Building a Digital Core for a Leading Workforce Solutions Provider

Simply taking the initial step towards digital transformation but without a digital core will not equip organizations to lead in the digital economy.

Headway Workforce Solutions is a leading B2B North American staffing solutions provider. They uniquely connect organizations with superior talent and strategic workforce solutions that improve operational and financial performance. Their centralized and technology-driven nationwide delivery model provides a scalable, one-source, solution that accelerates recruitment and hiring performance while reducing employment resources and costs. Organizations achieve more effective and efficient direct-hire recruitment (sourcing, screening, assessing, interviewing, employer branding, et al).

Drive real, measurable business value

Headway needed to address increasing complexity across it’s infrastructure and accommodate growth for changing user demands. They needed their system to be more agile, resilient, and scalable to continue to provide market-leading workforce solutions. We joined their digital transformation mission and assisted in addressing any challenges that arose during digitization. We transitioned their system to a microservice model.

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To meet their product goals, the Spark Equation team ran an end-to-end analysis of the existing system and conducted a thorough discovery phase to understand where the product is now, where it needs to be, and where it will be in the future. Their system needed re-architecture to support their growing daily users, seamless integrations, and a robust digital core to enable them to drive real, measurable business value and confidently face the future of staffing without disruption of ongoing user platform activities.

Headway using Spark Equation’s end-to-end product creation platform, and working side by side with Spark Equations product consulting, we created a technology core, a master blueprint for their product. This allows them to build unique aspects of their business and extend the rest through 3rd party functionality, maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of resource allocation. Headway can now see a real-time holistic view of its end-to-end business processes thereby enabling front-end innovation, delivering agility, eliminating manual steps with automation, and providing a seamless user experience. This extended business view and the ability to seamlessly integrate with internal and external partners will drive strategic differentiation for the digital business in the future. 

Why is a Digital Core critical for business?

Increasing complexity is the greatest barrier to achieving digital transformation and unlocking the value of today's digital economy. When we looked into what's happening within our client's businesses and analyzed the challenges that they are facing, we found that businesses need a digital core to understand all the information that is moving in and out of their company. We also found that roughly less than 1% of data that exists in organizations is analyzed and turned into business benefits. Something that should be contributing to creating insights and opportunities is disjointed and widening the gap between providing user value and surviving in the digital economy.

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When working on the Headway project, we collected data from multiple sources, moved it into one centralized place, a data warehouse, and then organized it for optimal data retrieval.  We engineered it as straightforwardly as possible for near real-time analytics.

Decision-making is already complex, mix in management layers that prohibit accountability and lack transparency with no-real time single source of data. Real-time data cannot be brought together in a meeting or decision-making context because it always needs to be extracted from X amount of databases. The information that managerial teams need right now is never available on hand and teams end up looking at offline snapshots of different points in time, seeing only glimpses of the business vs. the full picture. 

For businesses everywhere and in all industries, this complexity comes at an enormous cost. Commonly faced challenges for products that lack a strong technology core and efficient integrations include:

  • Visibility - Clouded visibility into development workload, process, and results
  • Planning – Restriction in building a strong correlation between effort/result
  • Cost - Unpredictable cost in maintaining software and building dispensable features
  • Quality - Lower than desired product quality and user experiences
  • Delivery speed - Barriers to responding to changes rapidly in a sustainable manner and difficulty in scaling when demand increases
  • Agility -Complexity in enabling business growth and innovation

Businesses that aim to survive and thrive in the digital economy will need to become a technology business that provides an exceptional experience to their customers, partners, and employees based on real-time analytics. A digital core empowers organizations with live visibility into all mission-critical processes. This integrated system enables business leaders to manage and operate their business with ease while predicting, simulating, planning, and even anticipating future business outcomes. Simply taking the initial step towards digital transformation but without a digital core will not equip organizations to lead in the digital economy. 

Scale, innovate, and decrease technical debt in addition to:

  • Optimizing your business with cognitive analytics allows you to identify processes that lower value while optimizing processes to meet customer expectations
  • Achieving high-quality standards and metrics for how your product is built
  • Increasing transparency within the organization. Have clarity in what is being built, why it is being built, and what ROI is being achieved from your efforts
  • Increasing communication and collaboration across partner ecosystems accelerates time-to-market for new innovations and enables continuous delivery to your customers
  • Unifying engineering guidelines and practices, and creating a “product playbook”, so even if your team changes, the engineering processes don’t
  • Structured and defined delivery and management pipeline

Starting with the end-user, Headway’s digital core powers a connected staffing value-chain and provides personalized hiring experiences to new employees, including offer management, and onboarding, and provides HR with streamlined rapid time and expense reports to accelerate hiring performance and reduce employment costs based on real-time contextual information. The platform can even capture data that can be used to perform predictive analysis to discover hidden trends and gain insights into employee behavior and preferences. Headway connect is more than just an online HR portal, it’s a mobile-optimized comprehensive workforce solution meant to relieve the burden of having multiple sources to accelerate recruitment and hiring performance, while saving on operational costs.

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Benefits of a digital core:

  • Enables efficiency of the engineering process
  • Primes your product for innovation
  • Establishes transparency, predictability, and a high degree of consistency
  • Ensures effectiveness of product development practices
  • Facilitates the efficiency of project management practices and controls
  • Promotes communication consistency
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Results: Evolve, scale and transform

By digitizing Headways core, they lost the complexity that was weighing them down and will now be able to face the market disruption, focus on strong partner collaboration, business optimization, and customized workforce solutions. As customers evolve from being passive recipients to active consumers, agility is becoming increasingly critical. Businesses need solutions that allow them to meet the changing expectations of active consumers - and this is what Spark Equations digital core provides.