Government // Enterprise Architecture
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6/21/2010
03:58 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: An Open Letter To Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Human beings' 15-second limit: how the iconic iPhone will change the way enterprise apps are written and perform.

Dear Steve:

I'll keep this quick because clearly you've got a lot on your plate these days—everything from the iPhone 4 to new revs of the iPad to placating government regulators who want to punish you for your success. In fact, the whole point of this letter is about quickness and time, and how your spectacularly successful iPhones and iPads are redefining our concepts of patience, latency and speed.

While you're not positioning your iPhones and iPads as enterprise-level devices, I'm not sure that in Apple's case that distinction is still relevant. At what point does a knowledge worker stop being a knowledge worker—at 5:00 p.m.? Anybody doing a little work over the weekends these days? And how many of us totally cease and desist from all social interaction during the anachronistic "work hours" of 9 to 5?

My point is that your products are playing a huge role in blurring—in ways that possibly even you don't comprehend—the lines between work and play, personal and professional, social and enterprise. In fact, one of your primary business partners, SAP, has come out and said that your iPhone is revolutionizing the way that enterprise software will be written, how it behaves, and what standards of performance it must meet.

And that's not bad for a product never intended to become swept up in the enterprise world, but there it is: in a world incessantly driving toward truly real-time flows of information and ideas and analysis, the iPhone is becoming one of the most profound agents of change to slam head-on into the stuffy world of enterprise software in a generation.

That perspective comes from no less than one of the creators of the enterprise-software market: SAP founder and chairman Hasso Plattner.

At the company's recent Sapphire global customer conference, Plattner spoke at great length about a handful of momentous technology breakthroughs SAP has made that permanently kick open the door for global corporations to make highly informed decisions in real time.

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But as justifiably proud as Plattner is about those developments in in-memory technology, he still elevated your Apple iPhone to a center-of-the-universe position because it will be the iPhone and its intimate link with human behavior that will drive future software performance and specifications, whereas SAP's in-memory advances will only make them possible.

Here's how your friend Hasso Plattner described the iPhone's extraordinary impact on enterprise software via a recent Global CIO blog post:

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