ZurickDavis increases sales by approximately 120 percent annually

Social business software from IBM helps speed candidate placement and nearly double profits

Published on 07-Nov-2012

"Our social business solution has created a new companywide culture of information sharing. This helps us better collaborate and make decisions on potential candidates for our clients, enhance customer service and tap in to new marketplaces." - Jeff Zegas, Chief Executive Officer, ZurickDavis


Professional Services

Deployment country:
United States

Mobile, Social Business for Recruiting and Onboarding, Social Business

IBM Business Partner:
● Innovative Ideas Unlimited, Inc.


Headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts, ZurickDavis is a boutique executive search firm that recruits senior-level business, clinical and research executives for healthcare organizations nationwide and abroad. The privately owned company also finds interim leaders to serve during the search process and provides leadership coaching services.

Business need:
Executive search firm ZurickDavis needed to improve information sharing among staff members to find and place job candidates more quickly.

The company implemented a collaboration solution based on social business software from IBM that helps employees effectively manage two dynamic data sets: available positions and interested parties.

Staff members now place candidates up to 25 percent faster, more than doubling sales

Case Study

Headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts, ZurickDavis is a boutique executive search firm that recruits senior-level business, clinical and research executives for healthcare organizations nationwide and abroad. The privately owned company also finds interim leaders to serve during the search process and provides leadership coaching services.

Keeping on top of shifting information

ZurickDavis needed to share accurate information with key stakeholders about available executive-level openings and candidates. Such data changed constantly. New information about placement opportunities or available talent often surfaced in casual conversations with colleagues and friends in both social and business settings. Quickly sharing and acting on this information was vital to the company’s success.

However, the only shared application was a database for contact information. Staff members maintained their own files and relied heavily on email to communicate. They often shouted across the office to confirm that information was up-to-date or to exchange informal observations. ZurickDavis sought a collaborative solution to improve staff productivity and accelerate placement of qualified candidates.

Enhancing information flow

ZurickDavis engaged IBM Business Partner Innovative Ideas Unlimited, Inc. to implement a solution based on the IBM® Lotus Notes® and Domino® platform. To begin, the project team created a custom application enabling ZurickDavis to better maintain and use its email list. The customization allows the company to publish placement opportunities in a central location for access when needed.

In addition to email, employees now communicate using instant messaging capabilities provided by IBM Lotus® Sametime® software. Further, IBM Lotus Quickr® software allows employees to store and share files, with version control to help ensure access to the most current content. The solution integrates information related to job opportunities, candidate profiles and experience, employee notes, and current and past search data. Role-based interfaces foster information sharing among stakeholders within and outside the company.

Expanding information sharing opportunities

The lifeblood of ZurickDavis is people connecting with people. Available with the solution at no additional charge, IBM Lotus Notes Traveler software supports information sharing in a wide variety of settings. It helps ZurickDavis principals and staff members stay connected with full-featured Lotus Notes and Domino platform access to email, calendars and contacts from their mobile devices while safeguarding sensitive information and helping ensure adherence to company policies.

For example, suppose during an informal conversation on a golf course, a ZurickDavis executive finds out that a previously placed candidate moved into a higher position at another organization. With access to the corporate directory from his iPhone device, he can update relevant contact information at his convenience. And if, during a follow-up call with the former candidate, he discovers she will soon have positions to fill, there’s no delay in updating staff members who can incorporate the latest information in their existing searches.

This ability to capture and act on relevant information from almost anywhere at virtually any time is revolutionizing the way ZurickDavis does business. Information sharing drives success at the individual and company level. Location is secondary. Staff members now work remotely in ways they never imagined just a few years ago.

Accelerating candidate placement

Today, when a candidate responds to a posting, the solution automatically captures profile information, applies it to the appropriate job, displays any job opportunities for which the candidate previously expressed interest and reports whether he or she was considered for other positions. When ZurickDavis staff members enter additional information, including notes from conversations, the content is immediately accessible by other internal users.

During the placement process, the system captures information about all candidates considered for each position, those recommended to the customer, those interviewed, the candidate selected, and the agreed-on compensation. It also tracks the average time it takes to fill positions. Metrics collected include data on which searches take the most time and what stages of a search are most problematic, who in the company was the lead on the opportunity and who provided support.

These metrics show productivity is up significantly since implementing the IBM solution. The same number of staff completes 30 percent more searches annually, and the amount of time it takes to fill a position decreased by as much as 25 percent. Because costs stayed largely the same during this period, ZurickDavis profits have risen almost 100 percent.

Reducing the cost of doing business

The solution also helps ZurickDavis decrease the cost of doing business, which is another factor in increased profitability. For example, to encourage referrals, ZurickDavis advertises openings in a broadcast email to subscribers. Maintaining this email list was highly labor-intensive because all changes and deletions were manual. The IBM solution helps enable self-service. Subscribers can update their own contact information or unsubscribe if they want to be removed from the list. The system processes the changes automatically. ZurickDavis increased the number of regular email subscribers by approximately 200 percent while eliminating staff time spent processing list changes. The solution also provides a full audit history so the company can validate distribution list additions, changes and removals.

In some instances, manual updates are still required, for example, verifying contact information from a trade show. ZurickDavis uses the XPages web application development framework, available with IBM Lotus Domino 8.5 software, to cleanse and update data and make it available through a Web 2.0-style interface to contractors or interns. Because these temporary employees can work in a common and familiar web browser, they are immediately productive. And, from an administrative perspective, system access is much easier to set up and control.

ZurickDavis also saves money on facilities. The enhanced communications and collaboration capabilities of the IBM solution mean that staff members don’t have to share office space to stay informed. Instead of shouting across physical space, they use Lotus Sametime software to rapidly update and query one another. In addition, Lotus Notes Traveler mobility software helps enable some employees to work remotely. Largely because staff can work more closely and quietly together within and outside the office, ZurickDavis actually downsized its physical space, saving significantly on rent.

Planning for continued profitable growth

Because of increased sales, ZurickDavis is now hiring and moving to larger facilities. Mainly through improved information sharing, staff members can handle more placements simultaneously, boosting sales by roughly 120 percent annually. With ongoing enhancement to the IBM solution, ZurickDavis plans to continue growing the business profitably. Recently, ZurickDavis implemented IBM Connections software to improve internal communication around specific recruitment activities. Future plans include deploying IBM SmartCloud™ for Social Business software as a cost-effective backup for emails and as a cloud-based extranet to collaborate with search committees of major customers.

A social business...
Embraces networks of people to create business value and exhibits three underlying tenets. It is engaged, transparent and nimble.
With integrated mobility software, ZurickDavis executives and employees quickly share information gleaned from a variety of sources in both social and business settings
Metrics collected automatically during the placement process track productivity gains and provide insight into opportunities for further improvement.
Staff members handle more placements simultaneously with access to the most current information on both job opportunities and available candidates.
Entry point:
Improving operational effectiveness

For more information

To learn more about IBM social software, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/software/collaboration/social/business

IBM Global Financing can help you acquire the software capabilities that your business needs in the most cost-effective and strategic way possible. We'll partner with credit-qualified clients to customize a financing solution to suit your business and development goals, enable effective cash management, and improve your total cost of ownership. For more information, visit: ibm.com/financing

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Lotus Quickr, IBM Sametime Standard, IBM Notes, IBM Domino, IBM Notes Traveler

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America November 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Lotus Notes, Domino, Lotus, Sametime, Quickr, and IBM SmartCloud are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.