Vedior North America isn’t just dabbling with software delivered as a service. It’s betting the farm on the model. The US$1 billion Wakefield, Mass., company is in the process of implementing Bullhorn’s hosted staffing and recruiting software across its myriad business units.
Staffing and recruiting are not ancillary activities for Vedior. They are the company’s business: Vedior provides temporary and permanent placement services across a broad range of sectors. Anyone, from a traveling doctor or security guard to a mushroom picker or forklift operator, might find a job through one of Vedior’s 280 offices.
Entrusting such a mission-critical system to an outside vendor wasn’t an easy decision for CIO Peter Ross — nor was it one without risk. “We need a very good sales and recruiting organization. That activity is critical,” Ross says. “We mess up the candidates, or we mess up the clients — we’re dead.”
One reason Vedior chose a hosted solution is the consistency it provides. As employees sign contracts, screen candidates and fill job orders, having a single staffing and recruiting platform gives the company centralized access to performance metrics in near real-time. This information would have been filtered to management eventually, but now divisional and branch managers can see instantly what’s going on in their businesses, Ross says.
In addition, individual operating units don’t have to dedicate IT resources to upgrade applications each time a new feature is required. Bullhorn’s hosted software combines e-mail, calendaring, applicant tracking, CRM and job management features, and provides Vedior recruiters a front-end interface to communicate in real-time with clients, job candidates and colleagues.
“A lot of this activity really doesn’t generate any revenue unless [it] lands in a deal,” Ross says. So the more the software can compress the time it takes for candidates to apply, clients to place job orders, and recruiters to match up candidates and clients, the better.
Picking a provider
With so many divisions to satisfy, choosing software came down to finding a vendor that understood the staffing world.
A key part of completing the deal was crafting a service-level agreement (SLA). More significant than ironing out precise metrics, however, was the opportunity the process gave Vedior to confirm that Bullhorn understood what Vedior needed — for example, guaranteed uptime, not only during traditional business hours but also after hours, when recruiters have the best chance of catching up with candidates.
That business insight is critical. Unless it’s certain a service provider understands a company’s expectations, don’t do a deal, Ross recommends. “If you have any hesitation that they don’t get what you do, then don’t do it. You’ll get stuck.”
Not about the money
While some might consider it too big a risk to depend on a third party to secure and maintain a mission-critical system, Ross feels confident in his decision. “I actually believe I’ve reduced my exposure by using software as a service,” he says. “But I did put a lot of eggs in one basket.”