What is expertise, and how do expert networks work?

It’s become clear that expertise, knowledge and information are key to succeeding in business today.

The expert economy is fast-becoming the most popular way for freelancers to succeed in a competitive marketplace. The next great gig is without doubt freelance workers using their expertise to forge a successful career and to make a good living.

With 50% of the global workforce expected to be freelance by 2020, savvy workers are using their knowledge and wisdom to give themselves a leg up in their industry and to ensure they’re indispensable in a thriving and growing market.

Businesses right around the world are reaping the rewards of this expanding expert economy and are regularly taking advantage of highly-skilled and talented freelance experts. This expertise is not only giving companies that competitive edge to deliver ground-breaking and award-winning work, but are also helping to build highly-successful expert networks at the same time.

How an expert network works

According to Investopedia, expert networks are groups of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) hired by firms in need of high-level expertise that their in-house employees are unable to provide. Experts in these networks generally charge high fees in exchange for their services, they can be hired on short- or long-term contracts, on a need-be basis or on a retainer.

The expert network is the platform used to promote and “sell” the expert’s work. The expert network platform makes money on the difference between what they charge the client and pay the expert. An independent expert will usually set their own rate, but will also work on rates set by the client if they are close to what they usually command.

Experts can be brought in on either an hourly, daily or set project rate. The rates can be set depending on the scope of work or the importance of taking on a specific freelancer to complete a job. Fees can also be set and measured by performance and the better the reputation and previous delivery of work, the freelancer can command a higher rate.

An expert network can also work in several different ways. The network could have experts as employees, or the experts may simply be contracted or have freelance arrangements with the expert network company.

Taking advantage of expert networks

An expert network is made up of professionals who are the leading experts in their field. Available for hire by third-parties, these experts are employed by organisations that need consultation on specific topics that fall outside of their standard knowledge-base.

Expert networks play the matchmaker between the business and the people that possess the expertise they are seeking. Similar to traditional headhunting, expert networks can help find key workers that are the right fit for the job in almost any field, in no time at all. One of the most popular and thriving expert networks visible today are online freelancing platforms.

Online freelancing websites – like Upwork, Alifery or Freelancer – promote workers’ expertise and are being used by organisations all around the world. One of the leading online platforms to find experts in the legal, tech, finance and consultancy sectors is Australian-based freelancing website Alifery Freelance Experts. The Alifery ecosystem provides access to skilled and vetted talent, tailors work to meet business needs and reduces overheads.

Alifery is all about people. The company uses technology to bring people together to find answers to problems of any size. They connect businesses to Australia’s pool of intelligence who come from a wide variety of backgrounds but share a dedication to excellence. Their online platform manages all stages of the client/freelancer relationship so insight can be shared quickly and effortlessly.

Expert network models

According to inexone, there are several different expert network operating models. Let’s take a look at those most relevant to today’s thriving expert economy and the growing freelance market.

Standard model

Expert networks rely heavily on the knowledge and flexibility of their employees. Organisations can spend hours trawling through career websites and LinkedIn, or take advantage of online freelancing websites, like those mentioned above. Expert networks build databases of experts that have proven successful in the past and can be used again. This overall approach is called the “standard model”.

Machine-driven expert networks

Machine-driven expert networks identified that the time spent looking for experts can be detrimental to a business. Their solution is to automate this work to increase the “yield” per employee, i.e. any combination of (1) finding more experts (2) finding experts faster, and (3) finding more relevant experts per client request. Alongside internal recruiting networks, online freelancing platforms – like Alifery – are key components to reducing the time spent on searching for the right talent and are proving successful in finding the right person for any job.

Expertise is the way forward

It’s become clear that expertise, knowledge and information are key to succeeding in business today. Organisations all around the world are now tapping into this knowledge-based economy to ensure they stand out in the crowd and become the best in their industry.

The Wall Street Journal found that 20% of workers held “knowledge work” positions in 2016 and that trend has been growing year-on-year since the 1980s. By the year 2020, more freelance experts are expected to take advantage of a rapidly growing gig economy to not only build better careers, but to enrich their lives and to live a more worthwhile existence.

Find out more about Alifery here or register an account here to gain access to short term projects or freelance experts.

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