It is now commonplace in the staffing and recruiting industry for software buyers to hear the phrase “software as a service” (SaaS). As a method of deploying software, SaaS is said to offer both immediate and long-term benefits to staffing and recruiting firms.
Those benefits are not unique to staffing and recruiting firms. Many research groups are predicting a significant spike in SaaS deployment in all markets. According to the white paper, "Software as a Service" by William Blair & Company, SaaS will experience a market growth of 20 to 25 percent over the next five-years. So what is SaaS and why is it beneficial to you as a staffing and recruiting professional?
What Does Software as a Service Mean?
SaaS deployment of staffing and recruiting software has several key characteristics. It is a subscription-based model also referred to as “pay-as-you-go” or “on-demand” software. SaaS deployment is completely hosted and managed in some cases by your software vendor and is accessible to you over the Internet.
With SaaS deployment, you face few of the headaches of dealing with internal staffing, performance or system issues that come with managing an enterprise application in-house. Traditional enterprise deployment is usually seen in larger national staffing and recruiting firms that have the IT staff and resources to manage the application internally. However, even larger staffing organizations are beginning to adopt SaaS deployment due to its significant benefits. With growing acceptance, Gartner Group forecasts that as much as 25% of new business software will be delivered by SaaS by 2011. So let's take a closer look at SaaS.
SaaS Recruiting and Staffing Software Deployment Approaches
There are three approaches staffing and recruiting software vendors have taken to deploying SaaS.
First, there is the “multi-tenant” approach. With the multi-tenant approach, a large group of users are on a single system, database or hardware platform. While there may be cost savings for the customer, there can also be performance issues in the form of security, reliability, network latency and other bottleneck issues.
Second, there is the “pod” approach. In essence, the users are broken down into smaller groups and share a dedicated IT infrastructure. This method strikes an excellent balance between the multi-tenant approach and the third option, the “isolated tenancy” model.
In the isolated tenancy model each customer is effectively running on their own hardware and software stack. This model offers the highest potential availability, security, performance and customization capability, albeit at commensurately higher costs.
Each SaaS deployment method has its trade-offs in terms of cost and performance. When you are looking at the SaaS delivery of a recruiting or staffing software application, it’s vital to “look under the hood” to determine which deployment method is best suited for the long-term strategic goals of your business.
The Benefits of SaaS Recruiting and Staffing Software
How does SaaS affect your staffing and recruiting business? Before you make a costly business decision, let's look at some of the benefits of SaaS.
Lower Upfront Costs
One of the key benefits of SaaS is the low upfront cost. Smaller firms gain access to high-end solutions that they might not otherwise be able to afford.
Because it is based on a subscription model, the initial investment is much lower than traditional enterprise deployment. Further cost savings can be found in the elimination of capital expenditures. Additionally, you do not incur any of the hardware expenses necessary in an enterprise software deployment.
Lower Total Cost of Ownership Costs and Easier Scalability
If you are a smaller organization and can't afford extra IT staff to manage your solution internally, SaaS eliminates the need for this staff, saving you substantial dollars in salary and benefit expenses. It enables you to focus on what you do best: staffing and recruiting – your revenue-generating activities.
SaaS also scales to support your business as it grows and diversifies. Back to our "pay-as-you-go" example, you add user licenses as you need them.
Some SaaS vendors can also offer extensive customization of your staffing or recruiting software due to an open application programming interface (API) built into a service oriented architecture that is hosted in a smaller pod tenancy or an isolated tenant environment. This has far less impact on the cost and maintenance of the software, as the vendor maintains the primary code base.
With all of these benefits, SaaS delivery is looking pretty good.
The Security and Stability of Your SaaS Recruiting and Staffing Software
"What could be more secure than our own environment?" Firms evaluating SaaS should go through a due diligence process to ensure their software investment is housed in a secure and stable environment.
How secure is vendor-hosted software? To ensure the reliability of staffing and recruiting software that you use day-in and day-out, make sure your software vendor hosts your application in a Tier-1 Premium Data Center.
What happens if my vendor's servers go down? Make sure that your vendor uses SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) to proactively monitor all of your hardware devices. Often, with proactive monitoring of the performance and status of all of the hardware devices, a problem can be fixed before you even know about it.Be sure to determine that your software vendor also has a solid data backup routine.
How do they manage data security and access? Make sure that your vendor protects your data through state-of-the-art firewalls and secure access to the application servers so there is no public exposure of sensitive personnel data.
Additionally, if the staffing software solution you are looking at has email integration, make sure to assess email security. If you’ve satisfied yourself that the benefits and security of SaaS delivery appear to be a good fit for your business, there’s one last thing to consider. The future.
What the Future Holds for SaaS Staffing and Recruiting Software
As mentioned earlier, SaaS deployment is rapidly entering mainstream acceptance. It is often considered the smart deployment method for companies that want to lower costs, speed implementation, improve ROI and reduce the IT headaches that sometimes come with deploying software. In fact, a survey of companies by the Aberdeen Group found that 70% were looking at or planning to use SaaS. That’s a powerful argument for its widespread growth in the future.
With that in mind, savvy business-users are actively considering SaaS solutions in addition to the more traditional enterprise and managed services deployed solutions. They do so with the clear goal of finding cost-effective tools to help them deliver improved levels of service to their own internal and external customers that in turn create better and more profitable relationships.
To learn more about VCG's SaaS staffing and recruiting software solutions, call us at 800-318-4983 or visit www.vcgsoftware.com or www.pointwing.com. END