Adecco Group\u2019s national IT solutions manager and former acting CIO, Giovanni Ambrosini, believes automation and robotics are having a sweeping and profound effect on the recruitment market. The Adecco Group is a global recruitment firm. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, it is considered the largest temp staffing firm in the world, and a Fortune Global 500 company.\u201cWe\u2019re looking at, and introducing automation, robotics and chatbots,\u201d he told CIO Australia, explaining the company is looking at it from both an outward \u2018customer-engaging\u2019 approach and an internal business process manoeuvre approach. \u201cWe have an outward and an inward focus. From the internal perspective, there\u2019s a real focus around automation and robotics to digitally reengineering and shape our workplace for today and position our company going forward\u201d One project involved the use of software automation to reduce the amount of manual data entry required for the annual award and rates change for a number of associates. \u201cThe traditional process would have taken us many weeks to input; we reduced it to twelve hours over a weekend with no manual intervention required.\u201d Other projects have used automation to help in the area of Accounts Receivable to improve data validation, accuracy and eliminate data entry, also for its Work Health and Safety group to support auto data extraction, matching and reporting. Ambrosini, who recently performed an acting CIO role, prepared a two-year digital roadmap that involved a business transformation strategy that includes the transition to cloud services, business intelligence, mobile applications, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Chatbot fever On the AI front, the company is looking at the chatbot space to help it better identify candidates and determine their suitability for a role, and then automatically set up interviews with consultants. It is working to see how it can humanise the technology. \u201cCandidate experience and talent identification is a component of our strategy going forward. Chatbots can assist our business source, identify and match talent quickly. We are looking to further leverage chatbots to improve experiences of potential candidates and enable them to meet a consultant as quickly as possible. This will be more profound with our large events when we are required to source several thousand potential candidates\u201d Ambrosini recognised the company needs to adopt these types of emerging technologies like chatbots and robotics in order to stay competitive and relevant in the age of the ever-changing and technologically savvy customer. \u201cWe\u2019re starting to change the way we interact with people. How we engage. What forms of medium we use. But we\u2019re also being mindful that our demographic continues to evolve, and our engagement approach needs to offer choice\u201d Ambrosini said there\u2019s six big global megatrends affecting the overall recruitment business landscape: Geopolitical, automation and robotics; talent scarcity; reskilling; the gig economy (the move to a much more freelance employment space); and Big Data. \u201cFrom an Australian landscape perspective, the recruitment industry is valued at about just over $11 billion dollars. We have around 7,000 companies that play in this space, which is significant and that number is growing.\u201d With the rise of software-as-a-service type products on the market, the entry point has been simplified, and it is far easier for people to enter into this space and start recruitment firms, however small. \u201cIt has become easier to enter our market, and that\u2019s put pressure on existing companies like ours to continue to differentiate in the marketplace,\u201d he said. He said today\u2019s recruitment firms have to deal with not only margin pressure - which isn\u2019t dissimilar to other industries - but the growing issue of the identification of suitable talent. Clients are becoming much more particular in the types of individuals they are looking for and want a much more tailored approach. As a result, the \u2018people and search\u2019 criteria becomes so important to clients, who are looking for timely results on potential candidates. \u201cThere\u2019s a major opportunity in regards to how you leverage your existing database and how you improve the experience with your current candidate pool and your engagement with your clients.\u201d Data the sweet spot Ambrosini said the company has created a data warehouse, as the foundation layer, and plans to beef up its data strategy by pooling data sets in order to gather more insights. \u201cWe\u2019re positioning to pull more data into it. We\u2019re currently pooling financial data, and will begin to pool data traffic from Salesforce, and other sources. As our data pools grow, it will continue to enhance our ability to provide analytics ability from various business perspectives.\u201d Looking ahead, he said the company is also eyeing the Internet of Things (IoT). \u201cHow do we leverage the investments that we\u2019re making in our business in the analytics space with IoT?\u201d\nHe said the company has already done a little bit of work with a mining client that involved tracking the analytics knowledge and IoT capabilities on maintenance equipment.