HR Technology

I am off to the HR Technology Conference next week in Chicago, and I am looking forward to interesting content on the current and future technological capabilities in HR. While I have an aptitude for technology, I feel that a good part of my skill is simply being part of the first generation to grow up with computers. I remember playing on my Atari, the Apple II, and our first home PC; having to constantly adjust to new user interfaces, software, and hardware was part of growing up. While there were plenty of games, there were also DOS prompts to learn, uninstall commands, and plenty of BSOD (Blue Screen of Death – I don’t miss that at all!).

I would not consider myself what is known in marketing as an “early adopter.” The bleeding edge of technology sounds a bit too messy for me, as I prefer to consume technology without the need for a biohazard container. I was late to jump into a smart phone, Facebook, and never ran Windows Vista (whew!). When a concept is proven, I am willing to invest the time to pick it up and run with it. Until then, I feel that there is just not enough time to learn and adapt to all of the new technology that comes out, especially when some of it is bound to fail.

At Columbia Machine, we have been looking at new HRIS and Payroll applications for some time. The current systems work, but they are cumbersome and do not communicate. While sometimes it is easier to deal with the cumbersome way that is known rather than the unknown of learning a new system, the technology available now has too many advantages to ignore. This conference is not only an opportunity to explore what is out there, but to confirm that the path that we find ourselves on and identify the hazards along the way. If you have been down this path and care to share your experience, please email me at

One thing that is clear in any technology change is “implementation pain.” As a chapter, we could see this coming when we moved our 3 systems into one with Affiniscape. We were not able to anticipate all of the issues, and appreciate our members patience as we have worked through them. The payoff is already manifesting, with more efficiency and capability on the horizon for our members and our board. The waves of change keep coming, and it is exciting to get out and ride them rather than watching from the shore.

– Earl Meininger



About swshrm

President of the Southwest Washington SHRM chapter.
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