SIA’S Workforce Solutions Ecosystem © Crain Communications Inc

The concept of a business ecosystem was first coined in the early 1990s by James Moore and is now most commonly used to describe an array of technology products connected to each other ( through an API integration or other method) to a central hub or platform around which many areas of business are conducted.

In the staffing and recruitment industry, such an ecosystem would ideally harness the best available technology for each area of the business – ensuring relevant data can flow unimpaired between the various products required, through seamless integration. Only then can the gains in efficiency, productivity and control be achieved through this array.

The human element

Even when the technology is all in place and working smoothly, this leaves out a VERY important ingredient of the staffing ecosystem – all the people that interact, do business and find work through such a technological platform.

Both living and non-living aspects are vital to the functioning of any ecosystem, be it a business ecosystem or a natural one – like a coral reef.

Without the human element, the ecosystem would be like a stage without any actors (at least in the current era where AI and robots have not yet taken control of every element of work and production)![2]

This need for the human element in a business ecosystem, means it has more in common with natural world ecosystems (such as coral reefs or rainforests) than you’d think.

Without the human element, the business ecosystem would be like a stage without any actors.

As pointed out by James Osborne in his recent talk entitled ‘Ecosystem of Excellence’ [3] , the interdependence between the various human roles in a business ecosystem mirrors that between the various species in a natural ecosystem. In the example of Pixid’s contingent staffing management platform, Pixid VMS for instance; the recruitment suppliers, their clients and the contingent staff supplied through the system are highly interdependent.

However, that may be where the similarity ends.

You cannot simply ‘backup’ a coral reef, for instance. Once the coral is bleached, the reef-based ecosystem cannot function properly (for several years at least) and there is danger of permanent ecosystem collapse. By contrast, a technology-based ecosystem can be far more robust. Even if a server fails in one location, data can be backed up and replicated instantly across geographies – supplying and processing the data seamlessly in such a way that the ‘living creatures’ of the business ecosystem (the workers, staffing suppliers, MSPs and their clients etc) would be able to continue interacting and going about their business as if nothing had happened.

Bolstering your resilience

That said, just as a natural ecosystem is vulnerable to attack from plastic pollution, deforestation and climate change – a tech-based business ecosystem is potentially vulnerable to cyber-attack, computer viruses and other forms of malicious interference. This makes robust data security measures imperative, especially in an age where such attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated; hence Pixid Group continues to uphold the ISO-27001 data security standard as part of our ongoing security policy. With these high standards of data security, Pixid can provide you with a robust and reliable hub around which to build a talent acquisition ecosystem, in conjunction with your existing software.

However, the resilience and reliability of the human element of your business ecosystem is not something Pixid, or any other technology provider can guarantee. We can only achieve this by ensuring we all keep vigilant for attempts to exploit human error as a vulnerability (through phishing etc) and even more importantly – we have to work together to preserve the natural ecosystems on which we all depend – for our business to function as well as ‘for every breath of air we take and every mouthful of food we eat’.[4] Only then can a staffing industry ecosystem, even one built on the best technology available, offer a better and brighter future for all humans involved in this vital industry.

By Daniel Kieve, Pixid UK & Ireland