I was doing some cleaning/organizing/trying to find something (there's almost no difference), over the weekend when in a box of old papers and books I came across the CD that you see pictured on the right (click on the pic for a much larger version).
Since it still might be a little tough to catch all the details from the pic, let me explain what you're looking at.
This CD dates from 1997 and contains the Functional Overviews, (essentially user manuals), for Oracle Applications products for Finance, Supply Chain, Human Resources, and more. But more notable than the fact that I still have an almost 20-year old CD set of Oracle Apps manuals, is the particular Applications release or version number of the products - something called 10SC.
For those reading this post not familiar with Oracle Apps Release history the 'SC' in 10SC stood for 'Smart Client' - in Oracle-speak, 10SC was the initial version of the applications that were deployed using graphical forms instead of character-based input screens, and in true client-server mode.
After typing that I just realized there are probably lots of readers that in addition to not being familiar with old Oracle Apps version numbers, probably are not even that familiar with the notion of 'client-server' as well. Put really simply, client-server was/is a method of deploying applications installed on a central computer (the server) to the end users (the clients) over a local area network, a wide area network, or, later, the internet.
Prior to the client-server revolution, business applications were primarily installed on mainframes and minicomputers that possessed input/output terminals, (I know, this post has officially become incredibly boring, I promise I am getting to the point soon), so the migration to more advanced client-server application architectures was a VERY BIG DEAL.
I mean a big, huge, massive deal. If we had Twitter or LinkedIn back then you would have been inundated with pieces like '10 Ways Client-Server is Going to Change How Work Gets Done' and 'Client-Server offers HR Leaders the Opportunity to Re-shape HR service delivery'. And if you were not on board with Client-server for some reason, you'd have been labeled some kind of technology Luddite and a 'typical HR person' getting in the way of progress because you didn't stay on top of technology trends.
Kind of the same way that the 'Cloud' has been referred to in about 14,980 articles written this year.
So here is the point. It is not that the Cloud and how HR technology has changed dramatically in the last few years isn't important. It is. It does matter and I firmly believe that owning the HR and workplace technology agenda is the true secret to developing lasting influence and power in organizations.
It is just that this has pretty much ALWAYS been the case and the Cloud or smartphones or wearable devices are just the latest manifestations or versions of Client-server, or Email or Fax machines.
Sure you might be tempted to say 'You are wrong, things are moving faster. It is different this time.'
You are right. It is different this time. It's different EVERY time.
Keep this in mind as you wind down 2014 and read any 'Top HR and HR Tech predictions for 2015' pieces. Even ones where your humble correspondent might be quoted.
Note: If anyone from Oracle is reading this and wants the 10SC CD, let me know I will send!