The Birth Of An Infosphere

Consider the magnitude of this data: Close to two MILLION Web pages are created everyday! It has been estimated that IBM’s website today is the size the entire Web was in 1994. 132 BILLION email messages were exchanged in 1999; it is projected that 432 BILLION emails will be sent in 2003! Recruiting is no exception. IBM received one million visitors to its career pages last year. Hewlett Packard receives 2,500 resumes every day. It is estimated that more than 20 million resumes are online in 2000! Never before has information been so readily available. Never before has communication been so ubiquitous and fast. Never before has the need for systematic information processing been so great. At the core of this infosphere is one new concept: the Web interface. The Web represents much more than an advance in technology. The universal Web interface has been at the center of three major evolutions: disintermediation; client/server to ASP; and EDI to VPN. Disintermediation The first step into this infosphere is the phasing down of the low value intermediaries, and the creation of direct access for consumers to the vendors. This can be either for information or goods, for products and for services. Financial information presents a good example. Now you can have access to as much information as any stockbroker: to real time quotes, annual reports, analyst reports, newsgroups, market feedback and more. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> In the shift from indirect to open communications and connections, recruiting is no exception. Job seekers can now access all the corporate employment openings, evaluate them, review the company and enter into direct contact with it. Geographic and time barriers are broken, as is the traditional requirement for a third-party broker between employer and employee. The Web’s accessibility and penetration enables high volume self-service. But associated with this disintermediation frenzy comes an unmanageable deluge of information. For these unprecedented levels of information to be useful, processes need to be re-engineered. From Client/Server to ASP In response to this info-surge, many companies started to try to adapt their internal processes to deal with the information flow coming from this new source, the Internet. Countless attempts have been made to integrate front-end applications with a variety of client/server back-ends. This solution quickly proved to be inadequate and professional vendors unifying front-end data gathering with back office data processing came as an invaluable solution. This is the genesis of the ASP (Application Service Provider) model. Corporations now have faster, better and cheaper applications to use to manage the infosphere. Now, with the ASP model, corporations can take advantage of technology, outsourcing, and specialization to foster their own growth and productivity. Here again, recruiting is no exception. Best of breed Internet recruiting solutions are available now in an ASP model, allowing corporations to integrate sophisticated front and back-end functionality, implement in a few weeks and pay on results. From EDI to VPN The third evolution is related. The infosphere facilitates the management of customer relations, but that is only part of what it allows. Early on, corporations utilized custom-developed EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) to send data and connect with their supply chain. On the back office side, vendors, in order to manage their inventory better, started to substitute their costly EDI (or time consuming fax/phone) supplier management with Web-enabled solutions. The link here is the VPN (Virtual Private Network). Instead of a technology-encumbered solution, EDI’s operational advantages can be realized more quickly, more cost-effectively and more easily by using the infosphere capability as a VPN. Instead of the linear and limited communication of EDI, the new online exchanges open up the possibility for many-to-many partner relationships. This is the full extent of what the infosphere allows: a complete information flow between consumer, corporation, vendor and suppliers. The ASP is the tool of choice because the medium is the Internet. Recruiting is no exception here as well. The network of services required for recruiting is starting to be embedded into all the main processes to streamline the procurement tasks. The evolution of disintermediation, client/server to ASP, and EDI to VPN each have their corresponding analogy in recruiting. In that context, recruiting on the Web:

  • is all about information transfer;
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  • puts the consumer in direct contact with the corporation, where both benefit from disintermediation;
  • has a relatively standard process and can be easily automated into an ASP;
  • requires a fair amount of external providers, and benefits from a network of partners.

The implications of the infosphere big picture apply to many vertical activities. Recruiters should recognize these macro trends and be ready for the wave!

Yves Lermusi (aka Lermusiaux) is CEO & co-founder of Checkster. Mr. Lermusi is a well known public speaker and a Career and Talent industry commentator. He is often quoted in the leading business media worldwide, including Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Business Week, and Time Magazine. His articles and commentary are published regularly in online publications and business magazines. Mr. Lermusi was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the Recruiting Industry” and his blog has been recognized as the best third party blog.