Saturday, November 17, 2012

IT 2.0 & HR 2.0: From Transaction to Transformation

Think, understand and communicate in the language of business.

IT and HR have many things in common, HR is taking charge of the most valuable asset – people in organizations  and IT is custodian of business’s life blood, the other crucial business asset – information; at digital era, both IT & HR functions are short of business’s high expectation, and not get well-respected in organization, since they have been perceived as cost center, rather than value center.

The value of the Human Resources (HR) function elicits sharply contradictory views within organizations. on the one hand, in today’s competitive global markets, the “war for talent” is understood to be crucial to almost every business, on the other hand, the HR function is often dismissed as non-essential or ineffective; same as IT, via numerous CIO debates, IT struggles to “keep the light on”, lack of focus on innovation and transformation. Both CIOs and CHROs usually don’t have a seat at the big table, as they act more like a functional manager, than business strategist and visionary. So in order to avoid becoming irrelevant and obsolete, there’s tough choice ahead --how to blueprint IT 2.0 and HR 2.0? Change name or shift mindset?

1. IT & HR are Interdependent and integral parts of business

  • Think, understand and communicate in the language of business: Both IT and HR need to eliminate the jargon of its specialization and begin to link its work more explicitly to business value. The common business language helps to open the door, but it is also important to provide a robust business case for projects. Speaking common business language can also help CIO & CHRO get invited to the table, brainstorm strategy and voice the unique viewpoints.
  • IT & HR are interdependent: Technology and economy are twin catalysts for HR transformation. Powerful digital technologies, emerging in times of heightened financial constraints, present a precious opportunity for HR to enact long-overdue reinvention; on the other side, an effective HR can enable IT to attract the best talent pipeline, gain a competitive advantage in building IT strength. In some forward-looking organizations, CIOs may also oversight HR division.  

2. IT & HR: From administration to higher-value-added

  • IT 2.0: from back-office to front brain yard: IT not only enable business with the latest technology, it need walk the talk, exemplify to be run as a business, doing better with less; focus on delivering business value, rather than just an infrastructure back office; the KPIs to measure IT performance should well reflect such change, less on internal IT, more on business value creation.
  • HR 2.0: from record-keeping to value-added: HR function also works behind the scenes, many in the organization may not be aware of the good things that it is doing. as they usually are facilitators, not owners, and they also over focus on record-keeping, transactions and life-cycle processes, as HR must develop a deep understanding of the business, and the measures it proposes must be tied to business outcomes: the impact on customer service, the reduction in costs, the support of a specific new growth area, the increase in staff loyalty,  the incentive and rewarding system to inspire innovation and so on, the metrics that define success in HR today will fundamentally change in near future.

3. Both IT and HR Strategy are Integral Components in Business Strategy

Give the fast pace of business change and complexity in a business environment, the need for new mindsets, skills and tools are strategic imperative across the enterprise ecosystem. Business today is more relational and less transactional. Mastering that shift will take time and thoughtful planning.

  • IT is Business Catalyst: IT will envision of future of business, empower talent with effective tools, enable cross-functional collaboration, enchant end customers via optimizing every touch point in customer experience, and standardize & simplify end to end business process; CIOs as IT leaders may also need become business strategists and relentless change agents, to proactively co-create business strategy and oversight governance.
  • HR delivers People Management 2.0: This is not just about deploying the latest technologies or tools. It is about the HR function using an empirical approach to delivering a unique and differentiated people management strategy that is closely aligned with the company’s strategy – and in the process of doing so, automate the “chore”, focus on “core” and credibility at the highest levels of the business value. HR executives also have to be courageous leaders, able to force an argument on what is good for business’s today & tomorrow.

4. IT & HR 2.0: Being Agile & Self-Service

Both IT and HR play a significant role in shaping business culture, and culture is the most invisible, but powerful fabric surrounding modern organization.

  • IT enables business with effective tools: Many organizations in recently years have increased the use of mobile, social and web-based platforms, also make great use of cloud base solutions, the goal is not for technology’s sake, it’s the means to achieve business agility and high-performance organization.
  • A mobile, online, self-service HR function: HR has gone mobile in an effort to provide employees and their managers with a range of self-service function. In more and more situations, IT and HR need work more collaboratively to enforce guideline for technology usage such as BYOD policy, create a positive culture and brand for current employees and potential hires, and update the rules to encourage innovation.  

5 Data-driven IT 2.0 & HR 2.0

Both IT and HR grow strategic important for business, and data is magic sauce to provide insight for them to become more strategic and transformational:

  • IT is Custodian of Business Data: IT is at the unique position to manage business data more holistically, from data storage, data cleansing, data integrity, data analytics, and data governance/security, and capture business insight in future products/service, process optimization.
  • Data Makes HR more Empirical: Data Analytics will allow HR to not only be involved in managing talent but also collect clearer information on its supply chain of talent and where the most demand for particular skills lies: providing insightful and predictive workforce analytics. HR also see social media as an emerging recruiting platform, listen to expertise, different opinions, breakthrough traditional HR practice, and experiment game changing approaching to help the business gain competitive advantage.
The forward-look organizations all see talent strategy as their primary source of competitive advantage, and through effective IT, the talent potential can be unleashed. the industry leaders also see IT as their competitive advantage. And both IT investment & talent management are the top priorities at boardroom agenda, thus, IT and HR need work more strategically& collaboratively to bring value for their businesses and reach high-level maturity. Both IT 2.0 & People 2.0 means Change, Change mindset, and transform the business.  

 You may read series of blogs regarding relationship between IT and other functions here: 



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