I read a study once that said if you want to change the culture of a company it will take 7 years -- unless you replace 50% of the employees. Have you ever watched a company move its headquarters more than a few hundred miles and wondered -- why are they doing that? It must be an incredible distraction! And think of all the people that would quit..... Ahhhhh.... I get it.
A similar thing happens when a company decides to buy an enterprise level business application. The reasons are not always what they seem. Senior decision makers buy Salesforce.com because they want their salespeople to sell. Selling is hard work and many salespeople would rather stay in the office and work on reports than go out and do the heavy lifting. Standardized reports from Salesforce.com can fix that in a minute. When someone else is producing the reports -- salespeople have nothing else to do but sell. Salesforce.com does not even have to be good. It just has to take away all of the excuses for not selling.
The proliferation of cloud based business applications that just work, and enable knowledge workers to focus 100% of their effort on their actual jobs, will produce the next 10x jump in knowledge worker productivity. (see my post yesterday for more on this thought).