Job Board Journalist: Stacks vs. Bundles

Peter Weddle

There are always exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, the era of the best-of-breed solution has drawn to a close. Requirements are up for many if not most recruiting teams, yet shortsightedness in the c-suite continues to strangle their budgets and headcount. As a result, they must now look for one-stop suppliers of sourcing and recruiting tools. The question for job boards, therefore, isn’t whether they should partner with other solution providers, but whether they should build a stack or collect a bundle to do so.

I’ve written previously about the importance of such a “solution stacking” strategy. Over half of all respondents (56 percent) to a LinkedIn survey conducted among recruiters earlier this year reported that they expected their recruiting requirements to grow in 2017. At the same time, two-thirds of those respondents (66 percent) said they thought their recruiting team would remain the same size or actually undergo cuts.

For that reason, recruiting organizations are showing an increased preference for shopping at providers that can offer a range of sourcing and recruiting solutions. They want to be:
• more productive in their work by leveraging a number of tools they can tailor to their unique talent acquisition strategy and
• more efficient in the acquisition of such tools by tapping a single, multi-solution supplier.

However, the term “solution stacking” implies that building a stack is the only method for delivering this one-stop capability, and that’s not so. In reality, there are two ways to compile a set of sourcing and recruiting tools: solution stacking and solution bundling. Each has its own merits and, interestingly, its own unique customer demographic.

Solution Stacking

Solution stacking done right produces an integrated suite of sourcing and recruiting tools. It’s assembled either through open APIs – for example, 87 percent of the respondents in this year’s TAtech-reThinkData Global ATS Survey reported offering a public API – or through a private integration.

The advantage of solution stacking is interoperability among the various tools in the solution suite. Data flows are optimized and no time is lost moving from one application to another. In effect, solution stacking is a strategy best offered to organizations where the primary goal is recruiter productivity.

These customers aren’t indifferent to a suite’s price point, but they also recognize that they may have to pay more to achieve their goal. Not only does solution stacking take more time and effort to achieve by the partners, but it may actually cost more to implement when the “partnership” is basically a transactional relationship. For example, in the same TAtech-reThinkData Global ATS Survey, the number of respondents charging to access their “public” API more than doubled from last year.

Solution Bundling

Solution bundling is the formation of partnerships to cross-sell two organizations products or services. There is minimal if any integration, except in marketing literature and at the point of sale. The operation of each tool is stove-piped and its output delivered as a stand-alone product for the customer.

Solution bundling provides customers with the convenience of a “one-stop solution provider” and thus enables them to acquire needed sourcing and recruiting tools more efficiently. In addition, because the bundles can be assembled without significant technological development, they can usually be offered at a lower price point than solution stacks.

Successful solution bundling does require negotiation – to define the limits of customer relationships and the terms for lead and revenue sharing, for example – but can generally be implemented more quickly than stacks. There is also less technological and business risk, but also less commitment on the part of the organizations involved. That lower level of engagement can and often does diminish the extent of cross-selling that actually occurs.

As with anything else, there is no silver bullet when forming strategic business partnerships. The key to success, therefore, is to understand the costs and benefits of the two approaches to assembling them and their fit with each customer’s primary tool acquisition goals.

Food for thought,
Peter

The Job Board Journalist by Peter Weddle is brought to you by TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

Mark Your Calendars! TAtech’s 2017 events include:
• April 22-23, 2017 Chicago: The TAtech Spring Congress & Deal Center, with The Business Accelerator has now occurred. See you at next year’s Spring Congress in Las Vegas!
• May 17-19, 2017 Barcelona: RecTech, The TAtech Industry Congress in the EU in partnership with the AIM Group.
• May 31-June 1, 2017 Minneapolis: The TAtech Leadership Summit on Programmatic Ad Buying in Talent Acquisition, featuring two tracks: Programmatic Ad Buying Applications & Programmatic Ad Buying Technology.
• September 27-29, 2017 Denver: The TAtech Fall Congress & Deal Center, with The World Job Board Forum and the 2017 ReSI Awards Gala.

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