The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

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Revisioning the Application

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We were all so excited when the first Microsoft Office products came out.  Not that other products were comparatively that bad, but there seemed to be a new vision of usability in the buttons and layout of the product.  As time has progressed, we’ve all gotten very comfortable with the desktop application and most of us use them in our everyday lives.  Over the last 5 years, we’ve also started getting used to the web application.  These started out as HTML pages that we used in our personal lives – either bidding on eBay or ordering from  But gradually, B2B applications started popping up and we’d spend more of our work lives on the web.  Today, most applications are actually delivered with a web browser user interface, so even though the application may be sitting behind the corporate firewall, we still look at it through the lens of a web page.

A few years ago, technology started getting good enough (really with the advent of Java first) that we could begin using our software applications with less HTML and more interactivity.  It was clear that a full page refresh every time a query was made or part of a transaction needed to be saved was simply not going to work.  Now with Web 2.0, we have web based applications that look more like interactive applications than like the HTML web pages of old.  They allow the user to interact with them without visible refreshes, calling data for the user seamlessly and without pause, so that the user can progress with work with minimal wait.

What’s next?  As we go through applications and begin embedding social networks into them, we seem to have the ability to instantaneously reach out to other data sources, processes and people from these same functional applications.  Querying knowledge and people with the touch of a button through a network to achieve instant collaboration is really the next generation, not more functionality.  Application providers are already looking at this, but with an undefined Web 2.0 networking market, simply integrating Facebook and LinkedIn are immature and early answers.  We’ll have to see how both the Web 2.0 provider space develops and then see how the application providers answer the call for behind the firewall networks.

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