The prominence of information technology in the current day and age cannot be ignored. Almost every business requires some degree of IT, so that they can run efficiently and effectively. From building software to data integration, there is high demand for an extensive array of IT services, and this demand is ever-growing. In addition, small businesses find it very hard to locate good quality providers for their small jobs. As a result, many services marketplaces have come on the scene. These have been created with one sole purpose in mind; to connect IT buyers with IT providers. But is this really enough?
The short answer is ‘no’. The existing IT services marketplaces assist with discovery, so IT buyers don’t face problems in finding new service providers, and conversely providers are able to locate new IT customers to sell their services to. Yet, there is only limited value in just making this connect, as the marketplaces merely act as a listing directory. Buyers need much more from a marketplace, especially when the IT work is critical to their business.
By merely providing a list of providers, existing marketplaces fail to empower the buyers with the necessary knowledge and support they require to make the right decision. As mentioned earlier, there are a large number of varied IT services and skills that are required in the present day. The buyers need to know which companies are most proficient in relation to the skills they require. It is unlikely that SMB buyers will find small providers who offer optimum services in all areas, from reporting, to portal development, to application creation. Thus, buyers must select a service provider that is best suited for their needs, and need to be provided the knowledge and assistance required in making this decision.
When service providers are not local, IT buyers also look for quality control and local support. Many buyers do not have the resources or the capability to effectively oversee the remote work themselves. Once they have selected a provider, how do they know their service is being carried out to the highest standards? How do they effectively manage the project? Some of these services are what a good marketplace must offer, as a value-add to the buyer. Without these services, buyers are essentially ignorant, and will suffer at the hands of a poor quality provider.
Taking this into account, one of the best ways to control quality is to curate their panel of providers. A marketplace with known and evaluated service providers, gives the buyer peace of mind that they are dealing with the best in the business. Marketplaces can also assist the buyer in the process of selecting the right provider and can help in matching them to the right company.
An IT services marketplace could also oversee the whole project to make sure high quality is being delivered. The marketplace could essentially act as a watch dog, monitoring the quality of work. This adds value because the buyer can be confident that they have
benefitted despite lack of internal resources for project oversight.
To conclude, the marketplace should not merely present a list providers to the buyer and leave them to decide. For IT outsourcing to be handled effectively i.e. the ‘right’ buyers matched to the ‘right’ service providers, it requires intervention from the marketplace. This is the recipe for success.