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    Buyer's Survey Executive Summary

    (December 12, 2001) The Applicant Tracking Systems Marketplace is a tricky one. One of the many hidden secrets of the space is that companies often buy the systems only to have them go unused.  The history involves the fact that the requirement for ATS acquisition was typically driven by the need to document hiring practices just in case there was an EEO compliance audit. The emergence of electronic resume submittal and other forms of online sourcing have left the audit questions hanging. No really useful approach for measuring compliance measurement is yet available to account for gender and ethnic disparities in Internet access or the changing mix of available candidates. The fact that diversity is now widely understood to be a critical factor in successful workforce development simply further damns the audit intent of ATS systems.

    Clearly, the case that applicants constitute valuable inventory in need of management has not been effectively made to corporate hiring authorities. It's a long way from endless supplies of human beings to a sustained labor shortage, conceptually and practical. The fact that the notion has not caught on in the market is a problem that should be laid at the feet of the marketing teams who represent ATS companies. While attention has been focused on the immediate pain (sourcing) as a supplement to existing functionality, few vendors have really addressed the human capital needs of their customers. So, while there are success stories, market acceptance of newer approaches to talent acquisition and management is lagging.

    This is a great opportunity for companies who focus on real recruiting functionality and not on traditional Applicant Tracking.

    You may have already noticed that we are offering a new free download. The Executive Summary of our 2001 ATS Buyers Survey is now available on the website (it requires an Acrobat reader). The executive summary covers the top level findings of our survey of Fortune 2000 companies and includes:

    • Market Penetration of ATS vendors 
    • Relationship of size of company to inhouse ATS development
    • Forecast Contract growth by vendor in 2002
    • Penetration and sophistication of internet strategy

    In all, the executive summary offers a quick look at the successes and challenges of the ATS concept in the coming marketplace. In general, we'd say that lots of work remains to be done and opportunities are large. The downside of this conclusion is that many purchasers are yet to be persuaded that a commercial concern can actually meet their needs.


    - John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.

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         by John Sumser
         © TwoColorHat.
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