Are HR and IT friends or foes?

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Are HR and IT friends or foes?On 20 Aug 2002 in Personnel Today Linda Cooper, director of consulting with odysseyzone.com, argues that alittle communication between HR and IT could go a long way HR and IT departments have a lot in common. Both are appreciated by theboard as essential to the organisation, and both are likely to be in the firingline when things go wrong. They will also seldom receive praise when things goright. With these parallels you may expect HR and IT to be brothers in arms, yetnothing could be further fromthe truth. IT people may perceive the HR department as an administration factory,contributing little to their own needs except an improved ability atform-filling. At the same time HR people view the IT function as unhelpful. The IT teammay resist devoting time and resources to developing technology to supportconstantly changing HR processes when they can work on a more interesting andglamorous finance system that will catch the attention of the board. If both departments spent some time discovering where and how effectivecollaboration could add value to the organisation however, both would be morepopular with the frontline business functions. The real task of the HR department is not routine administration, but tofacilitate strategies and processes that align personal and corporateperformance and drive performance standards up. But however elegant the designof processes, the implementation is invariably stalled if it is paper-based.Often beset by bureaucracy, real leverage is lost, given the impossibility ofgetting good management information back to the top and centre quickly. However, the IT people are probably right to resist building bespoke systemsto support changing HR processes. Their role in this case is to provideinvaluable intelligence by identifying and recommending outsourced HR systemssuppliers. For example, 360-degree assessment is widely seen as a key process forfacilitating personal change but is still not widely implemented because HR andIT have not understood how to collaborate. Conventional data collection methodscreate expense and bureaucracy that is usually seen out of proportion with thesustainable value it delivers to the business. Were HR to explain its needs to IT, it could rapidly identify three or fourhigh-quality external suppliers of ‘state of the art’ web-based 360-degreefeedback technology with no need for any server installation or any furthersupport by the IT function. Web technology now provides universally available,low-cost delivery mechanisms for assessment applications that massively reducethe administrative burden of the process and provides high-quality, real-timemanagement information. HR adds value by designing high quality processes; IT by facilitating thetechnology support. By becoming allies, HR and IT can start delivering realadded value to the business. Linda Cooper is director of consulting services at odysseyzone.com www.odysseyzone.com Comments are closed. last_img

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