The Day HR Tech Stood Sexy Cool

The day the earth stood still

When The Last Starfighter came out in 1984, I remember reading that to create the special effects with computer-generated imagery (CGI), one of the earliest films besides Tron to use extensive CGI for the big screen, it took an amazing amount of software code as well as dozens and dozens of servers in Walmart-sized buildings.

I thought, Mercy, I’d really like to be that someday.

The last starfighter, not a software developer. Sadly neither of those occupations has occupied my workspace to date. But I can certainly write about it from an HR B2B marketplace perspective. That much I got right.

What is literally amazing today is that I can control my entire virtual office via my laptop, tablet computer and smartphone. And that’s because of software – software that takes up a gig or two of hard drive space, if that. And it’s also software-as-a-service (SaaS) that allows me to purchase and use software online without having to download anything. And it’s also cloud computing where the software is delivered more as a service rather than a product, giving me access to software, data access and storage services.

The glitz and glamour of big-screen entertainment, consumer software, apps and the social cloud we play in (and don’t even really know we’re in clouds) – these are all sexy cool and rich in marketing romance.

HR business software? Not so much. But that really doesn’t matter when software runs the world these days. Or, when it’s eating it according to Marc Andreessen, who co-founded Netscape and is now a general partner of the venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz:

More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not.

Why is this happening now? Six decades into the computer revolution, four decades since the invention of the microprocessor, and two decades into the rise of the modern Internet, all of the technology required to transform industries through software finally works and can be widely delivered at global scale.

Eating the world, running the world – however you want to view it, it’s happening, sexy or not, in Silicon Valley and many other places around the world, although I did have an interesting discussion last week with startup TribeHR co-founder Joseph Fung. They provide HR management software for small to mid-size companies. He argued that HR software can be sexy cool, especially if you’re focusing on the customer and end-user experience as well as creating an emotional connection between product and consumer. Tough to do, but with the innovative software mash-ups I’ve seen this year alone addressing multiple business problems, he may be right.


But long-time purveyors and surveyors of HR tech sexy cool like Bill Kutik, co-chair of the HR Technology® Conference and leading independent analyst of the HR technology marketplace, know it’s not just small startups that innovate. His latest article talks about the software smack down between long-awaited Oracle Fusion and Workday. Plus, for those of you attending, exhibiting and/or sponsoring at this year’s HR Technology Conference & Exposition, you can check out the Awesome New Technologies for HR session on Tuesday, October 4, from 4:00-5:15 p.m. PT. And you’ve also got Jason Averbook, Co-Founder & CEO at Knowledge Infusion and Naomi Lee Bloom, Managing Partner at Bloom & Wallace, battling it out in the Great Technology Debate earlier that same day. This is just day two of three amazing HR tech days.

What a birthday I’m gonna have. Heck, may even have something shiny and new to share.


Now, once HR business software self-configures and adapts automatically once deployed, event providing talent acquisition and management recommendations automatically like an Alfred on AI steroids, that’ll be the day HR Tech stood sexy cool.

Or when I become software developer, or the last starfighter, whichever comes first.

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