In less than three decades, specialized recruiting firm SThree has grown from a single office with four employees to a global operation with more than 2,700 employees in 44 offices spread over North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. However, with great expansion comes a great deal more pressure on IT services.
As the director of IT Services , SThree Senior Partner Garry Lengthorn is responsible for a team of more than 50 IT professionals. Based out of the London office, he and his team run SThree’s global IT operations—including the development of infrastructure services, telecommunications, security and support—for all 44 offices and a host of contract workers around the world.
In 2006, SThree opened offices in Asia and faced the challenge of working beyond the European time zone. The solution to the problem had to be cross-platform, integrate with a variety of technologies, and accommodate a great deal of onboarding and offboarding.
To keep up with the increasing demands on the IT department in a business serving multiple time zones, Lengthorn sought an autonomous solution that could scale with the firm’s growth. In 2007, he chose ActiveBatch to manage IT automation, and the firm continues to meet SThree’s needs.
“If you spend six months having to deal with a supplier, fix issues, do constant patching and overcome problems, the investment can really diminish,” Lengthorn explains. He says that has not been their experience with ActiveBatch. While they do have to do major version upgrades on a yearly basis, the downtime involved is not significant.
Accommodating System and Environment Changes
For a recruiting company like SThree, which has both permanent and temporary workers all over the world, effective onboarding and offboarding is critical to the success of the business, and ActiveBatch’s licensing point system accommodates system and environment changes without additional fees or licenses. Lengthorn likes the fact that it is not licensed per user because the recruitment business includes a lot of onboarding and offboarding, with a churn of around 30 percent a year in the 2,500 sales staff.
The company started to use ActiveBatch to handle 60 to 70 percent of the onboarding/offboarding process that was being done by a third-party tool. Today, ActiveBatch handles 90 percent. There were three drivers for this move, according to Lengthorn: savings, the need for a more robust system and a desire to simplify processes.
The result? SThree has saved a significant amount of money on license and maintenance costs and also has gained more flexibility.
Now when a new user joins the company, the IT team just runs an automated process in ActiveBatch to add an account and give the new user necessary access permissions. The process is also expedited for an employee who leaves: The account is decommissioned and access permissions are updated.
This flexibility and the ability to take on people quickly are very important to SThree. Changes often have to be made over the weekend, as employees leave or join the company.
Lengthorn reports that expediting the onboarding/offboarding process via automation allows the team to “hit the ground running.” He adds that you “just can’t put a price on that agility.”
The ability to minimize risk is vitally important. Lengthorn points outs that once people are no longer on staff, they need to be offboarded immediately so they can’t gain unauthorized access.