“Death by one thousand cuts” is what it can feel like for employees who by “tradition” rely on dated tools and processes to get their work done. Consider Human Resources. Like IT, HR is a “hub” — a shared service provider that fields requests ranging from simple benefits and payroll questions to on-boarding and off-boarding employees or handling complaints.

HR’s traditional IT systems, while facilitating many data management-driven HR activities, typically do not enable and manage these service-based, people interactions. As a result, there is an unhealthy reliance on ad hoc, unstructured email correspondence or the use of other personal productivity applications, such as spreadsheets and documents. The trouble is that such communication is notoriously difficult to manage. There is no way to get an accurate view of workload or have an ability to prioritise it in a meaningful, scalable way. Requests often get buried and require additional emails or intervention to get addressed.

Extending IT Service Models into HR

It is estimated that for more than 50 percent of companies, HR functions still spend too much time on day-to-day tactical activities that add little to no value to the business. Combine this inefficiency with a lack of auditability, tracking, and real-time reporting, and it becomes difficult to understand, measure, or report back on HR performance and its impact on the business.

Thankfully, savvy IT leaders have seen this as an opportunity to help their peers in the HR department replace inefficient email-based processes with proven IT service models. IT can help transform HR service provisioning and management capabilities by using their own service relationship ecosystem, experience, and service automation capabilities. Extending IT service models into HR finally gives HR the ability to meet employee expectations of HR support and customer service with more efficient HR operations. A secondary benefit is improving business perceptions of the IT organisation and its strategic worth. Now that’s something to smile about.

Improve HR Service and Reduce Cost with Service Automation

Innovative companies have started to use cloud-based IT management platforms to create custom applications to support HR activities to varying degrees. As a means of effectively and efficiently managing global, enterprise service relationships, IT needs to help HR move away from its heavy reliance on email and personal productivity applications. While email and legacy products such as Lotus Notes and the Microsoft suite of Exchange, Excel, SharePoint, and Project have done much over the past 20 years to boost personal productivity; a reliance on these can actually be detrimental to progression when it comes to managing service relationships. In order to move beyond repository silos caused by these applications, HR must embrace a single system of record for service relationships.

Recognise HR’s Service Relationships

Service relationships exist throughout the enterprise – between IT and lines of business, HR and sales, legal, marketing, facilities, operations, and even between internal and external service providers. They connect requesters of a service and the providers of those services. These services include a defined request for a product, a service, information, a change, or assistance with an issue. These service relationships not only need to be managed, they should be facilitated by automation wherever possible

It is time for the enterprise IT organisation to step up — both to provide HR with the technological enablement it desperately needs to help improve HR service delivery and performance, and to improve the business perceptions of IT and the value it delivers. It’s a win-win scenario that will put smiles on the faces of IT and HR professionals.