My academic activities

I am author of six books and editor of three books on the software business and mergers and acquisitions. I work on the program committee of the International conference on the software business (ICSOB) since 2010 and of the International Software Ecosystem Workshop 2011 and 2012 and of the  International Workshop on Software Ecosystem Architectures (WEA) and Associate Editor for the International conference on Information Systems 2013 (ECIS). I run the European workshop on software ecosystems (EWSECO) since 2012, which is a joint workshop of European researchers and professionals on software ecosystems.

I am also a reviewer for IEEE Software and Information and Software Technology.

My research

My current research interest is on business models in the software industry, merger due diligence, Digitalization of M&A processes, post merger integration and intellectual property management. I like to analyze structures of the software industry, esp. ecosystems of companies, management of ecosystems and business models for partnerships between software vendors. I also research intellectual property management strategies, tasks and topics for software companies and companies using embedded software.

In addition, I continuously research in the field of business process modeling and linking business process models to application systems for more than twenty years. Karl has published three books on this subject in german in 2009.

Please see the Publications page for more information.

My professional memberships

I am senior member of Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and a long time member of IEEE, a member of International Software Product Management Association and was appointed SAP Ventures fellow in 2007 and SAP Ventures MVP in 2008. I am also a long time member of Gesellschaft für Informatik (german association for computer science). I am board member of the german association for post merger integration (Gesellschaft für Post Merger Integration

CV available upon request.