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Global CIO: SAP Confronts The Real-Time Culture Wars

SAP hopes to help companies overcome the technology challenges of real-time business, but the cultural implications might be even more daunting.
"Today, they spend untold amounts of money solving even a fraction of this problem," Sikka said, noting that the exact same types of challenges exist in in energy industry and retail and financial services and many others.

But imagine the technological problems can be overcome by SAP and others: what happens to traditional processes and traditional behavior patterns and traditional organizational structures when those organizations suddenly have dramatically different views of what the world is likely to be like next week, next month, next quarter?

What happens when guesswork and catchup are no longer the norms?

What happens when all the people across the enterprise who should have access to these new insights gain that access?

"The cultural changes will be huge—massive," Sikka said. "A CEO of a Fortune 50 company said that when they begin moving to real-time operations, he wants to have HR leaders in all of his board meetings because the changes that will spring from this real-time awareness will be widespread and profound."

So it's okay to chew on that one a bit when you're having that frosty Sierra Nevada and watching the kids romp in the pool, but don't think about it when you're contemplating a 3-wood that has to carry 190 yards over a small lake and onto the green—because golf presents more complications than real-time business and real-time technology and real-time culture all rolled into one.

Enjoy the weekend!

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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].