Innovation, strategic growth and marketplace expertise has enabled the DataFlow Group to strengthen its foothold within the professional verification space. Sunil Kumar, CEO explains how to manage the challenges of international recruitment in today’s tempestuous economic environment.
As an international provider in background screening compliance services, what differentiates you from your competitors?
Since 2006, the DataFlow Group has upheld its vision of ‘Protecting Communities’ by providing the highest quality employment risk management services to governments, governmental bodies, licensing authorities and regulators worldwide. In terms of our competitiveness within the market, our strength lies within offering the highest standard of verification, our global reach and the continual evolution of the services we offer.
The term ‘verification’ means different things to different companies. For some, it’s a cursory glance over a degree certificate, but we provide the most superior level of verification, known as Primary Source Verification (PSV). PSV refers to the means of verifying information directly from the source to ensure that all elements of a document are factually correct. For example, when carrying out an education verification, the university that issued the degree would be required to formally verify all of the information on the certificate. The PSV process offers the highest level of accuracy available when verifying the authenticity of any document, by going directly to the source that issued it for authentication.
In parallel to a long-standing presence and high-quality services, we’ve built teams in strategic global locations to best serve our clients. Today, we have working relationships with over 100,000 education institutions, employers and issuing authorities from over 200 countries and territories. This global reach, alongside the continual innovation and evolution of our suite of products and services, places us in the strongest possible position to uncover fraudulent credentials.
How has Covid-19 challenged the way that the DataFlow Group operates?
In terms of our verification services, our business is intrinsically tied to the free movement of people: in order for professional migration to occur, people need to move from country to country to pursue job opportunities. Of course, the onslaught of the pandemic curbed travel for the majority of the world. While this posed its own challenges, the DataFlow Group is widely used within the healthcare industry and in many countries, healthcare professionals were exempt from the travel restrictions imposed on the wider population. Our team was mobilised remotely to help governments from around the world to bolster their healthcare workforces by helping to stem staffing shortfalls which were exacerbated by the pandemic.
The current economic climate also poses its own challenges to international recruitment; with a huge number of industries crippled by the pandemic, unemployment levels are climbing. High unemployment rates typically correlate with an increase in credential fraud as a difficult job market means that applicants may provide fraudulent credentials to improve their employment chances. As a result, we continually strive to make governments, regulators and employers aware of the importance of high quality verification services within their recruiting processes.
Does the use of sophisticated technology, AI for example, mean that the industry won’t need to rely heavily on human skills or is there a place for both?
There is no denying that automation and sophisticated technology has transformed several industries in recent years and of course there’s the fear that this will cause significant job losses. That said, this same fear was voiced when computers became commonplace and we now realise that embracing new technologies creates many more jobs than it takes away.
In terms of the verification industry, there’s certainly a place for both, and the use of automation can only improve our services. We already use facial recognition technology, AI and blockchain within some of the products under the DataFlow Group umbrella. These technologies have not caused us to reduce employee numbers, but rather support and streamline the way we operate so that we can offer quicker turnaround times, new services and automate manual, time-consuming aspects of the verification process.
However, AI and machine learning are designed to solve very specific problems within predefined parameters and cannot take into consideration any variables. When verifying professional background and credentials, it’s not always a straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’ outcome. Difficult cases call on our competence and our vast network. For example, an individual may be completely legitimate, but a verification cannot be obtained because their education institution no longer exists. In these cases, there’s no substitute for our employees’ expertise when navigating difficult verification scenarios.
Ultimately technology should work hand-in-hand with employees who can offer far higher levels of insight and problem-solving to provide accurate, reliable results.
Tell us about your global footprint – countries, stats, future growth
The DataFlow Group is home to over 550 employees, with headquarters in Dubai and teams in strategic global locations. Our extensive reach means that we have processed over 2.5 million verifications, leveraging our relationships with over 100,000 issuing authorities across 200 countries and territories.
To continue our growth trajectory, we plan to replicate our existing services into additional government departments where other high risk industries are regulated. Education and engineering are areas where the lives of people can be severely negatively impacted by hiring fraudulent candidates.
In terms of expanding our global reach we want to increase our market share within geographies where we already have a strong presence, such as the UK, US, New Zealand and the GCC, by strengthening government relationships in these territories. Additionally, we are pursuing opportunities within Europe and the US in order to help governments and specific regulators to drive their own verification plans.
The concept of ‘growth’ is a philosophical one which doesn’t always mean more of something in a simplistic sense. Our growth is also geared towards continually improving and developing our platforms for all users; whether that be governments, employers or our community of applicants. The better and more streamlined our platform, the greater scope we have for growth. Particularly when it comes to growth driven by technological advancements, we have the potential to quickly ascend the value chain when we show the ways that our technology and services can be streamlined.
As an award winning CEO, what’s your key to success?
Overall, my key to success is really a multitude of keys which work together to unlock the ongoing success we have experienced in various industries and geographies. These include embracing and promoting an analytical approach towards business, being at the forefront of trends within our industry and building a strong team that is integral to the future success of the company.
For myself, and for other aspiring CEOs, a problem-solving attitude towards eliminating anything that causes bottlenecks in processes is essential. If you have the ability to streamline your offering as much as possible and work out how you can really help and add value to clients, this is a huge success factor. The aim is to provide seamless services which are almost invisible from the outside. In practice, your stakeholders should not feel the burden of any additional work from utilising your offering; simplify the process as much as possible without compromising the quality of the outcome.
Additionally, the key to success for our business is always being on top of trends and we have a team dedicated towards monitoring cases of fraud, diploma mills and fake universities around the world. As technology becomes smarter, so do scammers, and they have more tools at their disposal to make convincing, fraudulent credentials. Being completely on top of this gives us a competitive edge as we have the best tools at our disposal to mitigate risks within international hiring for our clients.
It’s also important to view any business relationship with a client as a partnership: I don’t view our relationship with our clients merely as a vendor, but as a fully invested partner in the success of their own strategic visions and growth.
We have very high staff retention rates, and as a CEO I pride myself on having an open door policy. Any employee can come to me with a query or raise a concern and I am happy to help. We have built a strong innovative global team of like-minded individuals who want to make a difference and contribute towards our commitment to protecting communities worldwide.
For further information on DataFlow Group and its extensive range of verification solutions, please visit the company website – https://corp.dataflowgroup.com