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The Human Systems Director
New Skills Help Foster Collaborative Coorporate Environments

By Bob Little / August 2010

TYPE: OPINION
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For many years, e-learning suppliers (at least, those in the U.K.) have been frustrated by having to sell their products twice to the same potential buyer. That's because they need to convince not only a potential customer's HR specialists, but also their IT specialists that they should buy what the supplier is offering.

Now comes news that that sort of frustration could soon become a thing of the past.

Newly published research suggests that a new job title is coming to the business world: the human systems director. According to a study conducted by the Future Foundation on behalf of Google, the workplace will be transformed by the sharing and development of ideas by 2020.

The study, which surveyed 3,500 employees, 100 HR managers, and 100 IT managers across the U.K., France, Germany, the U.S., and Japan, revealed an 81 percent positive correlation between collaboration and innovation across all markets. As collaboration and innovation accelerate, thanks to new enabling technologies, elements of the HR and IT functions will integrate.

"The HR director and IT director will have to come together," says Carsten Sørensen, senior lecturer in information systems and innovation at the London School of Economics and Political Science. "They will have to manage issues such as how to balance IT infrastructure, which produces better functionality and productivity, with collaborative technologies and individualization."

Future Foundation account director Judith kleine Holthaus agrees. "It will be an 'ideas and innovation economy' rather than a knowledge economy." Some 34 percent of HR personnel understand the need to learn new skills to foster a sense of corporate community, and a third of chief information officers believe they will take on more responsibility for innovation in the future. Some 44 percent of HR managers say HR will also need to have a better understanding of technology.

This growing trend toward partnering and collaboration at all levels within the world of work comes at a time when the world's first collaborative business partnering standard is about to be published.

The draft British Standard, BS 11000 Collaborative business relationships, is now out for public consultation in the U.K. This standard builds upon PAS 11000, the framework specification for supporting collaborative business partnering.

The framework, developed by BSI with Partnership Sourcing Limited (PSL) along with government and procurement professionals, helps organizations to establish, manage and improve strategic partnering both within and across the public and private sectors. BSI Standards director, Mike Low, commented: "Both business and the public sector are increasingly working in open environments with collaboration seen as an increasingly effective business model."

Publication of BS 11000 is expected in December 2010.


About the Author
For more than 20 years, Bob Little has specialized in writing about, and commentating on, corporate learning—especially e-learning—and technology-related subjects. His work has been published in the U.K., Europe, the U.S., and Australia. Contact Bob at bob.little@boblittlepr.com.



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