Expanding Your Business into the Gig Economy: When to Partner and When to DIY

August 1, 2018

Contract work is the new norm. These professionals are the backbone of the gig economy, making up almost 7 percent of the entire U.S. workforce and growing.

Contract workers keep flexible schedules and maximize their earning potential. Many traditional organizations have begun to test the waters of contingent work and build workflows that include contractor-driven services. For example, popular businesses such as Home Depot, Papa John’s Pizza and Walmart have rolled out contingent programs designed to get in on the gig economy ground floor, add talent to their rosters and improve customer service.

Those businesses looking to follow in the footsteps of these giants must consider how they might retrofit their support systems and processes to gain entrance into the gig economy. Because contingent workflows usually rely on data-backed recruitment, employee-management and consumer applications, chief information security officers are among the many executive stakeholders grappling asking one big question: Should my in-house teams manage this operational change, or is it smarter to partner with external service providers that can offer field-tested solutions?

Considering the DIY Approach

The information technology infrastructure that drives the gig economy is incredibly complicated. Before businesses can even think about how they might introduce a gig economy marketplace to its customers, they must first have the power to recruit contractors, manage employee verification activities and communicate with contingent professionals that have been cleared for service.

Developing these capabilities in-house will require resources that even the most established organizations struggle to coordinate, which, by the way, includes the IT expertise needed to execute such projects in the first place. An estimated 68 percent of enterprises are struggling to pinpoint IT professionals with the expertise necessary to develop secure back-end platforms.

In short, creating an on demand marketplace built on contractors is a huge investment of time and resources. Additionally, a majority of the brands that have embraced this approach have ample capital to address inevitable operational hiccups. Smaller enterprises that attempt to develop contingent workflows in house do not have this luxury, introducing more risk.

Establishing Partnerships

In the past, businesses might have balked at working with third-parties to create digital tools for the management of sensitive customer and employee data. But today these partnerships are nothing out of the ordinary. When it comes to scaling operational workflows that function in the gig economy, perform properly and do not weigh on the bottom line, such collaborations are essential. Take, for example, the relationship between modular furniture giant Ikea and TaskRabbit. Ikea turned to TaskRabbit’s online marketplace of freelancers to expand into at-home setup services. This allowed the company to leverage TaskRabbit’s seamless customer experience and offer wide-ranging assembly services without investing in and relying upon internal technology or ramping up recruitment.

In the end, traditional businesses looking to capitalize on contingent workforces should definitely consider partnerships with capable service providers, so long as they work to build out identity verification workflows that the gig economy demands.

At Evident, we help organizations create scalable, user-friendly and risk-free processes for data management and identification. Our Identity Assurance Platform was designed with privacy and the gig economy in mind. Get started in minutes by signing up today.

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David Thomas

David Thomas, CEO at Evident, is an accomplished cybersecurity entrepreneur. He has a history of introducing innovative technologies, establishing them in the market, and driving growth – with each early-stage company emerging as the market leader.

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