In early 2011, a Boston-based business intelligence/analytics start-up, InsightSquared, was launched and funded to bring best-of-breed business intelligence/analytics to SMBs, and for two years it has been making its mark by focusing predominantly on meeting those specialized needs in the staffing industry vertical.
In the staffing business, there are two basic reasons why we use information technology: (1) to automate existing or to support new processes, and (2) to access meaningful information that will enhance our decision making, execution, and strategizing. But achieving maximum value of information can be problematic, and most staffing firms usually don’t come close.
While every automation system we deploy in our staffing firm yields some degree of data and information for use in the conduct of the business, there are often structural circumstances which limit the information we can use and how effectively we can use it. Some of those limitations arise as follows:
- First, many staffing firms use a variety of separate systems across the enterprise (an ATS System, another Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System, another Telephony System, another Accounting System, etc.). While each of these individual systems may provide information, that information will tend to be fragmented into different silos. The ability to be able to analyze and gain insight across these silos (for example to measure “cost of hire”) is constrained.
- Second, even though there are some available staffing firm-targeted “full enterprise solutions,” which enable much more integrated information across different business functions and processes, the majority of staffing firms do not currently use these integrated enterprise solutions. Furthermore, while enterprise or functional systems do provide access to information through reporting, dashboard, analytics interfaces and tools, these systems have been designed to be best-of-breed in achieving a range of functional ends (they are not systems designed to enable best-of-breed business intelligence, analytics, and metrics across staffing firms). Overlaying a generic business intelligence/analytics application (e.g. Cognos, MicroStrategies, et al) is usually a costly proposition and beyond the technical and business capacities of most staffing firms.
- Third and last, no matter what systems are deployed (and however integrated they might be), typically poor data quality always sets limits to what meaningful, usable information can be obtained from the underlying data sets. Without clean, accurate, complete data, the value of information and analysis will be well below the optimal. Even though staffing firms know that a tremendous competitive advantage can be achieved by having better business intelligence, poor data quality is endemic across the industry and the challenge of overcoming that problem seems insurmountable for busy staffing firm managers.
But all hope should not be lost. InsightSquared offers a cost-effective approach to addressing all three of these challenges (including the third, “yukky” one), and it fills a gap for staffing firms that, for the most part, may not be filled by individual enterprise/functional solutions or generic, horizontal vendors of business intelligence/analytics platforms and tools.
InsightSquared represents itself as follows:
InsightSquared provides advanced reporting and analytics for staffing and recruiting firms. Native reporting in Applicant Tracking software can be challenging, time consuming, and only as reliable as the data in the system. InsightSquared is automated, visual, and gives you actionable insights into your data within two clicks of the mouse. We provide the tools to rid yourself of the "garbage-in, garbage-out' model that is synonymous with reporting, and help you run your business by the numbers.
InsightSquared provides a powerful cloud-based business intelligence/analytics platform and intuitive set of tools that bring together valuable information and insights across the different functional systems of the staffing enterprise (today, InsightSquared supports integrations with various staffing industry ATS solutions as well as Saleforce.com CRM, ShoreTel Sky Telephony, and Intuit-Quickbooks Accounting.
Example Dashboard (Click to enlarge):
It also brings expertise and prebuilt data schemas and software components (e.g. dashboards, queries, etc.) that have been optimized for use within staffing enterprises (so, a whole lot better than using a generic, horizontal BI vendor or trying to pull it all together in Excel spreadsheets). Beyond this, InsightSquare also delivers software features and a simple process methodology for setting data quality goals and actually working toward them.
The up and up: InsightSquared is a relatively new player in the staffing industry, with a targeted platform solution and set of offerings that seem to be really hitting the mark in helping staffing firms improve their business IQ and competitiveness.