Focusing on own core competencies to deliver excellence for clients
For more than 50 years, the name of Pertemps has been synonymous with permanent and temporary recruitment. Starting off life as an independent family run business in 1961, Pertemps has grown to become one of the largest providers of staffing solutions in the UK, owned and controlled by its own employees.
With some thirty years experience of delivering IT solutions into the recruitment sector, there can be few people who have a better grasp of the market’s relationship with technology than John Smith, Chairman of outsourcing specialist Pertemps.
We talk to John about the emergence of managed IT services and why he believes they offer a compelling solution to the technological challenges faced by today’s recruitment business.
What benefits have you seen from the switch to managed services?
“By using a hosted application model rather than traditional on-site or remotely managed servers, Pertemps has been able to significantly reduce its administrative and IT support burden, allowing it, in turn, to concentrate resources on its core business of developing innovative payroll and back-office processing applications.
The fruits of that focus have been clear to see recently with the launch of a dedicated and sophisticated customer portal, which gives clients a highly secure, on-demand, web-based reporting facility.
The portal is driven by Microsoft’s SharePoint application, the hosting and support of which is again entrusted to Nasstar leaving Pertemps free to put all their energies into design and development work.
Pertemps clients meanwhile can simply tap into an ‘always-on’ suite of business support solutions, professionally delivered and proactively monitored 24/7 and enjoy the advantages without any of the worry of additional IT investment and resources.”
“By leveraging Nasstar’s hosting capabilities Pertemps has been able to give its customers a completely flexible solution, allowing seamless, uninterrupted access to both popular desktop applications and our bespoke payroll and complementary back-office systems.
More importantly, by out-tasking the IT management function to an IT specialist, it has also enabled us to flourish in our own specialist area: enriching, enabling and empowering clients.”
Why is the managed service concept such a good fit for this industry?
“Having moved nearly two hundred sites over from traditional in-house, fat client IT infrastructures to a fully managed, thin-client alternative, I’ve been able to compare the respective merits of both.
For me, the reason why managed or outsourced IT provision is so well suited to the recruitment sector is that it delivers big in three key areas: scalability, availability and agility.
Take the example of a thriving business that expands quickly to 750 staff and develops its own IT resources in line with this growth.
Then along comes a downturn and the company shrinks by 50% – yet it still has the hardware, software, licenses, comms and IT team of a company twice its current size.
That’s a lot of waste and essentially untenable in a sector where cost and price pressures are intense and the onus has to be on ‘lean working’.
With managed service, on the other hand, IT becomes a utility and therefore scalable – you use what you need and pay only for what you use.
The nature of the recruitment operation also demands the highest levels of system availability. Consultants need access to client and candidate data around the clock – if a client needs a temp at very short notice, or you have to interview a candidate after hours, you need to be able to get into the system immediately, you can’t afford for it to be down.
With managed services, the necessary availability and redundancy are implicit within the service – as long as you have an internet connection, you have ‘anytime, anywhere access', while the provider’s data centre is built with back-up and failover in mind.
Staff can simply get on with their work and concentrate on what they’re good at, with IT playing an enabling rather than a disabling role”