At first glance, Information Technology and Human Resources have little in common: IT focuses on the “hard” stuff – data, applications, infrastructure – while HR tends to focus on the “soft” stuff – people, skills, talent. With different cultures, perspectives, and ways of working, IT and HR appear to have little in common. Yet at the core, both functions have the same goal: enabling organizational success. With the shared goal of enabling organizational success, it is past time for IT and HR to collaborate more closely, to leverage each function’s strengths and expertise to enhance the performance of both.
HR faces constant pressure to up its game, to move from an administration driven organization to “business partnering” that adds real value to the organization. As illustrated below, the technologies and best practices of IT can be applied to improve the performance of HR. IT’s expertise in mobile apps, collaboration tools, and work flows can drive employee engagement, recruiting and workplace environment, while big data, self-service, and best shoring enable HR to integrate more thoroughly into business processes, improve focus on activities that add the most value and become true strategic partners to their business.
While the challenges facing HR are sizable, those facing most IT functions are truly daunting: resource constraints, conflicting priorities, demand for more rapid development, legacy infrastructure, shadow IT, increasing complexity,..and a constant battle for talent and skills. HR must be integral to helping IT meet these challenges by partnering with IT on recruiting, development, and reward strategies that put the right people with the right skills in the right roles in the organization. Management and leadership development, skills training, and flexible resourcing models to meet rapidly changing business demands are key HR contributions to the success of IT.
While strong collaborative relationships between all functions within the organization are important, it is clear that IT and HR are uniquely positioned to benefit from the strengths of each other for both mutual and organizational success. Yet historically, the relationship between IT and HR have not been particularly strong, raising the question of how IT and HR can align more closely.
In a subsequent post, we’ll look at the structures and strategies that can be deployed to foster the “two-way street”, greater cooperation between IT and HR.