As organizations set out to conduct recruiting technology vendor reviews, many will begin by looking externally at current vendors and their associated product offerings. Yet, my experience working with hundreds of enterprise organizations suggests that teams realize much greater vendor selection success when they look internally first. In particular, those that take a step back and clearly articulate their business situation will find they are far more effective in aligning their needs to the right system and partner.
Articulating Your Organization’s Business Situation
Articulating one’s business situation involves a deep dive into the various elements or aspects of the business that, together, create the situation that the talent acquisition team finds itself in as it seeks to purchase new recruiting technology. The main objective of this exercise is to gather the meaningful intelligence that can reduce errors in judgment throughout the evaluation process.
Each organization will undoubtedly have unique challenges and characteristics to consider when building out their business situation articulation, however, there are three essential areas to examine as a starting point: identifying the business issue, defining the business case and determining the source of funding.
• Clearly identify the business issue that is preventing your organization from executing on strategy and, thereby, achieving its business goals. It’s common that several factors (financial, positioning, supply/demand, productivity, measurement, customer experience, etc.) are associated with a business issue. For example, your biggest issue might be that your current recruiting tech stack capabilities don’t align with HR transformation initiatives. Helpful questions for these discussions include:
What’s keeping us from solving our business issue?
What will happen if we are unable to execute our plan/achieve the goal?
Who will be impacted the most by our success/failure?
• Define the business case by bringing together the benefits, costs and risks associated with your current situation and future vision. Think of this step as gathering the vital information that executive management needs to decide if your project should move forward. Outline all associated business objectives, the scope and impact of the project, and risks involved—as well as the risk of not making a change—plus your approach to the project (governance, reporting, etc.). Ask and answer the following:
Who is the project sponsor for this initiative?
What is the preliminary budget?
Will current costs be replaced by this purchase and, if so, which ones?
What measures of success (productivity gains, increased satisfaction among users, etc.) are we anticipating?
• Determine the source of funding, along with any and all dependencies. Dig deeper than just purchase cost or anticipated budget as those estimates only provide a bottom-line number, one that typically fails to demonstrate value. Document where your funds are coming from, such as the cost of replacement (expiring contracts) or displacement (elimination of spend) or through productivity gains. Often, establishing this level of specificity at the outset guards against budget surprises as you get closer to selecting a vendor. Round out your source of funding assessment with answers to the following:
Is the project part of TA’s current, approved budget?
What, if anything, is budget approval contingent upon?
Who else may need to approve the cost?
In addition to having the intelligence you need to make better decisions as you move forward in the review process, your business situation also provides highly relevant information to share with the vendors you select for the purposes of a demo. This, in turn, leads to an efficient and effective demo process because the more details vendors have about your business situation, the more prepared they are to deliver a highly relevant demo experience.
And, once you complete your vendor reviews, revisit your business situation documentation to reaffirm that what you plan to buy truly aligns with what your organization needs to realize greater recruiting efficiency and outcomes while overcoming your talent and business challenges.
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