Why it's time for the CIO to take on HR

Interview: HR need to step up or watch the IT department eat their lunch, says MIT business guru...

Jeanne Ross

Dr Jeanne Ross expects HR and IT to merge as technology becomes more and more integral to managing the workforcePhoto: MIT

...thrust upon individual managers, who are never equipped to do it well."

Ross expects that as companies shift responsibility for staff development from individual managers to centrally managed business units, such as shared services centres, it could be the CIO who takes charge.

"I think organisations will take that role more seriously and, in some cases, the CIO may be the person who sees it more clearly and rises to the occasion."

Major companies, such as consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, have already demonstrated the value of putting the CIO in charge of centrally managed HR and other corporate services, she said.

"A lot of companies with these big global-process and shared-services organisations are often headed by the CIO, such as places like Procter & Gamble."

Putting IT and corporate services in one place, and under one manager, can help companies to align business and technology transformation projects and provide staff with a central point of contact for all their support needs.

The IT department is also well placed to oversee the administrative functions that are the bulk of many HR departments' workloads, Ross added.

"In so many organisations HR is administrative stuff and IT could take that on."