Absolutely – in fact we would encourage you to. Around 50% of our new business comes in from personal recommendation and we are proud of the strong relationships we have with our customers.
With clients that range from 1-2 person ‘lifestyle’ agencies, right through to a a global organisation with more than 1,000 recruiters, we will be able to put you in touch with someone in your sector, with similar requirements that is using evolve™ today.
We can offer CSV format exports to accommodate almost any back office system including Voyager Mid-Office, Sage® and Tempest®.
We also offer automated integration solutions (API) to provide data to a number of outsourced back office providers including Hydra, GIANT Services and Inside Out.
Multi-tenant architectures rely on large numbers of servers (we have over 80) all working together in unison to deliver users unparalleled reliability and power. If you care about reliability, scalability and flexibility and want to deliver a hosted application to large numbers of users, then a multi-tenant architecture is the only way to do it!
Building a multi-tenant architecture isn’t a trivial task either (you can’t just buy them off the shelf). It took us many years and thousands of man hours to design and implement the system we have today.
evolve™ supports the UTF8 character set for data and documents (CVs in Cyrillic are no problem!) so it is best termed as ‘language ready’. At this time, the user interface, training materials and support site are only available in English and Polish. Additional languages could be provided quite quickly on demand.
Yes! evolve™ is agnostic when it comes to currency, so whether it’s US Dollars, British Pounds, Japanese Yen or the Costa Rican ‘Colon’ (yes really!), then even if we don’t have it in the default configuration, we can add it with no problem.
With a large number of recruitment companies in the UK using evolve™ to run their businesses, there is a good chance that we already have the key feature you are after. evolve has a huge amount in it and after its years of development, the product is both mature and stable with lots of ‘detail’ that you don’t tend to get with new (and therefore unproven) systems.
Having said that, we recognise that we don’t have the monopoly on good ideas and many of the great features that evolve™ has have come about as a result of an idea or request from a customer.
Even better, our Continuous Development Program™ means that if the feature you need is something that we think everyone else will benefit from, then we will commit to include is as part of our development program. If you would like to check that we have something specific though, please do contact our pre-sales team.
Yes, The document management system in evolve™ integrates with Microsoft Word® directly to allow you to produce one or multiple contracts (and any document that uses data from evolve™) in real time with a single click of the button.
Each time a document is subsequently edited, a copy of the document, together with a history item showing who worked on it and what was edited is saved back to the system against the appropriate database record.
In theory, you could use a Macintosh® computer either with Microsoft Windows® natively (since Apple® switched to Intel CPUs a couple of years ago this has been possible – even dual boot with things like Bootcamp®), or with a virtualisation product like VM Ware (we actually use VM Ware for testing different configurations of PC, so it does work).
We don’t have any plans to support Mac OS natively though.
You can (evolve™ can be accessed from any physical location via the internet), however it does depend on the set-up that the individual Internet café has. Some (the better ones), allow you to set-up and install software on a per-session basis (the PC is reset when you stop using it). evolve™ needs certain software to be installed in order to access various system components.
Alternatively, many users simply take their laptops with them and then of course can access it from anywhere with a wireless connection (although in an office environment, we don’t recommend using wireless networks for general use).
Lots! Probably too many to list here, but one of the key points of focus in the V4 release of evolve was to substantially increase the range of access controls that were available at individual user level.
You can, for example, set a user to have view-only rights to Client Accounts (because you only want your credit control team to be able to access the records for writing), but allow them full access to Candidate Accounts (each time the data in accounts is changed, a record is written into history anyway that shows who and what was changed).
This is one of dozens of similar options, and since we are adding to them the whole time, it’s difficult to maintain a precise list, so please contact one of our pre-sales team with any specific questions you have on this subject.
For inbound SMS, not right now. Its something we have been asked about in the past and if enough people start asking, then we will look at it again. For inbound email, evolve has an Outlook add-in that can track inbound emails.
Terminal Services® and Citrix® Environments
Not right now, due to a limitation in the way terminal Services supports shared system services..
Although in fact most of evolve does seem to work OK in a Terminal Services® environment (including tokens and user login), there are complications with multi-session support for the components (kernel-mode drivers) that handle virtual storage integration. This isn’t a limitation of evolve™, but rather is a problem that Terminal Server® and Citrix® have with lots of advanced applications that work at system level.
And with a slow but steady move away from Terminal Services® solutions (because of these limitations), towards virtualised ‘VDI’ environments like Xen® and VMWare®, see below), we don’t think that much is going to change that will allow this anytime soon.
VDI Environments – Citrix ‘Xen Desktop’® and VMWare®
Although desktop virtualisation is a very new technology, it is set to replace Terminal Services® and Citrix® type solutions (which was why Citrix® bought Xen® in 2007) in the hosted desktop arena.
Because these technologies provide 100% hardware emulation to the terminal (you can use either a regular PC or ‘dumb’ terminal with them), evolve™ works exactly as it should (including USB pass through).
You can read more about VDI on the VMWare® site.
Maybe. It depends what it is of course. If it’s a feature for evolve™, then we’d encourage you to submit it to our Continuous Development Program™ which means that others could benefit from it – and you would get it at no additional cost. If it is something that’s separate from evolve™ itself, then do ask and we’ll take a look.
Yes. Our architecture design does allow for customisation of the evolve™ system to suit individual business requirements, although we would first encourage you to look closely at what is possible as standard before choosing this route. In truth, we don’t do much customisation these days as most people find that the system already does what they need in one configuration or another.
You should also consider our Continuous Development Program™ which means that if your idea is good and we think it will benefit other users, we may include it in our development roadmap which means that you will get it at no additional cost.
Yes. Our security model requires that every user of evolve™ uses a hardware key (their proper name is ‘token’) to identify themselves to the system.
Without a key (or to be precise, without the unique Digital Certificate that resides on the key and identifies the user), it isn’t even possible to get past our perimeter network firewalls.
This system (called a ‘2-factor’ Public Key Infrastructure) is used to guarantee a level of security and accountability that is just not possible with username and password solutions. You can read more about tokens, authentication and why we use a Public Key Infrastructure here.
Included within the product itself are a set of simple activity and administration reports that allow every user access to the straightforward metrics and administrative tasks that are useful on a day to day basis.
For management, the evolve Data Export and Reporting System (DE for short) offers a range of over 80 standard reports, accessible to designated users from a separate reporting portal.
The DE system allows reports to be scheduled (it can email you reports at a time of your choosing) and reports are provided in standard Microsoft Excel format, ready for re-processing or importing into other tools.
You can. One of the key features of the evolve™ architecture is that it allows managers to report and analyse on many aspects of user activity, beginning with login, right through the updates to key records they make and workflow processes they go through. And because evolve™ is unique in using 2-factor authentication (hardware keys), you can be 100% certain of who is who.
Yes. It is one of the unique features that set us apart from other web delivered solutions.
We have FULL Microsoft Word® mail merge and document storage integration and you can load from/save back to evolve (which records the activity automatically against the record), just as you would from your desktop PC. There’s no need to go through the painful ‘Save As’ > ‘Browse’>’Upload’ process that other web based products have.
Most importantly, we can do this for multi-document mail merges too. So you can generate a mailshot, contracts or anything you like against any list of records in the system (you can mail merge against all of the recordset types in evolve including Clients, Contacts, Vacancies, Accounts, Candidates, Shortlists, Interviews and Placements).
Documents in evolve are accessible to you directly via our proprietary virtual storage solution ensure™ which means no more messing around with clumsy web based interfaces.
We don’t do trial versions of the system because without the benefit of post sale set-up and configuration consultancy (and training on the product) it’s virtually impossible for a trial to be meaningful.
The thing is, evolve™ is a BIG system – it does a lot! Much, much more in fact than the majority of other systems out there and unless they have had the system setup, configured and explained properly to them, they don’t really get to see the full potential that the system has.
Not any more. Unfortunately many of the advanced features available in later versions of Microsoft Office® and Windows XP® just aren’t available in earlier versions and so we took the decision to stop supporting these products at aroudn the same time Microsoft stopped providing official support.
Yes, evolve™ provides one of the most complete levels of Microsoft Outlook® integration available via use of the optional plug-in modules available specifically for that purpose. Contacts, tasks, diary and email can all be synchronised with evolve™.
However, evolve’s™ own email client provides many features that are not available from Microsoft Outlook (email mailmerge, templating, automatic document attachment with inline mail merging etc) so it worth using these powerful features as the primary mail agent for your recruitment activity.
We offer industry leading support with a range of way to access our services including business hours telephone helpdesk support, a 24hr, 7 day per week online support portal with email ticketing and online issue tracking all backed up by proactive account management by people who understand recruitment and will make it part of their role to learn about your business.
Put simply – we consider ourselves a service company providing a technology product, rather than a technology company providing a service.
Very and yes you can!
evolve™ has over 100 different tables to store data in and there is a good chance that there will already be a field to fit.
We can of course also offer customisation, however the introduction of the Compliance Modeller™ in version 4 allows you to design and set additional questions and data fields, along with complete workflow control.
Probably. It does of course depend on what product XXX is and what options it offers for talking to and getting data from evolve™. Most products (those that provide any kind of data integration service at any rate) will in the most basic of cases allow you to import data in a text-file format (.csv, tab separated and so forth).
evolve™ can of course support all these and if the application in question needs data in a particular format, we can always write a custom report to do this.
At a more sophisticated level, evolve also offers a SOAP API option that allows developers and integration engineers to access data and data structures in evolve directly (and write data back in some cases), providing near real-time data feeds to third party applications. Our real-time integration with GIANT Services’ hosted back office solution makes use of this service to provide end-to-end placement to payment real-time integration between evolve and their back office pay and bill solution.
Because evolve™ is a hosted solution, we don’t offer any client side com object (or similar) integration between evolve™ and desktop applications – like old fashioned TAPI for example. Our security arrangements preclude querying the underlying evolve™ system directly.
We believe in using the right tools for the job. That means that we use a whole range of technologies, languages and platforms, each chosen because it is best-in-breed for what it does.
The back end is quite complex as you might imagine. All of our servers run UNIX of one form or another (we like to sleep well at night), with BSD (F and O) and Linux (Gentoo) dominating.
Core services are written using whole host of languages including C++., Python, PHP and Perl with Django and Cake providing 2 of the MVC frameworks we use.
Our main DB storage engine is MySQL, but we have our own proprietary query distribution framework written to sit above this (to allow multiple engines to be used in parallel), so we don’t use it as a stand alone engine as such.
evolve™ itself is not; however it is built around several key open source technologies which we use to deliver the system including Apache, MySQL, Python, Open SSL and of course Gentoo® Linux.
We are strong supporters of the open source principal too and have chosen to open source several of our own internal systems which have been given over to the community as part of a desire to make a fair contribution back. Our current open source projects include Flow- a comprehensive front end admin system for the Exim IMAP mail server; and contributions to the M2Crypto Python-OpenSSL and apache web server libraries.
Yes, absolutely. Please ask the sales team for further details.
Some numbers you might be interested to hear in the meantime though…
We don’t rely on any 3rd parties to provide connectivity to us since FCP is an independent Internet Service Provider in our own right (AS34830).
We believe we are the only software provider in this market who has this capability.
5 Nines (or 99.999%) service availability refers to the amount of uptime you can expect from a service. FCP with evolve™ is the only SaaS provider to the recruitment industry that not only claims telecoms-standard 5-nines availability, but (we put our money where our mouth) – offers very substantial money back guarantees in this regard.
The thing is that we’ve spent a great deal of money building the evolve™ infrastructure to a level that is able to guarantee this sort of reliability… over 80 servers, clustered NetApp® fibrechannel SANS, Multi-tenant architecture, independent multiple fibre connections, dual datacentres etc etc…
And while any fly-by-night operation can claim to offer 100% availability (and rely on good luck to achieve it as many do).. you’ll find the back down pretty quickly when you ask them what compensation terms they offer for downtime you do experience!!
A better question you might ask though is what acual difference does this make to my business? Is 5-nines really better than 2 or 4 for instance?
To get a real idea of what the numbers mean, consider that some of our competitors claim 99% availability – sounds pretty good huh? ..except that when you work it out, 99% actually equates to over 3.5 days downtime per year! That’s a lot of lost revenue if it works out as an hour or two every week (maybe on a busy afternoon just as you are re-booking contractors?)….
The other thing is that most everyone else excludes ‘scheduled’ downtime (this is time they will say is needed for maintenance or repairs).. which means that providing they have notified you (that they are going to be offline for the whole of Monday morning for instance!), then they can exclude this from their availability commitment/ contract SLA…
We think that’s rubbish! These systems can (ours does) and should be designed to allow online, realtime, no-downtime maintenance to take place… so when say 99.999% availability and uptime… that is what we mean and what you will get!! If you want to see stats to back this up, just ask!
While our multi-tenant architecture allows a shared hardware infrastructure, each client’s data is physically separated between client builds.
Although shared database schemas are the most common way of building online applications (because it’s cheaper to build shared systems this way, so many of our competitors do), we believe that this is fundamentally wrong – your data should NEVER share anything except the underlying hardware infrastructure.
That way there is no way that an ‘accident’ coulld ever mix/release your data to anyone else. Again, when evaluating competitors products, this is something you want to get a clear (written!) answer on..
No problem at all. It’s your data!
While we don’t have any clients who make use of this facility, we understand why emotionally, customers like to feel that this option is available to them.
If that is what you need though, then we can arrange to provide complete or partial data exports to you (posted or couriered on DVD) on a weekly or monthly basis. Please contact the pre-sales team to discuss these options.
We have a multi-layered backup strategy that reflects our platform architecture. This would be quite complex to cover in detail here, but can be summarised as:
1. All ‘live’ data is replicated in real time. At any time there are no less that two identical copies of all ‘live’ data at our primary datacentre. Note that by replicated, we don’t just mean the use of RAID (see FAQ). This allows us to guarantee continuous data availability with no downtime, even for maintenance of the storage subsystems.
2. On a daily basis, this data is incrementally backed up to a local nearline storage subsystem.
3. The data from the nearline storage subsystem is then replicated offsite to our secondary data centre, providing a guarantee that we could remain operational (and most importantly that you data would be backed up safely) even in the event of a catastrophic incident at our primary location.
Very! More importantly, it’s much, much safer that you could probably make it yourselves.
We understand very clearly why putting your data in someone else’s hands is a worry, which is why we have designed our systems and the processes we have to make sure that even in the event of a catastrophic incident (a bomb or plane crash destroys the datacentre for example), your data is recorded to a second independent location.
In addition to multiple redundant systems, physical access to the locations is restricted to a very limited number of authorised persons.
Our datacentres are approved to a standard to allow them to host sensitive govenment data. It goes without saying that their is extensive use of Biometric access controls, 24hr guards and continuous monitoring. Even the datacentre security staff don’t have direct access to our equipment suite.
For more on Security and evolve™, see our full article.
Because our techops guys like to sleep well at night!
Seriously though, 2 reasons – first (and most importantly) is reliability : UNIX (we use flavours of Linux and BSD Unix) is REALLY reliable. We literally have servers that have have their uptime measured in years (1070 days continuous uptime on one machine recently).
And while there will be lots of people who can cite similar stories with Windows® machines, it hasn’t been our experience in general. It’s a view that is supported when you consider that something like 80% of the servers deployed on the Internet today run one form of Unix or another.
The second is cost – we have around 80 servers making up the evolve™ system, all of which are at least dual processor (many of which are then multi-core). Around 50 of these machines run a database engine (remember that evolve™ doesn’t run on just one machine, but is clustered with the whole system running in parallel over lots of machines).
As a rough calculation, a switch to Windows Server 2003® and SQL 2007® (enterprise, multi-core licenses) would run to about £600,000 (just for the licenses!); a cost which would ultimately result in a higher service fee – all for no practical benefit and (probably) less reliability to our users. You can see why our competitors all run their systems on single machines (and there goes the reliability…).
Absolutely, but hardware RAID has its limitations (and risks) so have systems and infrastructure beyond that to guarantee your data.
All of our storage subsystems are RAID Level 6 (Mirrored and Striped), based around an enterprise class NetApp Metro Cluster Fibre Channel Storage Area Network (SAN) featuring over 12 terrabytes of storage.
Our platform architecture is then designed so that each individual SAN is in turn mirrored in real time to a secondary (identical) SAN storage array.
This provides an additional level of real-time replication over and above the RAID 6 offered by the NetApp filers. Which means that even in the even of a complete subsystem failure (a hardware failure of the RAID controller in the subsystem), your data integrity is guaranteed.
This is serious kit – all told about £250,000’s worth just for storing your data!
So, when our competitors tell you ‘We use RAID’ to guarantee you data.. ask them how they are doing it.. and unless they tell you that they have a SAN infrastructure (one supplied by a by a substantial enterprise vendor..like Network Appliance (NetApp), EMC or Hitachi Data, rather than something they’ve just cobbled together using a couple of Dell servers and a RAID card), then all they are really doing is relying on the kind of low-cost setup that frankly you could buy yourself for a few hundred quid… is that really what you should be getting from a proper SaaS supplier?
When we were testing our current hardware platform we ran out of local bandwidth and capacity (that’s on the system that was acting to simulate the users) at around 12,000 users. We simply could’t push any more data over the network to test any more than this (i.e the limitation wasn’t the evolve™ platform!)
Right now, we are using less than half of that capacity and when we do get close, we can simply increase the number of machines we have (the beauty of a multi-tenant architecture – Wikipedia) to accommodate.
In theory this is unlimited (and certainly for all practical purposes) and we have evolve™ customers with hundreds of thousands of documents ( more than 300,000 CVs) and millions of records. Across our entire customer base, we have around 4 million CVs and 20 million documents stored.
For new customers, we do have an AUP (which basically means that we do reserve the right to review data before agreeing to an initial import – we need to be fair to everyone here), but unless you have over 100,000 records or 50,000 documents, you can take it as read that we won’t want to review it.
Background Fact :Average Document Sizes
In terms of individual document size, we ran a program to calculate an average across the entire dataset we hold for our customers (around 30 million documents) and worked our that the average size for a CV or document was around 60K (kilobytes). From this, we set the individual file size limit to 1.5Mb which is around 25x the average.
We quote and undertake data Import on a time and materials basis.
Often a simple import will take as little as a couple of hours, typically though an average import will run to a day or two, although we have done imports that have taken as long as 3 weeks (a lot of very complicated data with no supporting documentation!).
In the past, we have imported data from other systems including: Bond Adapt, Voyager, Net Resourcer, Arithon, TriSys, Recruit and many more.
Sure. We have several customers that either run discrete business units, or have several separate recruitment businesses that they want to manage through one system and reports. Please contact our pre-sales team to explain your needs and we can organise appropriately.
Very likely. We have several data integration options including Data Export and SOAP interfaces and already have standard export formats for popular accounting packages including Sage.
Please contact our pre-sales team to talk further about this.
We can take credit (Visa, Mastercard) and debit cards (Visa) no problem at all. Debit cards attract no handling fee, while we charge a 2.5% fee for credit cards unless you choose to pay annually in advance in which case, we will absorb this cost. We use Bank of Scotland as our Merchant Services Provider and partner with SecPay for processing transactions.
We have a fairly constant schedule for new evolve™ setups, training and configuration, but often have as many customers working to a 2 month window as those who need to be up and running in a week.
Depending on your data import / data migration requirements, we can therefore usually accomodate very tight schedules and can get things implemented in as little as a few days. Contact the pre-sales team to talk about your needs.
evolve™ will actually work on a very low spec PC, but for the best user experience, we recommend a modern Pentium 4 with at least .5 Gb of memory.
Similarly the internet connection doesn;t need to be super fast. We have 40 user offices working just fine on 2 Mb connections, but with anything from 8-20Mb ADSL and cable now available at a price that a couple of years ago bought you just 2Mb, you have a large range of choices.
Absolutely! Although many of our customers are in the UK we also have lots of clients and users stretching from Barbados in the Caribbean right through Europe (France, Germany, Spain, Cyprus) to Hong Kong, Australia and South East Asia.
No. We specialise in providing support to our users for our products only, however we can recommend some good independent third party support companies including Virtual IT, Quiss PLC and Urban Networks. Please see our partner pages for more information.
As part of the initial setup process we will pre-configure all of the user-definable data fields (keywords and skills for example) for you and set the system up with a standard set of defaults that will allow you to start using the system from day one.
Having said this, although lots of recruitment companies get on very well with all of the default settings, we think that to get the very best out of evolve™ it’s worth spending a little time understanding the range of configuration options available.
This includes both personal preferences – what would you like to see, how should it be displayed and so on – and the range of options that govern user permissions and settings.
No, full fat only!
The thing is that some of our competitors use ‘lite’ or ‘small user’ version of their products knowing that once you are using it, switching to anything else becomes more difficult (and with one of two of them, it’s actually impossible to get you data out!).
We don’t play that way – we want our customers to continue using evolve™ because they actually like it.
The other thing is that by ‘lite’ what they really mean is ‘cut down’ – but then we don’know too many recruitment companies that are cut down, do you?
We don’t offer this as an option right now. In truth, we probably won’t ever offer it as the whole point of the architecture is that it should offer a level of reliability and scalability that end users wouldn’t be able to match.
Our multi-tenant architecture means that quite a few machines (around 24) would be required as a minimum in order to host it yourself.
Add to that the cost of the datacentre space, the people to look after it (several different types of programmers, network people and maintenance staff), the cost of the bandwidth and so forth and we don’t think it would be very attractive to most people.
FCP has been in existence since 1996 and first developed and launched evolve™ in 2001. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dillistone Group Plc, one of the world’s leading suppliers of recruiting software, with more than 2,000 clients in more than 60 countries.
We’d be very pleased to see a link to us. Unfortunately due to the number of requests we get can’t promise to provide a reciprocal link to anyone other than our business partners.
FCP had originally started out life as a hosting and web design company back in the mid 1990s.
When the current shareholders were looking for a vehicle to build a Software as a Service business on back at the end of the 1990s, FCP was chosen (because of its experience with high-availability hosted database solutions) and the name was kept for simplicity‘s sake.
evolve™ is unique - we host it on our own servers (around 80 of them!). This means you don't need to spend money on new technology and new IT resources.
evolve™ is also the clear choice for ambitious recruitment agencies that anticipate growth (of any size!) in the future.
evolve™ comes with an industry leading 99.999% availability (5nines). What this means to you is the promise of less than 6 minutes of total downtime a YEAR!