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Technology is Key says HR Department – But Close Collaboration with IT Department Still a Rarity

2nd December 2014

Despite recognising their value, only 12 per cent of  HR professionals admit to working closely with the CIO,  according to research by Sungard Availability Services

Research sponsored by Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS), a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services, has revealed that HR professionals would like a closer working relationship with the CIO in order to benefit from their ideas, insights and technical skills.

The findings show that 63 per cent of HR leaders believe a closer alignment with the CIO will be vital in realising their department’s ideas with a further 66 per cent stating that they drive efficiency within an organsiation. However, despite recognising the tangible benefits of close collaboration with the IT department, only 12 per cent currently work closely with their CIO, with over a third complaining that the IT department still tends to work as a silo.

The HR department profess to be big supporters of technology within the enterprise – with over two thirds (68 percent) stating that if the CIO was not sitting on the board within their organisation, then they should be. And their support could have a significant impact on the CIO’s role – with 35 per cent of HR professionals stating that they believed the views and inputs of the CIO were not being appreciated by those in the senior management team.

Commenting on the findings, Sharon Clews, director – people & talent management, techUK  observed:

“In an age where agile working, particularly amongst the millennial population, is seen as an increasingly important attraction and retention tool, and as organisations recognise that the way they communicate with staff is changing, CIOs have a vital role to play as enablers of that change.  Closer collaboration between CIOs and HR teams is therefore essential to the success of any change management activity.”

Keith Tilley, EVP global sales & customer services management at Sungard Availability Services said:

“The disconnect between the number of HR professionals who recognise the benefits of working with the CIO, and those that actually do, is quite distinct. IT is increasingly becoming a keystone in organisational operations – and while it’s encouraging to see that HR departments recognise the functionality and process efficiencies this could offer them, more must be done to create the inter-departmental links that will allow businesses to unlock the potential benefits.  Whether that’s scoping the solution, implementation, ‘bug fixs’ or being aware of the particular challenges global firms with differing set-ups can face. The will is there, but both sides have a part to play in ensuring that this collaboration begins to happen.”

For further details on how HR professionals can collaborate more closely with the CIO, Sungard AS commissioned a report by Professor of Management, Joe Peppard from the European School of Management and Technology entitled ‘Digital Dynamics in the C-Suite’.

Key tips developed by Joe Peppard to deliver collaboration with the CIO include:

  • Stay on trend with the latest technologies and keep an open dialogue with the CIO to talk through some of the ways technology can improve your business’ working processes and deliver new insights into your workforce.
  • Partner with the CIO to drive change within  your department. Work ‘hand-in-glove’ in order to create a roadmap for implementing technologies that will solve your current HR headaches.
  • Understand the role that technology plays within your department. If necessary look to split costs with the IT department in order to make sure your budget contribution reflects the benefits you are recieveing.
  • Actively communicate your collaboration to the rest of the company – make sure everyone understands the relationship and its benefits.

To download the report and more, please visit:

About the research  Interviews were carried out in September – October 2013 by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Sungard Availability Services. 550 interviews were conducted altogether: 250 from the UK, and 100 in each of France, Sweden and Ireland. Four audiences were surveyed: IT decision makers (220), finance decision makers (110), marketing decision makers (110), and HR decision makers (110).