the blog of dan pontefract | IT & HR: Living In The Chasm of Both
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IT & HR: Living In The Chasm of Both

As day 3 of the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston comes to a close, I’m left with an empty feeling.

I don’t belong.

Not so much at the conference, per se, but in the spectrum of organizational ideologies.

When I attend conferences, meetings, etc. that are Human Resources, Learning or Organizational Behaviour in nature … I stick out as the individual pushing the ‘culture of collaboration’ tenet through a need for more connected, collaborative and continuously federated technologies.

I end up clashing with the ‘old way’ … in this case, the tried and true practices of how organizations were (or are) run.

When I attend conferences, meetings, etc. that are more technology-focused (Enterprise 2.0 being one of a few) … I stick out as the individual pushing the ‘culture of collaboration’ tenet through the lens of engagement, culture, business performance improvement, etc.

Bottom line is that I see a niche world developing; a bridge between the IT and HR worlds.

There are several bridge builders out there, including but not limited to recent conversations at the conference with Andrew McAfee, John Ambrose, Jon Ingham, Marcia Conner, Nick Howe, amongst others.

Like I’ve written about before, we need to keep an open mind about how technology can aid culture, and how the culture can help shape the utilization and benefit of the technology.

I wonder if that niche world deserves a brand, a title, a definition?

What would it be?

6Comments

  • Harold Jarche / 16 June 2010 3:10

    You and me both, Dan. Guess we have to build our own community.

  • Steve Boese / 16 June 2010 4:01

    I can identify with much of what you shared in the post as well. There likely is a new niche that has to be carved out somewhere in between the two traditional spaces.

  • Stuart Shaw / 17 June 2010 2:51

    Hi Dan, I agree. There has to be – will be – a bridge, but the bridge builders have to carry a lot of arrows on their backs first. Walls are tumbling though. Not just between HR and IT, but HR and Marketing, HR and Finance, HR and academic/workplace psychology. This is the movement – and it’s on a dangerously Web 2.0 platform – that we’re trying to stir up on HubCap Digital. I’ll put your ideas up on the forum.

  • Jon Ingham / 17 June 2010 2:59

    You ducked out before the end Dan but the town hall at the end was quite interesting. The clearly stated demands for the next conference were ‘people and behaviours’; and ‘culture culture culture community community community’. Ie exactly this space in between HR and IT that you’re discussing.

    Maybe they’ll invite back you, me, Matthew Hanwell, Gina Minks, Chris Ferdinandi and the rest of the HR 2.0 crew in Boston – plus Steve Boese – to do a track on this next time.

    (Same with SHRM etc too I guess.)

  • Marty Blow / 18 June 2010 5:15

    I was not at the conference, but I understand your frustration, anxiety, impatience, excitement. I don’t remember who it was, but I remember reading a blog within the last year expressing the need for OD / HR / IT becoming more of a family within the corporate community, and it makes good sense.

    Collaboration frightens the potential members of this family because of the uncertainty of change. There has been so much change and evolution lately in the corporate world (especially in the US), and much of it leading to unemployment. I don’t think there is disagreement with your stance – certainly not in our OD department – but the facilitators, trainers, and experts are feeling threatened by the thought and by the idea that collaboration would mean to the end of their positions and usefulness at the end of the day. I don’t think they trust corporate leadership to see them as collaborators or allow them to move into a collaborative role.

    I think human fear and insecurity are the greatest barriers to the bridge.

  • Jon Husband / 23 June 2010 12:36

    HR and IT working together ? Hmmm …

    In organizations where this is a reality (or under exploration), I call it “wirearchy” and the implications thereof. But I’m pretty lonely out here too 😉

    OD principles and practices are (for me) clearly the foundation or a framework for management in the “new” organization, but I think you knew that I think that already.

Want to leave a comment? I'd love to hear from you. Cheers, dp.