Heidrick & Struggles CIO Says High-Flying Recruiters Collaborate in the Cloud

July 10, 2015 – In the high-stakes world of C-Suite recruiting, knowledge and information are the killer apps upon which deals are made. For one recruitment giant, 62-year-old Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., the demands of the business have spurred it to adjust its IT strategy accordingly, embracing any effort that supports its highly mobile human network. “The company has a great appetite to work better faster and more secure,” Katherine Graham Shannon, the company’s information executive practice director, told CIO Journal Thursday. She said partners in 51 offices spanning 30 countries use a number of services, including social networks and software from Box Inc. to find and share information. To ensure that the company’s highly mobile workers are able to communicate securely from their computers, smartphones and tablets, CIO Alwin Brunner has added encryption and multi-factor authentication. He’s also quadrupled bandwidth to ensure reliable connectivity.

Just as important, IT is focused on supporting partner-led efforts at collaboration. Some partners are using Box Inc.’s cloud storage software to share and update documents with clients. Partners like it because they can control versions of new documents, as well as user permissions and access rights, without intervention from IT, Mr. Brunner says.

Ms. Shannon, who helped place Tyler Best as CIO of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. earlier this year, said she’s currently using Box to share information with one client, but expects to use it more extensively as clients request access. She says it helps Heidrick “push the envelope” of information exchange without sacrificing security. “We’re holding really confidential information” that can influence stock prices, she said.

Box could get stickier at Heidrick if Mr. Brunner has his way. He hopes to use Box’ application programming interfaces, or APIs, to connect it with the company’s Salesforce.com Inc. software. Ideally, this would make it easier for partners to share documents with clients and prospective clients, directly from its sales pipeline. Mr. Brunner says he’s aware of the potential pitfalls of such cloud solutions, but he says he’s confident he’ll be able to remove his data from the software if he needs to. “As we long as we know that we can get the info out and into something else… we’re not locked in,” Mr. Brunner said. Heidrick, which worked with Microsoft Corp. in the high-profile search leading to the hiring of Satya Nadella and, back in 2001, helped place Eric Schmidt at Google Inc., ranked fourth in revenue behind Korn/Ferry, Spencer Stuart and Egon Zhender, and just ahead of Russell Reynolds Associates Inc., according to Hunt Scanlon Media LLC.

The Wall Street Journal, by Clint Boulton

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