A Marriage of the Two Most Unlikely Partners

Who should control enterprise social technology in the organisation, IT or HR? This is an interesting problem because it isn’t so clear cut and because HR may not realise this should be on their radar.

HR is ultimately responsible for selecting and running the HRMS system used in an organisation. IT needs to be heavily involved in the selection process and ongoing technical operation of the system to be sure, but I don’t think anyone would say the HRMS is predominantly the domain of anyone other than HR.

Likewise, IT is responsible for key technologies such as email and productivity applications. It’s unlikely HR would be consulted on these systems in any organisation.

But what about social technology? Where does it fit?

Arguments for HR controlling social technology
  • It’s an important emerging talent management tool for recognition, rewards, kudos and sense of belonging.
  • It’s as much about improving an organisation’s culture as it is about productivity.
  • HR own the policy controlling employee use of social networking technology.
  • Productivity improvement is (or should be) the domain of the HR group.
  • It needs to integrate well with other HR systems and processes.
Arguments for IT controlling social technology
  • Social tech is an important communication platform for all matters, not just people related.
  • It’s a productivity application or part of a wider productivity application.
  • It needs to integrate with other key IT systems.

So who should it be?

HR and IT

 HR and IT (like Penny and Leonard)

The answer I believe is that this requires the marriage of two of the most unlikely partners. Both IT and HR need to work together to make social tech successful in the organisation. A bit like Leonard and Penny on The Big Bang Theory.

Opposites attract, like Leonard and Penny. Opposites can complement each other’s skill sets. Just look at the pairing of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

HR and IT have a long future together as social tech develops and evolves over the next decade. But HR needs to realise now that they need to be part of this.