Recruitment platform makes use of global dynamics

One of the first products to make use of Microsoft’s latest customer relationship management (CRM) technology is being released to the recruitment industry.

October 2013 | By Sue Weekes

One of the first products to make use of Microsoft’s latest customer relationship management (CRM) technology is being released to the recruitment industry. 

Mercury xRM, from technology provider and recruitment firm Crimson, is built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 platform and has been developed specifically for recruiting. The software aims to offer recruiters one platform for taking and posting a vacancy and sourcing relevant CVs through to assigning candidates to a vacancy for shortlisting. Its latest incarnation will take advantage of new features in the CRM platform, including better collaborative and knowledge-sharing facilities and additional mobile functionality. 

Crimson has been a Microsoft Gold Partner for some years, developing across other areas as well as recruitment. Chris Kendrick, recruitment services director at the firm, told Recruiter that the recruitment product first came about after Crimson was dissatisfied with the software available on the market. “We looked into the market to address the demands we had as a recruitment business … but we couldn’t find anything that was integrated with what we wanted,” he said. 

The company then set about developing and integrating it with what it saw as best-of-breed products such as Broadbean and Daxtra. “But we also wanted to evolve these beyond where they finished as stand-alone products. So with Broadbean we wanted to post to multiple sites and allow a recruiter to do it not just on their own behalf but on behalf of other people.” 

The Microsoft CRM platform allows developers to customise workflows to suit different business processes and Crimson maximised this capability to build efficiencies into the system and a high level of automation. “The objective was to take away up to 70% of recruitment admin,” said Kendrick. The product also has some vendor management functionality built in, which Kendrick said might appeal to people that aren’t in the “full-blown RPO space” but may need to work with other agencies in the recruitment process.

Mercury xRM was originally launched to a select number of recruiters two years ago and transitioned to the cloud last year. It is now being made available to a wider audience. It integrates with Microsoft Office and so can be run from within Outlook, “where recruiters spend much of their day”, said Kendrick. 

One of the early users of the product was contractor services provider Professional Representation Network (PRN). Managing partner Jon Summers said it allowed PRN to deliver high levels of service to contractors and recruiters with the minimum of staff. He added: “There are two key areas where we feel this leads the market: the ease of processing a CV into our database and the powerful search ability which quickly produces a refined shortlist of preferred contractors.”

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is not a familiar product name in the recruitment software market but much like Salesforce’s Force.com development platform, it is likely to become more widespread as take-up of the cloud increases. In August, Recruiter reported on Talent Rover, which is built on the Force.com platform. Global CRM platforms such as these make it easier for recruitment firms to scale up their businesses and allow a small company to tap into the development expertise of world-leading software houses. 

Kendrick believes one of the key strengths of such platforms is that they are also able to take advantage of the next “big thing” as soon as it comes along. “There are some fantastic recruitment systems out there but some are built in a highly bespoke way and aren’t nimble enough to quickly take advantage of innovations or even changes in legislation,” he said, adding that future developments of Mercury xRM will drive more efficiency in the area of compliance.

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