The Wall Street Journal snagged a copy of an email sent around the world's fourth-largest enterprise software company. I'm impressed that a firm with 50,000 employees and two CEOs managed to restrict its leaks to the Journal. Here's the raw email reconstructed from the Journal's blog post, which spends too much time framing and excerpting the missive. Notice how the story gets the awful irony out of the way first — SAP is freezing its own IT spending — then spells out a three-pronged plan that never once says "layoff."
We will review all planned investments in IT equipment, hardware, software, facilities, and company cars, as well as internal IT projects ... Do not order any new equipment at this time. No one at this point can say how markets and customers will react in the coming months ... In this turbulent economic environment, we will be giving added attention to sustaining our margin and earnings health. There is a complete headcount and hiring freeze, and all existing job vacancies will be canceled. This includes any temporary workers, interns, and students. There will be no replacements for employees leaving SAP. No internal transfers may take place. Only those written offers sent to a candidate and/or internal transfers agreed to on or before October 7, 2008, will go forward. Since we are not hiring, all engagement with external recruiters must cease immediately. We will discontinue engagement with management consultants and evaluate the impact this has on ongoing projects. Until further notice, all external training is to be canceled. Internal meetings must be held within SAP buildings, and you cannot rent external conference facilities for this purpose. Cease ALL internal non-customer-facing travel in October…Any non-customer-facing travel already booked should be canceled immediately, even if this incurs penalties.Also in the memo: SAP salespeople will have to fly coach from now on, unless they use miles to upgrade. The WSJ doesn't specify if "from now on" means until next quarter, or forever. Either way I'm stoked, because airlines will soon have to redefine "coach" to give me enough room to open a 17-inch laptop.