When I set out to build a new business back in May 2016, I knew it was going to be hard.
It was going to be especially hard because I’d need to learn how to be part of a team crafting software to guide other people - deeply talented and proudly experienced professional people - through the highly nuanced steps of buying and selling professional services.
And to make it doubly challenging, I went for what’s commonly called digital transformation services transacted via a marketplace platform that’s on the open internet for anyone to apply to get into.
Yeah, just a wee bit complex.
Although my team and I are still really early in our journey to transform how businesses globally advance their systems & data capabilities - through professional services that are sourced and transacted via a marketplace platform - we’re tackling the complexity and we're nicely on our way.
But we’ve had to make some tough calls to get here.
We’ve had to give some tough love.
At a high level, it might seem generous that we’re onboarding around 35% of applicants wanting to provide services via the MeasureMatch platform.
You wouldn’t be completely wrong.
Our screening process is, admittedly, guided by human effort. This is to say that, in the final analysis, we mortal humans manually review each complete, *open market submission for an Expert account. And, yes, occasionally we err. So far, that’s not proven to be substantively problematic.
Note: Open market simply means the service providers have self-selected to submit their account applications, which is different from those applications we receive from service providers invited by technology vendors participating in the MeasureMatch marketplace via Partner Hubs.
Importantly, there is a not insignificant number of applicant submissions that never see the light of day - the result of platform-designed filtering. For example, all applicants in full-time roles looking for “side hustles” i.e. evening and weekend freelance work are immediately, automatically screened out.
Of the remaining 35% of successful service provider applicants, upward to 20% are scrubbed from the platform, mostly for not playing by the rules.
So, what does this mean? Is this good? Or are we creating animus and distrust? No doubt, somewhere, someone’s not happy.
Let us continue.
Applying strict onboarding controls only on the supply side of the platform is one thing, but what about filtering out noise from the demand side?
Suffice it to say that all clients are equal, but some clients are more equal than others.
Unlike the “free market” models of many of today’s “freelance” marketplaces, in that they maintain predominantly laissez-faire - and, arguably, a-race-to-the-bottom-environment-is-ok - positions relative to supply and demand onboarding, and marketplace participation (i.e. no screening, vetting or filtering of any kind), leaving it to the ebbs and flows of “market” dynamics to determine the winners and losers, well, we see that as a recipe for a lot of unnecessary pain.
That’s akin to living in a country with no healthcare systems.
The potential for wasted time, distraction and disappointment is too great, so we’re doing things differently, and unapologetically.
It’s a slog and we’re still some way from a fully automated process (perhaps never) that works as well as a hybrid tech + human touch approach, but we’re very happy with, and confident in, the makeup of our service provider network. It’s a colourful patchwork of hungry, highly specialist and very capable consultancies, agencies, systems integrators, and a population of solopreneur consultants that are scary smart!
The volume of completed contracts, in the aggregate and per month, are such that we can rather confidently blow our own horns a little now.
The rigour, the care, the hard work is paying off.
Clients are happy and, in turn, so are we. Here’s what a client in Los Angeles shared with us last night (29 June 2020) when he submitted a contract completion confirmation,
Does tough love work? And those hard calls?
In the pursuit of customer happiness, it ultimately depends on the execution.
We’re not perfect, by any means. Not at all. But we appear to be doing something right. Something that’s setting a firm foundation for growth, for continued success and, in time, substantive scale.
Deep, heartfelt thanks go to each service provider, each client and each SaaS and enterprise software leader who’s stepped into the MeasureMatch professional services marketplace platform.
My team and I get to enjoy working with each other (and we do), building value for you, every day.
I’m writing this blog post to address a concern expressed by a small, but valuable number of independent consultants and consultancies. The concern I hear is often phrased in a question like this: “Why would I want to...
London-based MeasureMatch, the enterprise systems and data professional services marketplace, announces the launch of Service Partner Hubs