Express takes a lean path to the cloud

A recruitment start-up is using the data crunching abilities of outsourced computing to revolutionise the process of matching candidates to jobs.
Written by Drew Turney, Contributor

The recruitment industry is worth AU$3bn a year in Australia alone, and it is facing an uncertain future in the face of disruptive recruitment technology, says Dr. Glyn Brokensha.

Brokensha wants the company he co-founded, Expr3ss! (Express), to be one of those disruptors. With seven staff and several part-timers, and big plans to expand, the company is using software and the cloud to bring greater accuracy, speed and accountability to the way employers find and match applicants to jobs — decidedly more efficient than a human pouring over paper resumes and client files to find a match.

"Before cloud computing, it was a challenge to add more RAM or CPU power to a machine," Brokensha said of his pre-cloud experience. "You'd have to contact your hosting provider and organise an adjustment that could take weeks."

Express started using cloud computing in 2011, but Brokensha says it wasn't until the arrival of senior engineer Tom Rothwell that the company seriously saw the benefits. Express adopted software as a service with Heroku and Amazon, and today enjoys what Brokensha calls "rock solid support and performance" through Rackspace.

"Hosting companies have dropped pricing significantly, making it a real competitor against dedicated server set-ups," he said. "It's great for businesses looking to only pay for what they use, and not a monthly fee for renting servers."

"First impressions are everything. It's essential to have a fast and reliable set-up otherwise you could be losing potential customers," he added

Another driver for Express is ease of use. Brokensha said that if there's a surge in traffic causing slow responses, he and his team can quickly scale their set-up to allow for it at the click of a button and with no down time.

Being a tech start-up, the plan to adopt cloud services was more to do with a philosophy of following lean and agile technologies, rather than any formal strategy. Even so, Brokensha might have beaten the technology curve in the early stages.

"My first experience with cloud technology wasn't the best because of technical limitations with providers," he said. "The concept was still relatively new." 

However, this early experience and learning stood the company in good stead to take advantage of the increased range and reliability of cloud service providers.

Express also had enough experience trialling different products to feel confident handling the migration themselves rather than enlist a third party service integrator.

"It was simple enough deciding on the best product for our needs," Brokensha said. "But for newcomers without technical knowledge, a consultant might be a good option simply due to number of options. I'd recommend testing a Platform as a Service to gain some experience."

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