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Savvy CIOs are beginning to come to terms with “technology debt,” the burden of outdated technology they have accumulated over the generations of IT. The need for a fresh start is being driven home by architects and developers in droves who are rejecting the quaint notion of managing enterprise information through traditional databases. Instead, they are seeking to deploy a modern real-time data platform that is flexible enough to support the dramatically changed enterprise computing landscape and powerful enough to handle new data demands in real time.

I can’t think of a single organization that is not undergoing upheaval in its compute environment. And it’s happening faster than most people realize. For example, it took more than 25 years of PC sales before Gartner estimated that one billion personal computers had shipped by 2002. A mere five years later the two billion shipment mark for PCs was surpassed.

Our mobile world is moving much faster. Last year, according to Canalys, smartphone sales exceeded PCs for the first time. And IDC says that this year the combined sales of smartphones and tablets will exceed 895 million units, more than double the predicted the 400 million PCs forecast to ship by the end of 2012.

In addition to supporting vastly more powerful desktops and countless mobile devices, CIOs now need to factor in cloud computing services as well as huge troves of unstructured data found in social media. On top of that, IT departments are increasingly being told to deliver data securely to anyone anywhere and to do so in real time.

Yet, for far too many enterprises, the database infrastructure remains stuck in the architecture of the 1980s. Too often, it’s limited to delivering static reports culled only from structured data housed in overmatched traditional databases.

To be competitive in the 21st century, companies need to start thinking about deploying an enterprise  data platform rather than simply upgrading their current database. An enterprise  data platform is much broader than traditional database technology. It integrates different data management components and services  that have been optimized for specific business tasks. For example, while many databases can run analytics on structured data, a real-time data platform is a complete technology package that includes in-memory design, a columnar architecture and integrated tools like Hadoop. The result: analytics can execute on unstructured data in real-time.

The SAP Real-Time Data Platform, with its open APIs and standard protocols, offers federated access to an enterprise’s entire information portfolio. Through a single platform, IT gets powerful transactional data management, in-memory data management, enterprise data warehouse technology, analytics and mobile data management capabilities. Plus, total information management and real-time data movement services are foundational aspects of the SAP Real-Time Data Platform.

By adopting a real-time data platform instead of a traditional database approach, CIOs can respond quickly to manage information needs for the next upheaval in computing when it arrives. And, believe me, it will arrive.

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