Sector Focus: Recruitment
There simply isn’t a sector or industry in the UK The Cloud doesn’t affect in some way. In our regular series, we’ll take a look at a specific sector to find out how cloud technology is making a difference. This month, we go undercover in recruitment.
The recruitment sector may have had a tough time of it during the recession, but things are seriously looking up. With increased confidence in the marketplace and companies – particularly small businesses – now looking to expand, the outlook for recruiters is rosy. According to figures from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation from April, a huge 69% of small businesses are looking to hire, with the key sources being local recruitment agencies and word of mouth referrals.
As well as an opportunity, this puts pressure on agencies who already face
several key challenges:
1. Being able to scale up as well as down, depending on the seasonality of recruitment and responding to the changes in the marketplace. Often these changes happen in a matter of weeks rather than months, so responding quickly is key.
2. Information management. The traditional filing cabinet and paperbased
recruitment office is being replaced with more centralised documentation systems to prevent duplication and improve workflow.
3. Security of data. The holding of sensitive confidential data on clients and candidates is a potential minefield if ever compromised. Not only do information security policies need to be implemented, there needs to be a full disaster recovery policy in place with regular backups undertaken to ensure no loss of recruitment client and candidate data in the event of disaster or theft.
Within the recruitment sector, cloud services are affecting the industry on two levels. On an infrastructure level, cloud computing technology, such as Hosted Desktop offers a new way of working for recruitment offices.
Previously, recruitment offices had to utilise an in-house server – bringing with it all the issues of in-house IT – at once a costly and inefficient use of resources from the traditionally
lean operation most recruitment consultancies run.
This application of cloud technology has helped remove one major concern over security of data. As a cloud solution, confidential customer and client data no longer needs to be held
in a physical location, where it may be susceptible to flood, fire, theft or general damage.
Unlike some other sectors, recruitment doesn’t suffer from a dearth of specific recruitment applications. Countless cloud-based recruitment software-as-a-service packages are available promising applicant tracking, customer relationship management, financial management, client and customer portal access and other functions to help run and automate the recruitment function.
However, these are only recruitment-specific applications. Using these systems, if you were to use email or any Microsoft Office application such as Word or Excel, you’d still need licences and versions installed on individual desktops or laptops, or on your local server. Only through Hosted Desktop, would every element of the IT infrastructure be hosted off-site and fully-managed.
Of course, both hosted solutions work alongside each other. Hosted Desktop delivers all the infrastructure and resilience, support and remote working opportunity expected of a busy
recruitment office. And the 3rd party specialist recruitment applications are available to use as normal, either via their own cloud-based package or installed as an application on your
Perhaps the main area where cloud technology has made a difference is the ability of recruiters to expand and contract when needed. Users can be added and removed in hours
with the per user pricing structure, allowing temporary but immediate changes in the numbers accessing the system. Furthermore, this is done securely and in a controlled manner and almost eradicates the risk of data leakage or information theft. With everything automatically backed-up off-site on a regular basis, the problems of lost emails, missing documents and accidentally deleted files becomes a thing of the past, allowing a full papertrail (digitally, of course!).