The market for Expert Networks has experienced a meteoric rise. Since the creation of GLG, the pioneer of the space, in 1998, the volume of transactions relating to these tailor-made consultations has reached the $ 1.5B mark. The facts are there: organising consultations with a panel of experts has become the norm for all investment players. Moreover, the cost of these consultations is usually easily offset by the value of the information obtained, which can meaningfully enlighten participants and prove pivotal to the ultimate direction given to the project.
In a few years, the explosion of technologies making it possible to find an expert (LinkedIn) easily and connect them to an investor in a secure way (think Babelcloud and co.) regardless of their location, has sparked the creation of multiple Expert Network companies across the globe.
By way of comparison, we can say that the Expert Network market has followed the growth trajectory of the recruitment market: multiple players of all sizes coming into existence, some generalist and some specialised, some with a global and some with regional footprints. The user pool is much smaller for Expert Networks: mainly medium and large Consulting Firms and Investment Funds, while only professionals with significant experience in specific attractive sectors are likely to be approached to share their expertise.
This results in bottlenecks in both supply and expertise. Five points of friction emerge:
- Users are overwhelmed by the prospecting efforts of each Expert Network, each trying to gain market share by playing on their specialisation
- Large customers need to use multiple Expert Networks in this fragmented market to achieve sufficient coverage of industries or geography, leading to significant administrative overload: multiple contracts, compliance frameworks, and project management needs: one project manager per vendor, various invoices, et cetera
- More modest users find it difficult to access the larger Expert Networks who establish binding contractual conditions to lock in their market shares – such as minimum subscription mechanisms to hinder access to competition.
- Experts receive requests from multiple Expert Network companies, often on the same project, which increases their distrust of an already considered (wrongly) opaque industry due to the confidential nature usually required during discussions
- Expert Networks face fierce competition and are tempted to prioritise speed of execution and volume to the detriment of the quality of profiles to “beat” the competition.
The Expert Network market is now experiencing a genuine hurdle with palpable dissatisfaction on both the customer and the expert sides, with growth prospects being seriously constrained for suppliers.
Fortunately, there are modern solutions to restore efficiency and confidence in the face of this deadlock that is harmful to all actors. For example, in January 2021, Consverge launched its marketplace-type platform, allowing users to access a large number of generalist and specialised Expert Networks from a single point platform.
Such a platform makes it possible to address the five points of friction listed above:
- The platform acts as a buffer between users and Expert Networks, carefully selecting suppliers capable of delivering the best service by sector and geography. Consverge manages the entire vendor relationship, from onboarding to project management and invoicing.
- Regardless of their size, all users get unlimited access to all Expert Networks partners selected by Consverge, but without the inconvenience of managing multiple vendors. Consverge provides a single Project Manager for all needs. Contract, compliance, project management, invoicing, et cetera, all parameters are manageable from the platform.
- Contractual constraints are lifted, as Consverge offers a Pay-as-You-Go model to all customers, a feature that has proved immensely popular with large and small users alike.
- Consverge selects the most appropriate Expert Networks from among its partners to optimise the search for experts and avoid conflicts for each project. This approach guarantees the quality of profiles and speed of delivery but also respects the individuals contacted. From the Expert Networks perspective, this means working on projects that best suit them, facilitating their work and enhancing their specificities whilst asking them to expend precious time on projects they are less suited to.
- Freed from competitive pressure, Expert Networks can combine quality and speed to the benefit of users.
The aggregation movement, which can be observed in many sectors, logically imposes itself on the Expert Network market as the solution to almost all of its current ills. This is particularly beneficial since it does not penalise any of the players. On the contrary, it has the potential to make all exchanges more fluid and promote growth.
Whether you are a user/customer or a supplier if you want to participate in the Consverge transformation you can register on our platform at https://portal.consverge.com/ or reach us at: email@example.com