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Are All Challengers A Threat?

February 18, 2016

David and Goliath syndrome in chess with a small dark pawn standing triumphant over a fallen light wood king on a white background

Every industry is ripe for disruption, but very few start-ups will turn their industry upside down in the style of Uber or Airbnb. The most that a new business can hope for is to appear in the rear view mirrors of the big boys, a distant menace, but a “threat” that is gradually coming closer and closer.

The industry leaders know their current competition well, much of which swarms around their head like hungry mosquitos, hoping for a life-sustaining few ml of blood. This is entirely normal, and any big player can sustain these losses without batting an eye.

However, when a challenger brand appears from nowhere and keeps getting ever bigger, there is much more to worry about. They have the momentum, they have the hunger, and corporate history is littered with stories of the little guy eventually taking their seats at the top table.

The same goes for industry sectors. Technology is revolutionising how companies do business – and there are entire “challenger sectors” that are changing the face of the working day. Over the past few years, SaaS (software as a service) companies have been sprouting like mushrooms. Many of them are saving us huge amounts of time and effort, although, as always, some are a complete waste of time.

For example, we provide a SaaS solution called Evertime, which provides a cutting edge pay and bill solution. With every passing year it is clear that software is replacing people. There is no bigger “challenger” trend than this.

However, will software be able to entirely usurp the hard-working individuals in the back offices of recruiters across the land? Will the challenger become the champion? Well, in my opinion, in this case, probably not.

There will have to be a partnership of sorts. I remain a big believer in the fact that people like working with other people, and that a machine could never replicate the warmth of a handshake or the twinkle of an eye. You can’t deny that technology is altering our workplaces, but in many industries, it will never replace them entirely.

So, if this particular challenger will not directly kill the existing players by replacing them, where does the danger lie? Why should it be considered a “challenger” if it is not going to offer the ultimate solution? Well, the simple fact remains that if companies ignore these advances and fail to integrate them into their businesses, in time, they will be at such a significant disadvantage, that their lack of competitiveness will be the prelude to their demise.

Recruiters can’t ignore the benefits of SaaS solutions, but they should not think that they can replace their back office entirely. You will always need competent people in the background of any business, and in a people industry like recruitment, this is not likely to change any time soon.

Peter Giltrap, Director EdenGroup