The internet has made the world flat! It has connected us all through low-cost, easily accessible communications technologies; enabling people to participate as equals and get ever closer to each other.
So much has already changed for us and for future generations. One of the most significant changes is in the area of work. Work can now be done from anywhere in the world. We can tap into the best and most appropriate resources from any corner of the globe. This creates tremendous value. Startups and entrepreneurs benefit greatly as they can now collaborate with or hire talent within almost any financial means. Today, ideation to production can be achieved far more efficiently and effectively than ever before. The talent also benefits as they can now be exposed to a customers globally.
This has also brought about incredible innovation in the way work gets done, in the way freelance talent gets hired and in the way customers seek out that talent. The Service Marketplace is one such tool that has increased opportunities for the talented and has allowed organizations to grow rapidly, increase efficiency and become more competitive.
The service marketplace is a concept derived from crowdsourcing. Service marketplaces are platforms that connect customers with freelance talent appropriate to their requirements and facilitate the execution of the work. In simpler terms, they are platforms where buyers and sellers of services meet and accomplish tasks. The largest players in this field are Elance, Freelancer.com, Guru.com and Upwork.com.
A typical process for the creation and execution of a job using a service marketplace:
- The customer defines the requirements.
- The customer publishes the requirement on the platform.
- Freelancers submit proposals/bids.
- The customer selects their candidate.
- The talent performs the task.
- The payment is disbursed.
Reasons why organizations have started looking at freelance talents in the marketplace include:
- Connectivity is almost universal, and is increasing with advances in technology and reducing costs.
- It has become easier to work remotely with access to tools like project management tools, collaboration tools, voice and video tools etc.
- The further development of service marketplace platforms, including features for payments, escrow, project management, reviews, ratings, etc.
- An increased need to lower costs, increase efficiency and reduce time to market has led organizations to look for new ways to include the external workforce.
The service marketplace provides organizations with the opportunity to achieve what was not previously possible. The service marketplace gives access to a pool of talented freelancers who are accessible on demand. This increases flexibility, capacity and capability and reduces the time to market; and overall, provides a higher return on investment. The marketplace is seeing innovation and is continuously evolving. One of the offshoots is the managed marketplace.
A managed marketplace seems to have varied interpretations, for the purposes of a service marketplace it is a platform that connects buyers and sellers. But it also provides additional cogs in the value chain to deliver a better experience for everyone involved. The additional parts centre around control, quality, trust and support. A managed marketplace is an innovation that has risen from customer requirements. Customer requirements arise out of issues like:
- Finding the relevant freelance talent among the hundreds of proposals received can be a time-consuming process.
- Communication can be an issue due to language or quality of connectivity.
- The output of the freelance talent can sometimes be below par for reasons like multi-tasking or not having relevant experience.
- Non-availability of hired talent at agreed times as they may be working at odd or opposite hours.
- Confidentiality can be questionable due to lack of legal agreements.
A managed marketplace can provide one or more value additions to ensure quality, control, trust, and support.Some of them could be:
- Pre-screening of the freelance talents.
- Handpicking the relevant talent for the job.
- Including systems that deal with the legal and the business aspects.
- Ensuring the use of relevant tools and technologies to complete the task.
- Ensuring availability of the resources on demand.
- Ensuring fulfillment of the agreed terms.
We at ApperCrew connect buyers and sellers of mobile app solutions and online consulting. We have tweaked our service marketplace to provide a managed experience. Our goals are higher quality output, greater control over the work being done, embedding trust in the transaction and providing support all the way.
We pre-screen our freelance talent, handpick the best people for the job, cover the legalities, ensure use of the best tools for the work to be done and facilitate completion of the job. We are passionate about supporting the growth of the global startup and entrepreneur community. As a valuable add-on to our service we connect you with a global community of highly talented online consultants who provide advice and mentorship at no cost.
We believe that this, add on service at no cost, will help us to understand our customers, forge relationships, grow businesses, to be better at what we do and grow. This is an investment that will provide us opportunities and insights on improvement.