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    (December 11, 2001) We have been thinking intensely about the emergence of the next generation of the internet. You might remember the blank stares on the faces of your peers as you talked about the web and html in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Today, five years later, it's pretty matter of fact.

    We face different problems today. Anyone who reads this column is buried in email and justifiably terrified to open an attachment. The web, in its current form, gives you less of what you need and more of what you don't. The techno-weenies are busily working on stuff that's hard to understand again. It's beginning to become clear that we are on the verge of a new breakthrough. We're calling it Gen4 computing:

    • Gen 1 = Mainframe and terminals
    • Gen 2 = Client Server
    • Gen 3 = html (thin clients)
    • Gen 4 = an XMLish wave at the desktop. The OS becomes a database

    Our thinking is being shaped by the incredible explosion of Weblogs and the advent of real utility in XML. Like early web pages, blogs/weblogs are personality centric demonstrations of a new wave of technology. They have a lot of the same political and cultural issues. They are infinitely more powerful as work tools, however, because of the inherent design for active and passive collaboration.

    Don't misunderstand. We're definitely not saying that the efforts associated with the HRXML  boondoggle are ever going to amount to anything. We have every bit as much confidence in industry committees as they deserve. Rather, we're beginning to see the glimmers of the next range of things. 

    Personic, in an extraordinary move, pulled itself back from the market in 2001 and reinvented itself as a pure Web Services play using Microsoft's "dot net" initiative. This move has powerful consequences at a variety of levels in the industry. It signals the advent of "wrapping free" web publishing. It ushers in an era of expanded customer choice. It creates the possibility that Applicant Tracking Systems might actually start to produce real recruiting results.

    The applications that have really worked on the internet are tools that allow people to do something for themselves, often through peer-to-peer communication, networking and transactions: e-mail, file sharing programmes like Napster, bulletin boards, mass open auctions. Destination websites are generally still passive experiences, which allow people to search for and download content. The successful internet sites of the near future will be participation sites that provoke people and empower them with tools to do something with the material, often in collaboration with others.

    From "The Internet's Way Forward" By Charles Leadbeater on FT.com

    In our Buyer's Survey, we were disturbed to discover that, after 20 years, only 60 percent of Fortune 2000 companies use Applicant Tracking Systems and fully 1/4 of them are custom built by the inhouse team. It's clear that the market is not offering the sorts of utility that customers need. We expect the near-term introduction of Gen4 computing wil introduce a broader array of collaborative services and real value for Recruiters and Hiring Managers.

    - John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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