In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: SAP Isn't About Easy
2. Today's Top Story
- Satellite Destruction Using Google Earth And Orbitron
3. Breaking News
- iSuppli Cuts Semiconductor Revenue Forecast
- Boston Celtics Use Tool To Battle Botnets
- Lawyer Group Responds To Controversial YouTube Video
- Apple Mac Sales Grow Faster Than Windows PCs In Consumer Market
- Nuance To Buy AOL's Tegic Communications
- Cybercrime Fighters To Gather This Week
- Google CEO Demos Apple's iPhone, But Not On YouTube
- RIAA Request For Music Downloaders' Identities Denied
- WiMax Is Scarce, But Many Consumers Know Why They Want It
- Dell Won't Preinstall Ubuntu Linux On Small-Business Computers
- Intel Draws Parallels Between Chips And Ratatouille
- Google Turns Its Hardware Manufacturing Over To Dell
- Yahoo To Acquire U.S. Sports Media Site Rivals.com
- Apple Patent Foretells iPod And iPhone Security
- Stolen Backup Device Holds Info On 225,000 Ohio Taxpayers
- Nvidia Gives Supercomputing A Hand
- iPhone Frenzy Will Tempt Hackers To Break Apple's Security
4. The Latest Digital Life Blog Posts
- Beware Of Sticky Fingers When BlackBerrys Handle State Secrets
- The Most Hated Words On The Internet
- Ventrilo Harassment Exposed
- What Can Real-World Businesses Do To Succeed In Second Life?
5. Job Listings From TechCareers
6. White Papers
- Mobile Data Security Essentials For Your Changing, Growing Workforce
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
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"The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children." -- King Edward VIII
1. Editor's Note: SAP Isn't About Easy; It's About Regimentation
Kimberly-Clark's experience with its three-year, $100 million SAP rollout -- plus $17 million for user training -- is hardly big news. But it underscores something I've thought for a long time: The decision to move to SAP has little or nothing to do with making it easier for employees to perform better in the real world. On the contrary, it has everything to do with B-school egghead theories about making business operations fit together like Lego blocks, regardless of the human cost.
That, from corporate management's viewpoint, is its greatest strength. SAP is a very rigid product. My experience, watching a couple of SAP rollouts from the sidelines, is that the company does not adapt SAP to its business processes, it adapts its business processes to SAP. And this gives management a great benefit: It standardizes the business. It forces businesses that have operated in idiosyncratic ways to adopt regimented methods of execution and reporting.
The primary customers for SAP seem to be the suits who make big bucks from mergers and acquisitions. The easier a company is to understand, the easier it is to buy and sell, and standardizing the reporting is the first step in that process. (The idea that it also makes it easier for managers by allowing them to respond to predigested data in knee-jerk ways rather than requiring that they really understand their business is surely just cynicism on my part, right?)
Interestingly, SAP is only the first in what looks like a growing class of enterprise applications. Salesforce.com is another example of a one-size-fits-all solution that in fact fits some much better than others. If Web-delivered services are the future, then we'll see more standardization of business practices as businesses move to standard services rather than developing their own.
All this leaves me wondering: In this roboticized future where all companies do everything the same way, how will any company be able to capitalize on its opportunities? Are the eggheads engineering the possibility of success out of business with these all-encompassing "solutions" that work so hard to make it impossible for mediocre managers to fail?
Nvidia Gives Supercomputing A Hand
The new GPUs are meant as an alternative to having developers divide a supercomputing application among multiple CPUs, commonly made by Intel or Advanced Micro Devices.
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Beware Of Sticky Fingers When BlackBerrys Handle State Secrets
We're not at war with France, at least not the last time I checked, but that doesn't mean that the French want their state secrets coursing through the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure, courtesy of French government officials addicted to les BlackBerrys. Sure, BlackBerrys come with built-in encryption, but is that enough when you really, really don't want anyone to get his or her hands on the information you're carrying around?
Ventrilo Harassment Exposed
What happens when your MMORPG is hijacked by a player with a headset, chat software, and a whole lot of attitude? Duke Nukem, for starters.
What Can Real-World Businesses Do To Succeed In Second Life?
I'm wrapping up an article I've been struggling with for months, about how real-life businesses succeed in Second Life. It's a tough article to do because I think the overwhelming majority of real-life businesses that move into Second Life are failures.
Mobile Data Security Essentials For Your Changing, Growing Workforce
This paper outlines four requirements for implementing an effective and flexible enterprise-class mobile security solution for your mobile data and devices. An organization needs a single enterprise solution for all mobile devices and data -- one that's simple, powerful, and flexible, and that meets the strategic objectives of mobile data security.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.