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Jobscience recruits Force.com for CRM Google integration

21st May 2009
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As the philosophy of platform as a service gains ground, Jobscience is the latest to come on board with a recruitment venture with Force.com. But is Salesforce CRM's platform likely to grow in popularity for custom application development?

By Stuart Lauchlan, news and analysis editor

The platform as a service (PaaS) philosophy is one that is being marketed by a number of vendors and appears to be gaining some traction among users. The latest company to make a commitment is Jobscience, a provider of automated workforce management, which has used Saleforce.com's Force.com development platform to produce an an application tracking system which natively integrates a Google Apps account with any edition of Salesforce CRM.

The Jobscience custom recruiting application allows SMEs to publicly broadcast jobs, accept online applications, and then use Google Docs to manage resumes and other recruitment-related documents.

"The recruitment industry is moving toward a candidate-centric, CRM-style approach to applicant tracking and we’re on the leading edge of that movement."

Ted Elliott, CEO, Jobscience

Jobscience specialises in offering automated application tracking and management solutions which integrate all major hiring and employee management functions via a central web interface. This, in turn, enables greater process automation and tight regulation of workflows between HR managers, recruiters and candidate, ultimately reducing the cost of hiring. Its solutions cover key functions such as standardised job descriptions, job posting, application tracking, HR policy, background checking and employee referral.

"The recruitment industry is moving toward a candidate-centric, CRM-style approach to applicant tracking and we’re on the leading edge of that movement," says Ted Elliott, CEO of Jobscience. "We believe Salesforce.com and Google have the strongest Cloud Computing platforms for CRM and document management, respectively. We also believe recruiters should have the best tools at an affordable price point, with functionality that helps them ultimately place higher quality candidates at an accelerated rate."

Home-baked solutions

But is this shift towards PaaS something that is cost effective and sensible for organisations to consider? Why not just 'glue together' existing packaged offerings? Analyst firm Nucleus Research reckons that based on its own studies, the Force.com Platform is 4.9 times faster than JAVA or .NET for premise application development.

Nucleus reviewed 17 companies that had used all three development platforms at different times over the last few years to create various home-baked solutions. The research firm calculated the ratio of time to develop in Force.com versus the others and found the time to deliver varied from a low of 1.5 times faster in Force.com to a high of 10 times faster, with an average of 4.9.

Other benefits of the PaaS Force.com approach include lower initial and upfront costs and greater ongoing flexibility. One study respondent is cited by Nucleus as saying: "Any time you develop you always have to be concerned with how it's going to behave in the operating environment and keep up with software upgrades. We don't have to worry about that.

"Traditionally, from one version to another, there's all the compatibility testing, code changes, continuous upgrades and huge infrastructure changes that have to be made to accommodate the latest releases. When your server needs to be upgraded you've got to match hardware and software to support custom apps. We don't have to worry about any of that."

"Analyst firm Nucleus Research reckons that based on its own studies, the Force.com Platform is 4.9 times faster than JAVA or .NET for premise application development."

The downside of this approach, as identified by Nucleus, was in the area of switching costs if an organisation decided to change its choice, but notes: "Users of Force.com considered there to be no greater risk of investment in Force.com than in any other platform, particularly given the speed of development. As one ISV said, 'We are stuck with Force.com much like you’re stuck with .NET. It would be a major pain with either if you had to move'."

Overall, the Force.com PaaS approach – while still in its infancy – shows promise. "Our in-depth analysis shows that Cloud Computing is dramatically changing the cost and time equation for custom application development," says Rebecca Wettemann, vice president, research at Nucleus Research. "Given the rapid time to value, lower cost and greater ongoing flexibility, Force.com is likely to grow in popularity as an option for custom application development."

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