This blog post is the fifth in a series that will examine the pros and cons of different methods of creating and running a job board as the focus or part of a business. There are many reasons for creating a job board﹘it can be the centre of your business, a way to pipeline talent for your recruitment firm or staffing agency, or a way to help monetize your already traffic-heavy news/media website. This is the fourth installment of our series, and covers the ins-and-outs of installing software to run your job board’s technology. Also see: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
SaaS is the sassy-sounding acronym for the term “Software-as-a-Service”. It refers to software that lives on the Internet. The software is hosted by the service provider, and often in “the cloud”, as opposed to their own in-house servers.
SaaS can be delivered to the customer either through a shared online portal (e.g. all customers log onto the same website to use the software), or it can be delivered through unique customer instances (e.g. everything is hosted by the software provider, but is accessed through a customer’s own website).
Let’s get down to it, then. What’s good and bad about using SaaS to power your job board?
1. Seamless updates and upgrades. No downloading and installing. When the software is updated, bugs are fixed, or there are upgrades and improvements, you get them ASAP, without any hassle on your end.
2. Predictable costs. As with your other options, setting up a job board with a SaaS provider will usually incur an initial investment, and then you are charged on a regular basis for the service (usually monthly or yearly).
3. You’re paying for service, not just a product, which means means you have support if something goes wrong or or you need help. Your SaaS provider is responsible for hosting, monitoring, maintenance, and all that other technical stuff.
4. All that technical stuff is off your plate, because you’ve left it to experts. You can to focus on your core business of running a job board. Job boards, recruitment, connecting candidates and employers﹘this is an exciting space to be in right now, and there’s a lot of opportunity. When you know your job board is going to keep working and improving without stagnating, you’re left free to grow your business and tap into new opportunities.
5.Scalability. Growing your job board business with a SaaS partner backing you up can save you from a lot of stress, costs, and time-loss. Increases in traffic demands, storage needs, and expansion of services can cause growing pains for a lot of job boards. A good Software-as-a-Service provider will be able to manage that burden for you, and have plans and options in place to assist you in your growth.
6. Shared cost. Because the software provider is hosting everything, that means all of their other customers receive the same base product and service. (SaaS products are often available at several price points, with varying levels of features, but every tier delivers the same basic functionality.) So when new features are developed, and when fixes and improvements are made, you’re not the only one paying for it. Unlike an outsourced solution, the overall cost is defrayed, since you’re not the only one paying for it. (Learn more about the mechanics of SaaS in our Frequently Asked Questions.)
7. Faster innovation. Unlike on-premise/self-installed software, SaaS companies can develop their product and deliver more quickly to their customers. Software-as-a-Service company works on one code-base that’s used by all its customers, which means they don’t have to split focus between multiple versions and installations.
1. You need to read the fine print. Some SaaS providers may not be creating a unique instance for your job board, or otherwise segment your data so that it is separated from that of their other customers. The software provider may claim ownership over that data, including identifying information of your customers and users. That can be a big red flag if you’re in recruitment business, so make sure you understand your agreements and obligations.
2. There is such a thing as “fake SaaS”. There are a lot of software providers that claim to be SaaS, but actually operate as some kind of mid-way between installed/self-hosted software and Software-as-a-Service. It’s easy to get confused, especially if a company refers to their product as SaaS, and you don’t have the physical responsibility of installing or upgrading things yourself. One of the tell-tale signs of fake-SaaS is not providing updates/upgrades on a regular basis, and having that service part of your regular subscription fee. If you’re charged every time the provider wants to deliver an upgrade, and those upgrades only happen once in a blue moon, they are not delivering on their promise of being a Software-as-a-Service provider. Do your due diligence before signing up for a service﹘ask about how often updates are pushed, and how you pay for them.
3. There are limits to the level of customization you can commission from a Software-as-a-Service provider. A SaaS product delivers the same basic functionality to all its customers, and may have additional features available at higher price points. If you have functional requirements that are extremely specific and completely unique to you, you might get a big fat “no” from Software-as-a-Service companies when you ask for that level of customization. SaaS providers need to stay true to what benefits most or all of their customers. Stray too far from that shared purpose in your requests, and it becomes a whole other ball-game. After the software company develops the unique customizations, they’ll likely need to separate your hosting, maintenance, and monitoring work from the rest of their customer base. That means more time and labour required on their part, and more money on yours. Complicated? Yes. That’s why real SaaS providers will need to understand and evaluate requests for customization before acting, and why plenty of them don’t provide customization at all.
I know what you’re thinking: “Careerleaf is a SaaS, so this is clearly biased.” It’s true, Careerleaf does deliver its products through SaaS, and from what I’ve seen, we do it better than most other job board software providers who label themselves as SaaS.
That being said, part of why I wanted to write this blog series was to shine some light on other ways to create/upgrade a job board, and help readers comprehend what investing in a SaaS solution means for your board. Understanding both its benefits and limitations is important when selecting SaaS software to power your job board, and transparency about both can help you make the most of your options.
The fact is, different solutions make sense for different situations and types of business, and Careerleaf wants you to be happy with your choices. And nothing makes us happier than customers who use our software to take control of their business and grow their success.
I hope you’ve found this blog series helpful, and I’d love to hear about your experiences and insights into these methods of creating, updating, and maintaining a job board. Leave a comment or drop me a line at maddy[at]careerleaf[dot]com.
This the final installment of our “So You Wanna Build a Job Board?” series (for now), where we’ve covered five different ways to create or update an online recruitment website.
- So You Wanna Run a Job Board? Part 1: The DIY Project
- So You Wanna Run a Job Board? Part 2: Frankenstein’s Monster
- So You Wanna Run a Job Board? Part 3: Outsourcing Sorcery
- So You Wanna Run a Job Board? Part 4: Software Install, Legacy Catch-All
- So You Wanna Build a Job Board? Part 5 – Cover Your SaaS