Catalant Knows the Gig Economy


Presently more than 53 million Americans are active in the on-demand economy.

Christopher Collins is the general manager of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice at Catalant, which connects the world's leading companies with over 34,000 experts for on-demand business needs.

In this role, Collins supports the company’s mission of connecting global enterprises with software solutions to access elite business talent on demand.

IoT Evolution: Explain the how the Gig economy works and how quality work is maintained. I would think work has to be pretty specified for these gigs to be productive? Typically how does the work get organized?

Christopher Collins: The “gig economy” is a comprehensive term covering all types of work – from landscaping to complex data analysis – and a wide range of engagement models. At Catalant, we’ve built a technology platform that connects enterprises to independent business experts for project-based work.

Online, on-demand platforms like ours allow companies to address a wide range of business needs: From a quick, two-week pricing analysis of cloud hosting providers to a nine-month multi-phase part traceability and supply chain transparency initiative. Further, some online platforms allow organizations to translate their needs into actionable milestones – affording enterprises the ability to break big, complex problems into smaller pieces, and quickly engage with an expert who has the relevant subject matter background to get the job done.

On-demand platforms often go to lengths to retain quality assurance. At Catalant, our experts are granted access to the platform only after we have evaluated their professional experience and education, ensuring that only the most qualified experts are able to bid on projects. In fact, over 90 percent of our experts have a secondary degree, whether that’s a top 40 MBA or PhD, and an average of 10+ years of work experience. Furthermore, online platforms often offer ratings and review systems that enable clients to see exactly how experts have performed on past projects.

IoTE: It would strike me that skill development gets lost in the gig economy and people do not get room to grow. Is that a fair assessment or should I accept that good work gets rewarded with better gigs and job (gig?) expansion?

CC: Most professionals on online, on-demand platforms like Catalant are mid-career experts in their chosen field. They’ve spent 10, 20, and in some cases 30 years developing relevant skills and industry expertise, and now they want to maximize their return on that investment. So the ‘growth’ that many of our experts see typically comes in the form of things that traditional employers have a hard time providing – like the increased flexibility or sense of purpose that comes from being your own boss. But skill development absolutely continues, because – exactly like you said – when our experts deliver exceptional work, that effort gets recognized (we capture feedback on every completed project) and leads to additional and expanded opportunities. One expert on our platform recently completed a two-month project for the VP of marketing of a top 10 enterprise software provider, and he did such a great job that the company is now looking to create a customized year-long assignment.

IoTE: The telecom providers have turned into very gig oriented players thanks to the lessons from the cable operators on managing subcontractors. Given the goals to expand the network with new technology how do gig assignments get developed and offered? 

CC: Technology and communication enterprises are innovative by nature, and always looking to new technology to drive revenue gains and cost reductions. But it is interesting to me that some of the concepts and innovations that our industry uses every day – agile, cloud, SaaS/PaaS, virtualization, etc. – aren’t always applied to human capital. The reality is that people are choosing to work differently (some sources suggest that 50 percent of the workforce will be independent by 2020). Companies have an incredible opportunity to take advantage of this ‘talent cloud’ – a flexible, on-demand network of exactly the right expertise you need, when you need it. Catalant and other talent marketplaces are the best way for telecom and technology providers to do this, and be as innovative in terms of human capital as they are in traditional product or solution development.  

Catalant is striving to achieve for the telecom and technology providers they do business with. The gig economy is on the rise and soon the way people do business will change.  

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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