First, there were card indices, then mainframe based solutions, then distributed solutions on PC networks. Now employment agencies are increasingly looking at migrating to administration and applicant tracking systems based on cloud technologies such as virtual desktop.
Before making the jump, potential cloud users need to assess the benefits that will accrue from adopting a cloud-based platform.
Employment agencies will see a mix of the generic benefits that all cloud users enjoy, supplemented by advantages specific to cloud for recruitment users.
The most immediately visible benefits are those of speed, accessibility and security.
Speed manifests itself in two main ways, the ability to more rapidly cope with growth and in providing speed in service to recruiters.
A cloud-based central system allows an organisation to add and remove users as and when required without the need for expensive and time-consuming IT infrastructure management. Need a new recruiter in a new location? Give them the system’s web address, add them to the list of authorised users and they are in business with their new virtual desktop. In a new town, region, or even country.
As a recruiter, you are not particularly interested in IT systems and services. By outsourcing those technical elements to specialists and defining your minimum requirements in a service level agreement, you have handed over the responsibility for infrastructure management to experts and concentrate on your business. Downtime will be minimised, and response times maximised. If you have a problem, shout at the experts.
Accessibility to the virtual desktop is much improved. Recruiters can work from wherever, whenever. They are no longer limited to the physical office location. Access to your recruiters by clients and candidates is significantly improved. As your users increasingly move into an always-on mobile environment, the need for their having ubiquitous access to your systems and data grows more and more important. Adopting a cloud for recruitment business model allows them to do this easily and seamlessly.
Security is a hot potato in the cloud environment. Many potential users feel uneasy about having their customer and candidate data hosted by a third party in a cloud for recruitment system. There are fears that data could be lost following a system failure and fears that it might be compromised by hackers.
Once more handing these fears over to an outsourcing partner allows you to concentrate on your core business. Document data security policies and procedures documents in your Service Level Agreement to ensure that data is backed-up securely, regularly and in a fit state to be able to reconstitute your systems should the need arise.
In many jurisdictions, security of candidate’s personal information is regulated and controlled by national and local legislation. Adopting a cloud solution again allows those considerations to be handled by outsourced experts. Leave firewall supply and configuration to them. Leave malware and intrusion detection and prevention to the experts. Concentrate on your core business.
Cost, of course, is a matter of keen interest. With an outsourced cloud solution, you have a pretty‑much‑fixed monthly outlay for your virtual desktop. No more regular capital-intensive costs for computer infrastructure equipment. It is moved to an operational expense.
In addition, by adopting outsourced cloud technologies, you are transferring infrastructure management to a third party who is responsible for ensuring that the infrastructure is capable of meeting your needs. In short low-cost scalability. Taken in conjunction with the very low cost of adding new users, the infrastructure costs of entering new markets is significantly reduced, allowing you to try new markets that may have been previously denied to you because of a high cost of entry.
Less tangible benefits
The first is that of an ability to adopt an increased pace of innovation, improved agility and a heightened perception of your business among clients and candidates.
Using cloud-based technologies with an outsource partner allows you to test new technologies and techniques by having ready, often immediate access to technical experts. With an in-house solution, you might need to import those skills at a cost in time and money. This translates to an increased agility and ability to cope with unexpected and unplanned changes in the business environment, something we are all too painfully aware of.
Recruitment businesses are also subject to the same fads and fancies as other businesses. Being perceived as an organisation that understands and, most importantly, uses the latest technologies goes a long way to creating a positive view of the business among clients and candidates alike. It is not enough nowadays to be seen to be on the curve, truly successful businesses are ahead of it.
You are already using cloud technologies in your day to day business. Many leading corporations use the cloud. Common applications like Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are all cloud based. You probably already use online banking. The reasons not to use the cloud are rapidly falling away.