In many small companies, IT employees and HR employees just don’t get along. This is unfortunate, considering that both departments are integral to the success of the organization as a whole. In my opinion, one way to bridge the gap between IT and HR, as well as improve the business overall, is for both departments to rethink their priorities and processes. They need to stop acting as cost centers and start acting as individual businesses, viewing other departments and employees as customers who need to receive value from them.
What exactly does this mean? Firstly, both departments need to understand the business value delivered by each project they spend time and money on. After all, that is the ‘R’ in ROI, right? This requires IT and HR departments to create metrics that will help them gauge the value that their work provides to the company. In doing so, they will learn which projects are most profitable to the company, and subsequently, which projects should be a priority.
Both departments will also need to understand the cost of the work they do – the ‘I’ in ROI. This is where effective time tracking comes in. Data on project labor hours, expenses, and allocated direct and indirect costs can give management visibility into just how much is being invested in each project or client. Let’s face it – information on your return is pretty much useless without corresponding information on your investment. It is great if a project brings the company $50,000, unless the company has spent $60,000 to execute it.
Changing the company culture is a paradigm shift, not a minor adjustment. It will take some time and work. After all, IT and HR departments will now need to figure out how to make things cheaper while getting the same amount of work done. They must invent new ways to deliver big business value with the right amount of ROI, which will require a totally different mindset than the one they currently have.
In the end, however, both IT and HR will benefit from behaving like businesses rather than cost centers. Through measuring the business value delivery to their internal “customers” and working to improve it, they will probably be able to see eye to eye a bit more. After all, once an efficient project tracking system is in place, they will be too busy delivering excellent business value to argue over how to pinch a few more pennies.
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Tips & Tricks from Software CEO Curt Finch