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Point Solution or Talent Platform? Set Up (Don’t Trip Up) Your Recruiting Teams

By Patrick Amaral on the Gr8People Blog

Note: to help address the issues Patrick points out in his excellent article, TAtech will shortly introduce a Learning & Certification Program in Talent Technology Implementation Management. Check for more details.

Prior to 2020, many enterprise organizations took a build-your-own strategy to their talent acquisition tech stack by layering best-in-breed point solutions on top of their existing applicant tracking system. The approach was often used with the intention of making up for features and functionality that weren’t (but should have been) available in their ATS. In addition, the rapid rise in specialized tools and technologies drove a buying frenzy among ATS and Talent CRM vendors who decided to purchase startup point solutions in order to acquire the capabilities they lacked to position themselves as a talent platform.

Why Too Many Tools Trip Teams Up

Lighthouse Research & Advisory recently explored the link between an organization’s use of HR technology and overall organizational agility. After gathering input from HR and IT executives at more than 750 enterprise organizations, Ben Eubanks, the firm’s principal analyst, noted, “Those with 10+ HR applications in place are 2X more likely to say their HR tech limits efforts to be agile and resilient.” Whether disparate tools were assembled over time by a recruiting team or an ATS vendor through acquisition, the experience is proving far from seamless. As anyone who has been through the tedious and costly process of building a TA tech stack through a series of software integrations knows, eventually pitfalls like these catch up with you:

1. Systems can’t talk to each other. When data and information aren’t being shared properly—and automatically—across various platform components (for example, the CRM and ATS), complexities are introduced and process issues are exacerbated. User adoption can also be impacted due to the lack of clear visibility across components and the added task of assembling disjointed data elements to create an accurate picture of activity and performance. Recent research from Deloitte regarding the usability of workplace technologies reveals that 70% of respondents say that having to resubmit the same data across several systems makes getting tasks done more challenging and more frustrating.

2. Time and money for maintenance and management goes up. Rather than streamlining recruiting operations, which is what today’s organizations need, point solutions require talent acquisition teams to expend valuable time and energy coordinating efforts across vendors as they work to ensure proper integration and data integrity. However, when there’s an interruption the exorbitant amount of time, effort and energy needed to troubleshoot and fix a process or data breakdown across multiple systems can result in lost productivity, lost connections with top talent and potential losses in team morale. Ongoing maintenance often comes with added costs by vendor too. These quickly add up and further strain already tight recruiting budgets.

3. There’s limited insight into what’s working—and what needs to be improved. When your TA tech stack is composed of disparate systems and tools, valuable data points can’t come together to provide a complete picture of what’s working and what’s not. TA teams are unable to make better talent decisions or demonstrate ROI. Additional findings from Lighthouse Research & Advisory offers further evidence of this troubling trend: “As the number of HR applications in use increases, data accuracy decreases steadily. Having data in multiple systems means it’s harder to get a sense of the ‘real’ truth and make complex decisions, especially in enterprise firms.”

A Natively-built Platform is Different

While many talent acquisition teams were already beginning to question the value of a tech stack cobbled together in this fashion, the pandemic brought the challenges identified above—as well as others—to the forefront. Drastic changes in both how and where employees worked, meant talent acquisition had to respond to rapidly shifting talent demands, move their recruiting operations entirely online and stay engaged with top talent amid uncertainty and hiring delays. And, they also needed their technology platform to natively enable smart automation to support busy recruiters who were now being asked to do more with less.

It’s a scenario that quickly revealed just how much talent acquisition success was dependent on being agile and adaptable—those with disparate tech stacks found their technology worked against agility, while teams with a modern, natively-built talent platform in place were far more effective at navigating unprecedented challenges.

A Compelling Case for a One-Experience Talent Platform Investment

What this all means is that the business case for investing in a talent platform has become far more compelling over the past year, and it is top of mind among those planning any HR tech purchase that will truly set up their teams for success. According to Aptitude Research, "improving efficiencies" and "moving away from disparate solutions to one provider" are two of the top three drivers influencing talent acquisition technology decisions in 2021.

If you’re still working to convince leadership of the need to invest in a talent acquisition platform, I recommend that you start by thinking like a CFO. How will this investment yield both short- and long-term gains? One way to approach the discussion is to look at total cost of ownership. Comparing a range of cost variables—from software configuration and training to ongoing management and maintenance—will help provide a detailed analysis of the return on investment, particularly over time.

For example, a cost of ownership analysis can demonstrate savings due to reduced sourcing fees because an AI-driven sourcing application already exists natively within the platform. And more efficient sourcing will lead to an increase in revenue because key vacancies no longer remain unfilled for weeks or even months.

Ultimately, pivoting to a natively-built and unified platform makes it possible to adapt to ever-shifting talent needs while ensuring access to key features and modern functionality that drive performance and operational excellence across the entire hiring lifecycle.

You can get more insights on how a seamless recruiting platform drives operational excellence by downloading our 2021 Talent Acquisition Technology Trends E-Book.