Embridge Case Studies

Case Study

Skills Development Scotland

Streamlining recruitment and enhancing integration

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Case Study
Skills Development Scotland

The client

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is Scotland’s national skills body.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is Scotland’s national skills body and has over 1,600 colleagues working across the country in schools, careers centres and partner locations. SDS contributes to Scotland’s sustainable economic growth by supporting people and businesses to develop and apply their skills and achieve their full potential.

They work with partners to provide services that deliver the very best outcomes for Scotland’s people, businesses and the economy.

Case Study
Skills Development Scotland

The challenge

Reduce manual effort and risk while focussing on data quality and customer experience

SDS had been working with Unit4 ERP and the Hireserve recruitment applicant tracking system (ATS) for several years but had experienced some challenges by virtue of working with separate systems.

According to Bryce Redford, Agresso HR Systems Development Manager at SDS, the primary issue was that the team were finding a lot of time was being spent manually feeding information into the ATS and then they were having to re-key the information into the ERP. Not only did this take up time that could be spent on more specialist tasks, but it also increased the risk of human error and the potential for less accurate and mis-matching data. These factors left the recruitment process cumbersome and disjointed. SDS had previously tried another integration solution but found it had not satisfactorily met their requirements.

“Embridge has some particular expertise [and] a very mixed team that brings unique skills in a complementary way.”


When they embarked on a new project around recruitment and probation, the team identified some very clear goals, and enhancing the integration between the ERP and the ATS was one of them. They had become aware of the work Embridge were doing in the Unit4 space from a team member, so engaged to understand if we could support them on the project.

It was important to the SDS team to follow some specific design rules, which meant keeping it as simple as possible and focussing on data quality and customer experience first.

Case Study
Skills Development Scotland

The solution

Embridge supported SDS with the design and development

As a Unit4 Elite Partner, and with many years of Unit4 experience, Embridge had recognised a need for a non-ETL based integration solution between Unit4 and Hireserve and had developed a set of ready-to-go solutions for user and vacancy integrations that met the brief from the SDS team.

Following some due diligence and recommendations, SDS and Embridge engaged in what Bryce describes as “good quality conversations” about what he refers to as “the art of the possible or the art of possibility”, looking to push the boundaries of what had been done previously.

Having been part of Unit4’s initial partner Early Adoption Programme (EAP) for the Unit4 Extension Kit, Embridge was able to support SDS with the design and development of an Extension Kit flow that also met their requirements around applicant integrations, as well as support any issue resolution and feedback to Unit4 as part of the EAP.

Despite their ERP being privately hosted by QTC, the requirements on the project aligned well so it was agreed that SDS would be enrolled as part of Unit4 Extension Kit Early Adoption Program.

Working collaboratively with SDS to keep their goals front and centre, Embridge delivered:

  • User Integration: this facilitates the synchronisation of user records between Unit4 ERP (the master) and Hireserve ATS
  • Vacancy Integration: users can request vacancies in Unit4 ERP using a form and, once approved, the integration passes the vacancy details to Hireserve ATS, also enabling SDS to identify which empty positions they are actively recruiting for from within Unit4 ERP  
  • Applicant integration: this enables the team to onboard successful candidates from Hireserve ATS to Unit4 ERP (resource record)


The idea is to have a lean, clean system from an HR perspective where we capture the minimum amount of information that we need in order to deliver the service we want and meet our statutory requirements.

Bryce RedfordAgresso Systems Development Manager, SDS
Case Study
Skills Development Scotland

The result

A recent multi-year tender award is a testament to the quality of the tender that came in and also, just generally, the professionalism that Embridge bring to the party as an organisation.”

Individually, the components of the integration have provided specific benefits to the in-house resourcing team, as highlighted by Ann Jamieson, HR Resourcing Advisor:

  • The benefit of the user integration for us is that we do not have to create or close accounts, maintaining our list of accounts against active employees, enhancing our cyber security and GDPR
  • This vacancy integration ensures that the vacancy information is accurate as it comes from our ERP and also saves time as there is less manual entry of vacancy information.
  • The applicant integration has saved us time as the process is less manual, which also means the integrity of the data is improved.

Overall, the new integration means that SDS has a much more streamlined and efficient recruitment process. Automating the data transfer between the ERP and ATS has reduced the amount of manual effort and time taken to input data and increased data quality in both systems. The fact that the integration is two-way with data going to Hireserve and SDS can bring it back as a candidate interface also helps ‘close the loop’.

Bryce said the team have also benefited from improved transparency, “being able to see across the process, even though we’re using two systems, makes a massive difference.”

It allows people to focus by exception rather than look at everything all of the time. They can look at what’s required to be looked at such as where things are being held up.”

Further benefits of this end-to-end view are that the team can now more easily do their statutory reporting around equality and diversity and have enhanced their GDPR compliance. They also have access to real-time metrics to understand where people are in the process.

Getting to this information was previously a manual task involving lots of different people. “Now we can get that information almost at the touch of a button, which has saved a lot of time, [and] means people are free to do other things.” according to Bryce.

In quantifiable terms, the automation has delivered efficiencies, with the real benefit being that skilled people are now freed up “to do things that add more value and make a difference” and the amount of unnecessary admin work has been reduced.

This is all at the same time as improving quality and efficiency. Candidates are also benefitting from the efficiencies as they are moving through the process more quickly.

The future

SDS and Embridge continue to work together collaboratively, with the SDS HR team internally focussing on digital enablement and adopting an agile and flexible approach, prioritising the key things that are coming next. Given that the project team has been working at the bleeding edge with new technologies like the Unit4 Extension Kit, inevitably there are some small things that could be improved, but, as Bryce points out, “small stuff we need to tidy up is part of our continuous improvement.”

Since doing the work with Embridge around the vacancy and user interfaces and candidate onboarding, the SDS team have successfully prototyped a fourth interface using AG16s, which brings vacancy status information back into Unit4.

This means that, as it goes through the process in Hireserve, from advert through short listing, interviews and offers, the interface brings that status back into Unit4 as well. This provides SDS with a single view of statuses across position registers. The next step is to work with Embridge and Hireserve to develop a production solution via an API, rather than the AG16s used in the prototype.

“It’s only when you step back and reflect on this work that you see the distance we have travelled!”

Andrea MuirheadHR Manager, SDS
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