We use the term disrupt and disruptive a lot these days, but what exactly does it mean? Coined by Clayton Christensen in 1995, the term describes the process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple application at the bottom of a market and then relentless moves up the market, eventually displacing established competitors.
Services For Hire
The more I read about these online service exchanges the more I’m truly amazed by the number of people offering their services for hire, as well as the number of projects happening at any one time. At present Freelancer.com has 11.6 million users and 6.2million projects and this is but one online service exchange! There are others including Elance.com, oDesk.com and Guru.com, not to mention smaller ones appearing and increasing frequency.
The potential power of these marketplaces is enormous, and the belief that they only beneficial to the IT industry is so false! Guru.com lists 2.5 million services under eight categories including:
- Writing & Translation- over 380,000 services
- Web, Software & IT- over 830,000 services
- Design, Art & Multimedia – over 540,000 services
- Admin Support over 365,000 services
- Management & Finance over 145,000 services
- Engineering & Architecture – over 70,000 services
- Sales & Marketing- over 100,000 services
- Legal – over 18,000 services
Here at the ATC/HCMS/Inside job (that’s a mouthful) we are currently taking our recruitment training modules online. The first story boards have been written and we’ve begun searching for specialist designers and developers to help us bring this to life. The initial quotes for their services (which you can get almost instantly) have ranged from $15 to over $100 an hour. As much as this range frightens me, each quote comes with references and the ability to inspect previous work. The difference in pricing gives us flexibility to take a risk and play; with the low to medium hourly rates allowing us to commission two bidders to develop the same module as a test to see who does better.
Get A Competitive Advantage Now
So, if you believe that these platforms may cause a significant disruption to the way we recruit contingent staff and consultants; which I do, then the next question is: “what are we doing to take advantage of this?”. Many of the large organisations I consult with are beginning to use these online service exchanges, whilst others simple don’t know what they don’t know. Personally, from everything I’ve seen happen over the years in this industry, I believe these platforms offer a significant competitive advantage to organisations who utilise them correctly.
LinkedIn has disrupted the recruitment market (and it seems the blogging, thought leadership space), so my question to you is, seeing as these platforms are better and easier places to buy services than LinkedIn: “will the online service platforms disrupt LinkedIn?”
Who Will Manage This?
If we imagine that these platforms are viable for some services -like IT – then here are some questions to ponder:
- Who within your organisation would place an order on these platforms?
- Who manages the performance and quality of work?
- How does an organisation consider what projects are suitable for these platforms?
- What technology will be used to record and manage the output and match this to the payment?
We plan to explore these platforms in some depth at the fourth Contingent Workforce Conference: Rise of the Freelancer. Joe Griston, Director of People & Talent at Freelancer.com, will provide delegates with an overview of how NASA us using the cloud based talent platform to build the workforce model of the future, and discuss how all organisations can make use of Freelancer type services to problem solve and resource small to large scale projects.
As with all disruptive innovation, someone has to be a first adopter and introduce it as common practice in the industry. Who will be the first to do so in your industry? I know a handful of large and future looking organisations who are laying the groundwork to implement these services. Who will be the first to introduce this innovation to your industry? I generally like to get first to the mark and be an early adopter, rather than have the C-Suite ask me what my strategy is in relation to what our competitors are doing.
Join Joe Griston, Director of People & Talent at Freelancer.com at #CWF15 in Sydney on 22-23 September, as he discusses how NASA is working with the platform to source innovative solutions, and how any organisation can use talent marketplaces to resource vital projects. To participate, register your ticket for the event here.
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