Research by information technology research company Gartner, has shown that the use of cloud services among Australian businesses is forecast to grow by 23 per cent in 2013 as businesses move away from the development and management of their own IT infrastructure to a ‘pay-per-use’ outsourced system.
Australia’s recruitment sector should be well represented by Gartner’s predictions as the elasticity of cloud-based software is a perfect match for the high volume peaks and rapid changes occurring within the industry.
However, the debate around the benefits and drawbacks of cloud solutions for recruitment organisations in Australia to date has been characterised by cautious interest and much hesitation.
The 2013 Bullhorn Australian Recruiting Trends Report found that more than a third of Australian recruitment firms are not yet utilising cloud-based services.
A lack of dedicated cloud service providers for the recruitment sector has certainly had an impact on the slow adoption of cloud services. However, the main reason appears to be that many Australian recruiters are simply unsure of the level of functionality available beyond current homemade or ‘make-do’ systems.
The confusion of the Australian recruitment sector can be seen in the results of this year’s Bullhorn Trends Report that found that one in five recruiters surveyed were unsure of how cloud-based services could benefit their business.
While the use of cloud technology in the Australian recruitment sector is still relatively new and has not significantly impacted performance yet, the clock is now ticking for Australian recruiters to invest in the mature cloud-based systems that have been adopted throughout Europe and the US.
According to the Bullhorn Trends Report almost all recruitment and sales consultants surveyed in Europe using cloud recruitment technology were more successful, better paid, and more likely to exceed revenue goals than non-users.
Organisations using cloud solutions also have the clear advantages of using a system that has the scalability to meet new business opportunities such as expanding into new geographic locations and the flexibility to manage market changes and hiring peaks and troughs.
Cloud-based systems also allow recruiters to view information in real time so business opportunities are not lost as a result of out-of-date databases or through the emergence of new applications and processes.
This is particularly important for the recruitment sector where connecting with candidates via social media or the ability to tighten business processes and boost productivity via data analytics has become increasingly important.
However, not all cloud solutions are the same and Australian recruiters have been right to be wary when navigating through the choice of vendors in the market.
For example, some providers offer out-dated systems masked as ‘cloud’ that are merely hosted by the vendor. Just because software is hosted by a vendor doesn’t mean it is cloud-based, and it may not deliver the key benefits of true cloud systems, such as the unlimited ability to match business growth or automatically upgrade to the latest software.
Australian recruiters should also ensure that any cloud solutions provider they engage has made concerted efforts to ensure sensitive data is protected. Bullhorn is the only provider in the recruiting software sector who is SSAE 16 SOC1 Type II certified, however there are other certificates vendors can secure.
The days of Australian recruiters relying on in-house, customised software solutions are numbered. To be competitive in 2013, organisations must look seriously at sophisticated cloud systems that will streamline their internal processes and take their businesses forward into a new era of productivity and profitability.
Ben Fuller is Bullhorn’s APAC sales director.