The desire for general self-service did not start in this millennium. The first vending machine was actually made in the late 1800’s, soon followed by self-service gas pumps in the early 1900’s. Although quickly getting candy and fuel was good, easy access to information was the ultimate desire. Nothing would be more valuable to us than easy access to our personal information.
Large amounts of employee data began to be collected in the 1970’s and stored in large computer mainframes. The computer room, in those days, was labeled ‘the glass house’ because many businesses built their computer rooms within a glass enclosure. You could see the computer, but you could not get in to touch it. Access was strictly restricted, as was your personal information the computer contained.
When the Internet became available to the average person in the 1980s, we were given access to public information never before imagined. In the 1990’s, we saw Internet services start-up such as Amazon, eBay and Google to name only a few of the ground-breakers. By the 2000’s, businesses recognized the need to unlock the personal information they were holding in their computers. Businesses began to deploy online services for their employees with access allowed through account names and passwords; enabling the employee to have immediate access to their own personal information.