Reasons behind the rise of microconsutling engagements
The term “microconsulting” is defined as consulting work done by an expert who has deep knowledge of a given subject and can provide that expertise for a short-term project within a reasonable budget. Quite often these microconsulting projects can be as short term as months, weeks, or even days. The work is often performed by freelance professionals who may obtain projects through online marketplaces where clients post their projects. These freelancers can then explain and elaborate upon their expertise in order to be potentially matched with the client. Larger, established consulting firms are also increasingly offering these short term “microprojects” in order to cater to clients’ varying needs.
The niche offerings can be vast within microconsulting. Examples of client needs could include a small startup company who wants eSports marketing expertise for an upcoming product launch or an established financial company that wants to understand the high public interest regarding Bitcoin. Clients may choose microconsulting services when there is an urgent need for help and/or when a knowledge gap is acknowledged within the organization. Management can then seek out microconsulting expertise to meet the company’s needs. Theoretically, a microconsultant may not even need to meet in person with a client if the slice of expertise can be delivered via phone, email, chat or electronic portal.
Various online marketplaces are available that allow microconsultants to provide bursts of their consulting expertise. In fact, some sites even match microconsultants to clients by allowing an immediate phone call by a subject expert on a given topic. Choosing such an expert may be as easy as browsing a leaderboard listing of topical experts on a given guru service. Details of the consultants’ fees are posted, and then the client decides whether or not that expert matches the company’s needs.
Major Firms and Microconsulting Services
As the rapid development of technology continues, even large, established consultancies may not have in-house expertise for newly created needs. For example, a large medical device warehouse company may want to implement artificial intelligence within their stock selection workflow, but the available experts on such implementations may be hard to find. This scenario goes beyond just finding an expert in artificial intelligence. In fact, this particular client may also want an expert in medical devices, warehouses and one who is aware of the given country's regulatory environment. Accordingly, consultancies may have to seek outside expertise for obscure client assignments.
Shaping the On-demand Economy
Regarding specific industries that use microconsulting, some analysts contend that such services could even disrupt the federal contracting industry. Particularly, a blog entry in FCW outlined how some smaller firms are promoting short term, targeted projects for low cost. These small contractors are challenging the larger players that have dominated the government contracting industry for decades. These smaller entities can offer flexibility and agility, valuable qualities in a dynamic competitive landscape.
Some consulting firms are even overtly promoting themselves as microconsultants. They use terms such as "on-demand" and "fractional" to attract clients. Such firms may also offer long-term expertise, but they realize that clients may also have a need for urgent, short-term knowledge projects. These firms can compete against freelance microconsultants accordingly.
Within the mind of the client, the reasons for choosing microconsulting are many: readiness to start projects, speed of the overall work, low price, exceptional flexibility and deep expertise. With tools including online expert marketplaces offering access like never before, the microconsulting trend should continue to rise in popularity for any organization with agility as its highest priority.
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