The Next Industrial Revolution
An Australian invention that makes it easier to rapidly match specialist professional skills with the demands of large organisations could transform the global consulting and contracting market.
The patented technology, called Industrialised Adhocracy (IA), not only threatens incumbent management consultants, professional firms of all persuasions and head hunters, it could blow a hole in the growth trajectory of online networking site, LinkedIn.
Chanticleer reckons this is a truly disruptive technology that perfectly suits the long-term need for Australia to transform itself into a knowledge economy.
This grassroots response to our loss of global competitiveness is not being matched by any sense of urgency among federal politicians. While the Abbott government made welcome changes to vocational training on Monday, there is little if any focus or public discussion of the negative impact on professions of the continued use of outsourcing and offshoring.
Meanwhile, countries such as Singapore are providing incentives to make itself the regional hub for professional associations.
The IA platform allows members of an industry association to offer their services to companies seeking to build teams or hire individuals for specialist projects.
It is rapidly gaining momentum. Chanticleer can reveal that it is now licensed to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, which has 100,000 members, the Australian Marketing Institute, which has 7,500 members, the Australian Computer Society, which has 22,000 members and Internal Consulting Group, which has a network of more than 1000 staff.
The chartered accountants have established a specialist portal called CA Consult which is a platform that allows members to connect with companies seeking external staff to run projects ranging from one day to a year or more.
The Australian Marketing Institute has created a service called AMI Talent Sourcing, which is already being used to match marketing professionals with companies in financial services and banking.
The Australian Computer Society opened up the IA platform to its members who hold the certified professional and certified technologist qualifications two months ago.
THE ULTIMATE BOX OF LEGO
David Moloney, who patented the IA idea in New Zealand and has patents pending in Australia and the United States, says up to 30 industry associations are considering licensing the platform. Some of these want to take it to their global headquarters and roll it out.
He says a good analogy for describing how the IA platform works is the film industry. Once a director and producer have secured financing for a new film they are able to pull together teams of specialists at short notice.
Another example is the way in which teams are brought together for the Olympics every four years. People with unique skills in a range of disciplines work for more than a year in order to execute a project that lasts for only 16 days.
Moloney says he thinks of professional organisations as the ultimate box of Lego, with one colour for each professional association type such as accountants, consultants computer scientists or marketers. You put together the blocks to build the project.
The IA licensing platform comes at a turning point in the history of industry associations. The relevance of associations is being questioned as an increasing number of people turn to sites like LinkedIn for professional networking, sharing information and finding employment. LinkedIn is a powerful tool for people seeking to communicate with those with similar interests. It is growing strongly in Australia with about 5.5 million members. Research by Lead Creation found 40 per cent of LinkedIn members now visit the site daily.
Alan Patterson, chief executive of the Australian Computer Society, says it is more important than ever for Australia to play at the high end of the IT value chain.
He is right when he says we are a trade exposed economy that needs to develop the professional skills required in a world obsessed with data security, privacy and the ethical use of information.
He says the Australian Computer Society has an obligation to all its members to provide services that give them an alternative to traditional employment. He is particularly concerned that the society provide opportunities for employment for graduates.
Patterson says the IA platform operates like sieve for talent. It can curate the skills that companies might need.
He says the IA approach to matching skills could put Australia in a leading position to service companies overseas.
The IA platform allows companies to build teams rapidly use the patented curation process called Best Affiliate Forward. It allows companies using the service to identify the most suitable candidates.
Lee Tonitto, chief executive of the Australian Market Institute, says industry associations are definitely facing a challenge to prove to their members the worth of annual membership fees.
However, she says the accreditation that is offered by industry associations gives them an advantage as companies seek to find staff they can trust. The skills and capabilities available through a curated IA platform may well be more trusted than those found on LinkedIn or an employment website.
Moloney says pools of talent at professional associations have three big advantages: for clients they provide the biggest and widest possible pool so they get a more effective match of skills to need, they provide capability assessment and on going development which link to the very criteria that clients are using to select the labour resource, and finally those responsible for supply are able to manage the supply curve in the long run.
The IA platform has echoes of the transformation of industry caused by technological disruption. This disruption was well described by Philip Evans of Boston Consulting Group at a TedX event.
He said technology had changed the traditional view of strategy and competitive advantage. Vertically integrated organisations were being challenged by the collaboration between individuals and team building through distributed internet sites.
He argued that the very small would substitute for the advantages of scale achieved in vertically integrated organisations.
That fits well with Moloney’s invention which has created a platform beneath a cooperative structure (professional associations) that then allows individuals who would normally compete to co-operate and collaborate as if they were part of a large enterprise.
FEAR OF THE AYES
There is some crazy fear and loathing going around about the potential impact on National Australia Bank of the possible yes vote for Scottish secession.
Chanticleer even saw one wild suggestion that there would be a run on NAB’s Scottish bank if the vote went through.
However, this speculation appears to ignore the fact that Bank of England governor Mark Carney reminded people last month that nothing would be happening to disturb financial stability.
He said: “Whatever happens in the vote, the Bank of England will be the continuing authority for financial stability for some period of time, certainly over the interim period, and we will look to discharge our responsibilities accordingly. We have contingency plans we develop. I would underscore in terms of our responsibilities for financial stability we have a wide range of tools and plans.”
The other big fact that is ignored is that even if there is a yes vote, it will be 18 months before anything changes in relation to currency or deposit insurance or bank bail out protection.
Shareholders in NAB should remember what the banks said at its third quarter trading update: “The Scottish independence vote takes place on 18 September and a vote in favour of independence may give rise to significant additional costs and risks for Clydesdale Bank. We continue to closely monitor the situation and have appropriate contingency planning in place.”