Part two: A prudent businessperson's
guide to applicant tracking systems
Written by MedZilla Staff
In part one of this series, I offered
seven strategies for investing in Web-based
applicant tracking systems (ATS). After
all, there are important questions to
ask about the systems, including: How
can I protect my data from becoming the
property of someone else?
This series is designed to help you answer
that and other questions about ATSs. Refer
to the last article for the first of the
14 tips. Here are the remaining seven
precautions that any prudent businessperson
should take when investing in products
and services provided by another company.
Of course, these can be applied in the
case of ATSs.
Ask whether the vendor
met its service-level agreement 100
percent of the time. Ask for the company's
entire client list and tell your contacts
there that you want to call those on
the list. Ask current clients about
reliability, customer support, data
backup, and how well the vendor's development
staff communicated during the setup
phase. Would those references use that
vendor if they had to do it again?
Ask the vendor if it
has a profitable business entity? If
profitable, ask for profit-and-loss
statements from the last two years.
If not, find out why. Is the vendor
public or private? Who are its investors?
If private, what is the source of its
Ask if the company is
for sale or involved in any transactions
to expand or become acquired?
Ask questions about
the vendor's data center. Who owns it?
How many people work there? Who has
access to your data? Who owns the data?
Who converts the data? Who owns the
interfaces? Who fixes problems?
Ask about the backup
and disaster recovery processes. Do
competitors that use the same data center
have access to the servers? Are they
sharing the servers with other companies?
Can the routers easily be switched off?
Make sure you fully
document your system's source code.
You need to know exactly how your system
works if that vendor goes belly-up.
What's more, you don't want programmers
to be the only people holding your company's
information. If they leave, they take
that knowledge with them.
Finally, get everything
in writing. I spoke to an HR professional
who was a client of iSearch.com, an
ATS vendor that recently went out of
business. She used the experience she
gained from having one vendor close
up shop and took extra precautions with
her new vendor. She had the new vendor
put the product code in an escrow account
with instructions that her company had
the right to obtain the code and run
the application in-house-just in case
the company goes out of business.
Over the course of the next several
weeks we'll explore more on the world
of ATS, providing you with the information
you need to make informative decisions.