Build vs. Buy: Why we developed Sutro in-house

Last week, we gave you a glimpse of Sutro 4, the internally-developed technology that is helping us get one step closer to full-stack recruiting. Of course, Riviera isn’t unique in our use of software to manage the recruiting process--nearly every recruiting firm, and many companies, has some sort of internal database, which for the most part consists of some form of 3rd party applicant tracking system (ATS). What is unique is our decision to develop and build our own software platform.

This decision wasn’t driven by lack of options. There is no shortage of 3rd party ATS systems, and we reviewed and assessed many of them. In addition, there have been a variety of data-aggregation tools emerging in the marketplace. Companies like Gild, Entelo, Hired, and many more have all been putting forth powerful point solutions to evolve how people recruit talent. Rather, we realized that none of these options captured the whole recruiting picture.

Some tools are designed around only the recruiter experience. Since recruiters are the primary user, these solutions often aim to provide an intuitive solution that makes their day to day easier. The software in this case is optimized to provide a recruiter with a means to an end: make a single placement and then move on. Lather, rinse, repeat. There are also companies tackling the candidate side of the equation by empowering them with choice over their career options. By making it easier for candidates to self-select what they want to do and where they want to work, they’re introducing a revised inbound and on-demand approach to hiring.

As we evaluated the various tools and wrestled with the “build vs. buy” paradigm, we observed a somewhat consistent theme that led us to where we are today. Many of these solutions seemed to be one party-centric and weren’t addressing all the players: the recruiters, the candidates and the clients. Successful recruiting engagements are comprised of a harmonious balance between all three parties, and we couldn’t seem to find an all-encompassing solution.

This made our decision clear. We needed to build a tool that considered the implications of the full-stack recruiting experience. The ideal solution needed to address how to make recruiters smarter and more efficient; how to help candidates make better informed decisions; and how to provide the best matches to clients. At the same time, it needed to deliver full transparency, streamline the decision-making process, and help us deliver the best service and experience. And these were the seeds that sprouted Sutro.

Sutro 4: The First Step Toward the Future of Recruiting

In case you missed it, we’ve declared that full-stack business is the future of recruiting. One of the key components in this type of business is internally developed technology that supports the people, systems and processes surrounding it. Here at Rivi, this consists of a vision where we fundamentally change the experience of our three key end-users through enhanced technology: our recruiters, our clients, and our candidates. Solving first for our own recruiters, we’ve developed Sutro 4.0, an internal data aggregation platform that allows us to better engage with our clients and candidates. Getting to this point didn’t happen overnight – it has been an evolution, and there are more steps ahead.

As our vision began to manifest throughout the company, we were more frequently running into the limitations of the out-of-the-box applicant tracking system (ATS) that we had employed for years. We had a deep understanding of how we could deliver a better recruiting experience to our customers, but were lacking in tools to do so; our infrastructure needed to be changed which lead us to our early iterations of Sutro. When we initially started working on Sutro, we brought on a third-party development shop, eAlchemy, who were instrumental in getting the platform off the ground.

This decision was relatively straightforward as with many new initiatives: while we had domain expertise, we did not have the internal development resources to move forward on the project.  Since we felt it was important to move quickly into the build, we didn’t want to put a hiring effort in front of the initial development. While this may seem somewhat counterintuitive to a recruiting agency, it was the best way to move quickly toward our core focus of ensuring we moved away from our third-party ATS and put the building blocks in place for our vision.

Now, we’re no longer building on top of a third-party app. Instead, we’ve developed our own internal software. Like any software development effort, there were a number of challenges in meeting the requirements of our internal users, the recruiters. We benefitted significantly from all their input and patience as we moved through this major endeavor; what we expect to be a definitive turning point in the evolution of Riviera. Since our launch of Sutro, we have continued to make down payments through additional feature functionality as we pursue our broader goal of changing the recruiting experience.

There’s a huge opportunity to improve the recruiting business, and a big piece of that revolves around technology. Developing that technology in house is one of the steps necessary to move recruiting into the future. Sutro is just one our critical tools allowing us to get to the next level of service; its unique aggregation and presentation of data and insights helps the recruiter make the best possible matches, which ultimately delivers a better experience to clients and candidates alike.

Wired - Full-Stack Business Is the Future of Recruiting

There's a reason companies like Uber and Airbnb have multi-billion dollar valuations. Full-stack businesses are leading the market these days. They're tough to get right, because you need to get both the software and the people side just right. But once you can provide the full solution to the end user, you can grab the entire economic benefit of every transaction while best serving your customers. This is exactly the direction recruiting needs to be headed in the future. Rivi co-founder Ali Behnam gives the full story on Wired's Innovation Insights.

(Wired) - Full-Stack Business Is the Future of Recruiting

Nest, Netflix, Airbnb. I bet you’ve heard of those. And often. Full stack startups are all the rage these days. In fact, A16Z is on record with identifying the Full Stack Startup, cryptocurrency and transformation of the data center as the three areas that have the potential to create some of biggest disrupters and winners in tech industry.

For those who are unfamiliar, a full stack business is a technology-enabled product or service that directly provides the full solution to the end customer unlike other technology startups that sell their product or service as a technology for internal use typically to the CIO. A full stack business doesn’t charge for the use of the software.

Instead, they charge for the transaction (booking a room in the case of Airbnb) and can grab the full economic benefit of the service. They are the hardest services to get right given you need to get the software and people side right, but if you get it right, they are the hardest business to replicate based on all the interlocking aspects of the business.

Read the full article here...