2007 Deploy Solutions User Conference

January 24, 2007

Event: 2007 Deploy Solutions User Conference
January 21-24, 2007, at Disney's Boardwalk Inn Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

What: Auburndale, Massachusetts-based Deploy Solutions describes itself as a "leading provider of talent management software and services to large enterprises. Deploy enables organizations to attract, recruit, develop and retain employees more effectively through automation and a proven model for continuous improvement."

Conference info: For more information about the 2007 Deploy User conference, go

Conference Notes, Day 2—January 23, 2007

Morning keynote: Ray Sata, chairman and co-founder of Analog Systems and chairman of Deploy. Sata's breakfast keynote was focused on a hot topic, "The Challenge of Competing in a Flat World." Although Tom Friedman has written a book on the "flat world" theory, Sata's focus was more specifically targeted toward the challenge of continually improving the workforce in a global economy.

Sata drew comparisons between the booming economies of China and India versus the United States, particularly the new supply of cheap labor that has been unleashed in Asia. He also focused on how the U.S. is lagging educationally, particularly in engineering graduates, compared with the Asian countries.

Like others, Sata identified America's deteriorating public education system as a key to why the U.S. is falling behind China, India and so many other nations in producing science, math and engineering students who can fill our future needs. He thinks there needs to be a massive reform of the K-12 education system, but admitted that antiquated work rules, stifling bureaucracy, and powerful public teachers unions make reform difficult if not impossible. All in all, it was a sobering talk to start the morning with.

Southwest's hiring challenge: Think your company has a tough time dealing with the flood of résumés that hit when you advertise a job? Well, to get some perspective, consider what they deal with at Southwest. The airline hires about 1,000 flight attendants per year, according to one recruiting specialist at the conference, but gets 6,000 résumés per month—or more than 70,000 a year.

Monster numbers: Neal Bruce, vice president for alliances at Monster, also had some big numbers to talk about. He said that Monster adds about 40,000 new résumés per day and that the company has an overall growth rate of between 30 percent and 40 percent per year. Monster also has a strategic alliance with Deploy that allows job candidates who go through Monster and apply at a corporate Web site to use their Monster profile information to help speed them through the application process.

Lunch keynote: New York and Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers. A four-time winner of both the Boston and New York Marathons, Rodgers gave a rambling talk that pulled together the qualities that are needed to train and win a marathon and compared them to the qualities needed to succeed in business. Frequently, he noted, these are one and the same.

"You succeed step by step, and you learn as you go," Rodgers said, "and every little bit of success drives your momentum. You must be always learning and trying to get better."

A member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic Team, Rodgers said that he "got crushed" when he ran the marathon at the Montreal Games, but that his showing there drove him to rededicate himself and push to do better.

"The best athletes are the ones who can make a comeback," he said, and he pointed out that the same is true in business or any other field of endeavor.

Rodgers was an unconventional keynote speaker (he said he rarely talks before business groups), but he had an interesting story to tell about how he got into running, fell out of it, then came back with a drive that took him to his marathon victories. Although this was the least business focused of all the presentations at the Deploy conference, it seemed to have the broadest appeal, since Rodgers words of wisdom can be applied to anyone and any situation.

Jiffy Lube's approach: David Smith, senior HR consultant for Jiffy Lube International, gave a presentation on how Deploy helped Jiffy Lube streamline and quicken its application and hiring process. The most impressive part of the presentation was the numbers: Before going with Deploy, Jiffy Lube got 3 percent of its applicants through the Internet. After Deploy, the number jumped to 39 percent. Jiffy Lube is a division of Shell Oil.

Conference notes: Day 1—January 22, 2007

Orlando: Home of theme parks, alligators, and tech conferences. Why am I not surprised that the first conference of the new year would not only be a tech conference, but back where so many tech conferences seem to be held—Central Florida, near Orlando? Deploy may be relatively new to the user meeting game (this is only the third such event), but they have figured out that Florida is a pretty easy draw—especially in the winter.

Monday kickoff: Deploy's executive team—CEO Nicole Stata, CFO and COO Deirdre Aubuchon and VP of engineering Mike McGonagle—gave a brief review of the company and where it is going. A lot of the talk was about Deploy's growing presence in recruiting technology, both for salaried and hourly employees, and how companies can recruit better through better technological solutions.

Deploy is a young company (founded in 1997), but already has an impressive list of client companies including Southwest Airlines, Six Flags, Harley-Davidson, Jiffy Lube and the University of Michigan. Deploy also has a strategic alliance with Monster to work with large businesses with large hourly workforces to streamline the hiring process.

The company's "product vision," according to engineering VP McGonagle, is to A) continue to improve existing product lines to produce value to new and existing users and B) leverage the existing products as much as possible while building an integrated product suite to meet the emerging needs of Deploy's target market.

Although the kickoff discussion was extremely dry (no slides or visuals to wake up the early Monday morning crowd), everyone here was positive and upbeat, with little to no hype. That's a rare, but welcome, combination for a tech conference.

The scoop on recruiting: Mel Kleiman is president of Humetrics, and he gave a presentation on recruiting that would rival anything from Gerry Crispin or Lou Adler. Humetrics is a division of Deploy and for 25 years has been providing best-practice research to companies looking to optimize recruiting and hiring practices.

Kleiman gave a highly animated interactive talk on "Developing Your Candidate Sourcing Advantage." His premise? "Nobody is winning the war for talent" and that "all the good people are already working." According to Kleiman, most of the recruiting systems are built for people looking for jobs when what everybody really wants are those great hidden candidates—but they ready have a job. He listed these questions that world-class organizations (like those on Fortune's Best Places to Work list) are asking themselves when trying to recruit and hire:

  • Can we do this job differently, or without people?
  • Why should a candidate work for you?
  • How do we determine who is the best?
He also listed the four key things—the most important motivators—that all job seekers want:
  • A great relationship with their boss and co-workers.
  • Challenge and growth.
  • Quality of life (work/life balance).
  • An opportunity to learn.

His final words: The key to retention is simple—just hire bad people, because they never leave.

The scoop on job boards: Want to know how hot the job board business is? Just listen to John Malone, CEO of eQuest, one of Deploy's strategic partners. Malone's company manages the flow of job board postings on more than 1,000 unique job boards delivering 150 million job board transactions in 2006. During his part of a panel discussion, Malone gave some pretty amazing statistics on the growth of the job board/job posting business:

The Big Three job boards—Monster, CareerBuilderand Yahoo HotJobs—will jump from 28 million job postings in 2006 to about 37 million by the end of 2007. That's an increase of 32 percent.

Online recruitment advertising will jump from $5.9 billion in 2006 to about $10 billion by 2011—a 10 percent annual growth rate.

Half of all the jobs posted in 2006 were manually posted by individuals, an expenditure, according to eQuest, of 1.166 million hours.

—John Hollon