What are Expert Networks and Micro-Consulting?
Understanding the distinction between an expert network, a community, and an audience is key. An audience passively consumes information, while a community engages in a two-way interaction with shared interests. An Expert Network, however, is more specialized, involving smaller peer consulting networks for more direct, expert-based interaction.
Experts on demand
Businesses are increasingly adopting an on-demand consulting model. This approach, akin to a consulting marketplace, matches business requirements with precise expert insights.
A community, in my definition, is a smaller group that has a common purpose and interests and has a two-way experience with a brand.
One example comes in the form of Inex One. They aggregate various expert networks, offering simplified, virtual consulting sessions focused on investment research.
Another example is ProSapient, an expert network designed to facilitate research, connecting users with industry executives using machine learning tools. They tout the idea that they are the next generation surpassing GLG and Alphasights. But let’s be clear, building an expert network as a new brand is hard. This is the opportunity. Any trusted brand that brings experts together, can pivot to also be an expert network.
Cost and time-efficient
This model, part of the gig economy for consultants, offers cost-effective, bite-sized consulting solutions. Businesses pay only for the specific insights they need, bypassing extensive research or training. This direct access to tailored advice services is enhanced by technology, increasing access to verified, trusted expertise.
Increasing access to experts
The digital transformation has broadened access to expert knowledge. Freelance expertise is now available by the minute – and at precisely the right time, given the economic pressure on many organizations today. Technology is increasing our access to bonafide, trusted expertise. This model supports the knowledge exchange platforms economy and aids recovery by providing business-critical insights.
Growth in corporate expert networks
The largest, and fastest growing, of the expert networks is consulting. Large firms like GLG and Alphasights are bringing back former consultants to offer their expertise to corporations. They act as the curator and coordinator between experts and those that need them. This model has its limits because the relationship rarely continues with the experts and the GLG’s and Alphasights own that workflow as a proprietary and sometimes questionable model.
Concurrently, more start-ups and SMEs are recognizing the edge that expertise offers them, so more are beginning to tap into expert networks. It’s worth consulting leaders noting this, as, if large consultancies don’t recognize this and adapt, they will lose out on a lucrative, growing market.
Intellectual overhead = potential expert-driven model
Organizations with intellectual resources, like membership models, publishers, or advisory boards, are well-positioned to benefit from expert-driven models. Offering micro-consulting not only diversifies revenue streams but also embeds brands more deeply in their customers’ business operations, moving from being merely helpful to business-critical.
Real experts needed
Decision-makers require specific, expert advice now more than ever. In a competitive market, informed decisions are crucial, and budgets may not stretch to traditional consultancy fees. Expert networks and niche consulting bridge this gap, providing industry-specific consulting and insights.
The expert-driven era
Leveraging and offering insights through professional insight platforms will be crucial for success. The ability to combine expert knowledge with client needs through micro-consulting can lead to better business outcomes.
In summary, as we navigate the new normal, the reliance on expert networks and specialized knowledge platforms is more significant than ever. Organizations that effectively leverage these resources for customer success, offering flexible consulting solutions and proactive outreach, are poised for growth and innovation.