Perspective: Reflecting on the last 30 years in HCM Technology

March 21, 2022

Written by Brian Kimball

I retire at the end of March 2022. My HCM/HR/HRIS career (choose your acronym) has come to completion. I am off to enjoy life with my horses, vineyard, orchard, and gardens with my wife after 30+ years in this space.

The past 30 years have covered a lot of ground. It is fair to say that where the industry is today is light years beyond what I first encountered when entering this industry. What we take for granted today was not even on the radar in 1990. DOS to Windows was the big challenge. Every vendor was racing like mad to be the best and coolest. PCs were all the rage, and client server computing was the new aspiration. I remember lugging three computers to Guyana to demo distributed processing to a sugar plantation as an alternative to old legacy computing. And then came the mad dash for the WORLD WIDE WEB. Before HRchitect, I was part of a failure that risked everything to be the first out of the gate with HRIS delivered over the internet. Ah – the excitement and innovation of the ’90s.

In the past 30 years, we have gone from IQ to EQ to AQ. We have seen client server replaced with SAAS, and now everything is in the Cloud. System interoperability – once a longed-for dream – is now the norm. Plus, we have moved from flat file to APIs, and everything is quicker, leaner, and smoother.

The pendulum between “best of breed” versus “full-suite solution” continues to swing back and forth, but openness makes this less and less of an issue. On top of that, now the HCM package has expanded to encompass the total employee life cycle and today’s buyer expects much! How different from the seminal offerings of past decades.

Artificial Intelligence was a pipe dream in 1990 (or even 2000/2010). Futuristic stuff. Now it is reality and being embedded in key HCM applications.

And talk about delivery. It is hard to believe that system implementations can be done in a matter of months when you look back at the gargantuan effort to implement premise-based monstrosities.

The world of HCM technology today is unrecognizable when viewed through the lens of time. And it will continue to transform and evolve as great minds and thought leaders continue to look for opportunities to apply new technology and approaches to solve the continued objective of businesses around the world. HCM technology will ever-increasingly be the key to getting the most out of an empowered employee population aligned with client/customer needs within the context of whatever your company sells/develops/delivers/distributes/manufactures.

All that we have seen transpire in the past 30 years is not much compared to what lies ahead. So hang on to your hats and embrace adaptation.

Signing off,

Brian Kimball

Brian Kimball

About Brian Kimball

Brian Kimball is the Executive Vice President of Implementation Consulting Services at HRchitect. After 22 years of service with HRchitect, he will retire at the end of March 2022 and will be enjoying retirement in Winnipeg, Manitoba.