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ATS Market Basics IV
(February 06, 2004) - You'd have to agree that, theoretical reviews aside, the truest measure of success in the ATS business would be the degree to which the tools are utilized. Form, function and price mean nothing if the tool goes unused. Ask your vendors to supply verifiable data about the degree to which their software is actually used. (One of the leading players has an incredibly low effectiveness rating in this regard. Less than 7% of their users use the tool more than once a week.)
The premise of a solid Enterprise offering, in any category, is that domain specific information (and processes) can be automated in a way that reduces the overall cost of ownership. Vendors who supply domain specific tools (like Seibel, for example) are expected to provide a core product that addresses the basics of the subject matter. From there, installation and integration are processes that tailor the rough edges.
The closer the initial fit, the lower the overall cost of ownership. Variations in the initial fit must be solved by either effective training or customization. Since customization is hard to estimate, the customer is left with two choices: deploy internal resources to accomplish the customization or hold the vendor's feet to the fire.
The IT Department has more experience with the customization process, they know little about Recruiting. The reverse is equally true. The vendor is the most likely party to understand the actual metrics of installation and integration.
Because it directly involves supply and demand, work design, advertising and copy generation, EEO guidelines, local labor conditions, company specific requirements and the other variations in Recruiting, HR has a better chance of getting a working product installed. This is a very hard case to make in the 'head shed'.
The problem is further complicated by the process used to define requirements. The sorts of people who participate in Requirements Development are unlikely to be the people who have to use the system daily. A sound integration process can address this issue but, it's very expensive. The solution involves coaching each individual team member after the fact.
In a nutshell, the ATS acquisition process is very broken and partially responsible for the high volume of failed installations across the industry. There is a powerful market position available to the vendor who is willing to say, "We're premium priced because that's what it costs to make things work."
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