One revolution that’s in the making today is that of the crowd. There’s lot of literature around it but it hasn’t yet transformed business in the way i think it inevitably will.
The staffing industry today is a whopping $450 Bn market. Of that only a mere $1Bn has been captured online. That’s 0.2% penetration.
If we compare that with commerce which leads services, there’s somewhere between 10-15% of the total value of commerce transacted online today and that’s projected to increase to over 50% in the next decade.
In relative terms the market of eServices is where eCommerce was in 1996!
So there is little doubt that this will grow liver time. The question is how will it impact business? And why hasn’t it already taken off in a much bigger way
Well first its because businesses are stuck in old ways of doing business. Old habits die hard especially with larger businesses. Which is why those that have adopted the power of the crowd are the startup & tech communities and the SMB sector that’s more nimble
The real transformation however will come when that trickles up into corporate America.
And for that to happen there is still a lot of friction that needs to be removed to embrace mass adoption.
Just as the first wave in commerce was getting inventory online and building tools that allow that inventory to become discoverable and then deliverable, the same will happen with services.
Currently we are just at the phase of getting inventory online, making it discoverable and building workflows which are the equivalent of a distribution system in commerce. They get the stuff from provider to customer.
Unlike in commerce however where one distribution system can be leveraged to massive scale to deliver anything from a hair pin to a kitchen table in very much the same way, in services the difficulty is that bespoke workflows are needed across that spectrum of end deliverables.
The way a logo gets done online is not the same way a building or urban area is designed.
And I have no doubt that all work will have a touch point online and on mobile devices within a decade. They may not be executed 100% in the cloud but for sure the cloud will be leveraged to make the process smarter, more efficient and get a better result.
The reason i have no doubt this will happen is that it just delivers orders of magnitude value creation to the customer. And whenever that happens its like gravity. Water will trickily down the mountain eventually, how fast it gets to the sea will depend on how high the mountain is and the obstacles met on the way. But you cannot defy gravity for ever
So what lies ahead for eServices ?
I think that a portfolio of tools will become mainstream in business much like apps today that have in such a short time become indispensable to us, from Gmail to tools for perfuming surveys, managing our notes like Evernote, Skype and so much more
I believe that we will have a series of such tools that plug into the power of the crowd in the cloud in different ways. Its like having expertise on tap. You just turn it up when you need more and down when you don’t.
Today the accepted dogma is that online means cheaper. It’s associated with cost saving. That’s what the thesis for commerce was as well a decade ago. Now that’s shifted to convenience, diversity and speed. eCommerce companies are racing to go more hyper local, more real time and offline and online are converging.
These are trends that i think make a lot of sense and will happen in eServices as well. Hyper-locality, speed, diversity and convenience bundled together will bring 10x value generation to the customer to the point where price is irrelevant.
What are we at PeoplePerHour doing about this ?
Our business is entering a nice turning point today where its going from a startup to a sustainable, mature business, which is growing via network effects. It took us a good 5 years to get there
The next goal for us is to prove that we can deploy creative destruction in this space. Reinvent ourselves again and again so that we can lead by innovation. Develop all these tools that I mention above which are bound to be invented and bound to disrupt business.
This is no easy feat. But if it was it wouldn’t be so interesting. An easy challenge is not worth getting out of bed for.
2014 began with this goal in mind. And I feel reborn again. Ready for new products launches, new challenges, to reinvent and disrupt.