Platform CEOs And Thought Leaders Share Their Forecasts
Earlier this year I wrote about one of the more interesting talent innovations enabled by the freelance revolution: expert networks. A wide range of platforms offer typically brief access to experts in a wide variety of areas, in almost every continent. Most of these interactions are indeed brief: An analysis by Inex One suggests that 75% of expert network gigs are completed in less than one hour, and 85% in less than two hours. The pioneer and largest of these expert networks is GLG, the Gerson Lehrman Group, and its success has helped mobilize an industry that has taken off as a result of communications technology and the globalization of opportunity. As a result of expert networks, potential clients are now able to quickly identify and access the experts and knowledge they need. Previously, it might have taken weeks to identify the appropriate expert with the knowledge required. Nor was there a framework for commercializing brief interactions. Investors, management consultants, and legal and financial firms tend to be among the larger users of expert networks. For example, one expert network I advised provided global real estate development expertise to western investors. I’ve also written about a couple of expert networks that were interesting representatives of the industry: Inex One, mentioned above, is an aggregator of expert networks, providing access to smaller and less well-known platforms. And, CleverX, operating from India and expanding to the US, has also been profiled and is a helpful member of the category.
How is the market for expert networks shaping up in 2021? I recently asked a number of expert networks and thought leaders in the space for their forecasts of 2021, and received perspectives from platform leaders in the US, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Here’s what they see ahead:
Bryan Pena (MBO Partners, US). “Along with other forms of independent talent, I see rapid growth in the expert network business going forward. The changing nature of work is allowing individuals more and more opportunities to monetize their skills and expertise and expert networks allow high impact individuals the opportunity to do just that with minimal effort. At the same time participating in expert networks allows individuals opportunity to stay market relevant as well as current on the latest questions/concerns confronting their industries. Right now many of the expert networks are comprised of generalist providers but going forward there will be more EN’s specific to particular domains. These domains can be industry focused like healthcare or energy, or expertise focused like HR, AI, legal or procurement in nature.”
David Küpper, (Expert Powerhouse, Germany). “The general need for expert input will continue to increase with increased complexity in all areas. The Private Equity and consulting sectors will remain the largest users of expert discussions but I do expect corporates to become more important in the coming years. Corporates will more and more realize that specific input from subject matter experts can be highly valuable and can lead to a significant competitive advantage.”
Max Friberg (Inex One, Sweden). “Overall, the expert network industry has been robust, even growing through the 2020 pandemic. Going into 2021, there are two big trends in the industry: New technology and new services. On technology, Inex One makes it possible for clients to work with smaller, highly specialized expert networks, while firms like Techspert.io and Atheneum invest in internal tech that helps them identify experts more efficiently. On the services side, expert networks branch into new areas. Many firms emulate Third Bridge‘s successful Forum product, whereas GLG and others have started to offer consulting services. I believe the industry will see continued robust growth in 2021.”
Martin Tronquit (Infomineo, Dubai UAE). “My perspective is the following. I expect the Expert Network business to accelerate its growth in 2021 for three main reasons 1/Things have changed dramatically since last year, organisations need up to date insights 2/Expert interviews are a cheaper option than full-fledged research to access insights 3/With lower asset prices M&A activity is accelerating and it uses lots of expert interviews.”
Nitin Kunimmal (Avvnue, US). “COVID has accelerated shift to freelancing and more professionals are pursuing this path out of necessity. Hiring freelancers has become the norm instead of an afterthought. I see companies embracing this revolution by introducing roles like head of remote work and building infrastructure to support remote workers and freelancers. There is a massive demand from digital native companies and start-ups to quickly onboard freelancers for technical and marketing roles.”
Sharekh Shaik (CleverX, India) “Both companies and professionals have become comfortable with the idea of working 100% remotely, and trusting each other although located in different time zones. Since everyone is getting used to working on zoom and other remote work tools, self-service gig-based platforms will see enormous growth and traction in 2021. The majority of interactions on CleverX’s platform are around digital transformation, human resources, market research and go-to-market work, and if you notice these initiatives closely, they are all reflective of how Covid-19 has impacted businesses to change course. We are seeing many 1-on-1 video calls, surveys and remote projects being carried out in F&B, Technology, HR and Healthcare industries.”
Mac Mabidilala (Pengo Insight, South Africa) “Thanks for the opportunity. 2020 was a challenging year for the freelance expert network business in Africa, seeing a dramatic decline in client outreach for expert services. In 2021, we anticipate a resurgence of client interest particularly in commercial due diligence and market entry projects within the strategy consulting and private equity client segments.”
Luis Mata (Consultok, Chile) “2021 will be a year of opportunities, many experts retiring and looking for new locations to live in uncrowded places will create a tendency to work online more than ever for high-end professionals, businesses needing theses experts will rely on expert networks to link them all together. Platforms with the technology to offer on-demand – instantly – experts will open a new market of interesting opportunities, the sectors that will grow the most are technology, clean energy, insurance and health in general”.
What’s the overall consensus of executives and thought leaders on expert networks in the coming year? The clear message from these leaders – on several continents – is nicely captured by Luis Mata of Consultok in Chile put it, “2021 will be a year of opportunities.” He makes the helpful point that the Covid 19 pandemic has impacted established networks by encouraging the movement of people and companies out of key urban centers of commerce, and increased the difficulty of personal contact between experts. In addition, the opportunities for global economic development and investment are growing just as the ease of communication through new tech, expert networks makes it possible to identify and access expertise more readily, and pay for only the time and information that they need.
Viva la revolution!
For more updates check below links and stay updated with News AKMI.
Education News || Tech News || Automotive News || Science News || Lifetime Fitness || Sports News || Giant Bikes