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PwC Wants To Use ‘Gig Economy’ Workers to Staff Projects for Its Clients

PWC may be doing it for themselves however the power is when it is a third party market place…

Freelance workers are a significant part of its future. 

PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big Four accounting firms and No. 53 on Fortune’s 2016 Best Companies to Work For list, is looking to cash in on the so-called gig economy.

The company said Monday that it has launched a marketplace where freelance workers can upload their resumés and apply to work on projects for PwC clients. If PwC deems them qualified for a specific project, the freelancers will be invited to bid on the job by submitting their per-hour rate. Then it will be up to PwC to decide what workers get the gig.

Miles Everson, leader of PwC US Advisory, said the platform will allow the firm to tap into the growing segment of the workforce that’s independent. “We’ve seen a big increase in the freelance workforce,” he told Fortune on Monday. Part of that trend is driven by demographics—mainly people retiring. But there are other people who are voluntarily “choosing to move around,” Everson said. “They’re building micro-entrepreneur careers by moving from one set of projects and experiences to another.”

Solid figures for the size of the independent workforce are often fuzzy and hard to pin down, but there is evidence that it’s growing. In October, for instance, the Freelancers Union and Upwork, a freelance talent marketplace, released a survey of 7,100 working adults in the U.S. that showed that one in three U.S. workers—or 54 million people—were freelancing, an increase of 700,000 from the year before.

PwC’s new platform called “Talent Exchange” is only available in the United States and is primarily geared toward the firm’s consulting business. It launched February 8 and as of Friday had garnered 4,650 registrants. Everson said PwC is still determining what percentage of applicants actually come away with a job, but he projected that freelancers will eventually make up 10% of the firm’s consulting workforce in the U.S., which now stands at 13,000.

Companies that rely heavily on independent workers—Uber and Lyft, to name a few—often say their hiring of freelancers reflects workers’ preference for flexibility, but they’re often criticized for using freelance workers instead of hiring full- or part-time employees. Independent workers—sometimes identified by their 1099 tax designation in the United States—are usually a cheaper alternative to a traditional W-2 employees since employers don’t have to pay for their Social Security and unemployment insurance or for their overtime and breaks.

In response to that critique, Everson said, “The jobs that we’re creating—they’re not low paid. We’re looking for highly skilled people who want an alternative work-life arrangement.”

He also said that workers can maintain a 1099 designation if they want or there’s a way for them to work through the platform under a W-2 status. “My view is that this is not wage arbitrage.” PwC might actually end up paying more for freelancers than it would if the work was done by its regular employees, he said.

That’s due—in large part—to the type of talent PwC is after. Many of the jobs it’s trying to staff with freelancers require skills that are in high demand and are hard to find. For example, PwC needs experts in Salesforce’s cloud software, but “we can’t hire them fast enough from a full-time standpoint,” Everson said. “If you’re the best at what you do, you’ll get a high rate.”

PwC’s new marketplace for freelancers is called “Talent Exchange.”

By Claire Zillman – Financial Times

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Is failure of leadership the reason why frontline workers are disengaged?

Executives generally overestimate their effectiveness as motivators and leaders.

Only three out of ten American workers feel engaged by their job, according to a Gallup Poll published in 2015. Data from McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index, encompassing a decade of survey results from 3 million employees at almost 1,300 organizations, offer insights into why this may be true.

Part of the problem, it seems, is that senior people have a rose-tinted view of realities on the ground. For example, a 2013 study of our OHI database showed that top managers in organizations are more positive than frontline workers about the ability of their organizations to perform over the long term. The biggest discrepancies (exhibit) concern perceptions of whether organizations have the ability to motivate their employees—to engender the enthusiasm that propels extraordinary effort and delivers great results—and assessments of whether their leaders can inspire action by others. Not surprisingly, top managers also overestimate their visibility: for example, separate McKinsey research shows that during transformations, 86 percent of senior executives believe that they are actively demonstrating the change they want employees to make, but only 53 percent of employees do.

 

Exhibit

 

According to the Gallup research, actively disengaged employees cost the US economy between $450 billion and $550 billion in lost productivity every year. Yet McKinsey data show that when employees are intrinsically motivated, they are 32 percent more committed to (and 46 percent more satisfied with) their jobs, suffer significantly less burnout than other employees do, and perform 16 percent better.

By Michael Bazigos and Emily Caruso – McKinsey Quarterly

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Tech Companies, New and Old, Clamor to Entice Cloud Computing Experts

Skills are hard to find…

Amazon Web Services, a globe-spanning cloud computing network that is part of the online retailing giant Amazon, has rapidly become one of the most powerful forces in technology. It has also become a target for poachers.

Last October, at a conference in Las Vegas with thousands of corporate executives and software developers in attendance, A.W.S.’s chief, Andy Jassy, strode before an intentionally poorly disguised image of Lawrence J. Ellison, founder and chairman of the Oracle Corporation. Foot-tall words like “bullies,” “extorted” and “strong arm” appeared next to Mr. Jassy and the image of Ellision. The logo of Oracle, one of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley, was barely crossed out.

“Our marketing team needs work on redaction,” Mr. Jassy joked.

The hunt for the hard-to-find talent that can build and run the massive data centers behind cloud computing is pitting three generations of companies against one another. Old-guard companies like Oracle, tech’s current giants like Amazon and its peers, as well as Bay Area start-ups are offering big salaries and big perks for cloud computing experts.

On the social media site LinkedIn, for example, there are over 130 engineering positions available at Oracle Seattle. Many of them are the kind of jobs that now pay $300,000 to $1 million a year, according to Shannon Anderson, who has been recruiting engineers in Seattle and the Bay Area for 25 years.

Seattle and its surrounding towns are a hot spot for this kind of tech talent because they are home to A.W.S., which runs the biggest cloud computing service, and Microsoft, which has a large cloud business called Azure. Google also has a cloud computing office in the area. So does Facebook.

“Someone working deep inside Amazon is getting five to 20 recruiting offers a day,” Ms. Anderson said. “Compensation has doubled in five years.” For a recruiter, who is typically paid a percentage of a star engineer’s compensation, “this is a very good time,” she said.

Cloud computing, which powers an increasing number of our devices and services, allows a vast collection of computers — often spread around the world — to operate like one giant machine.

These computing clouds are being filled with once unimaginable amounts of data from apps, websites and sensors on all sorts of things. Fast-growing online services like Snapchat run on cloud systems. Apple has its own cloud, as does Facebook. Cloud systems even offer the computing muscle needed for things like artificial intelligence.

As other tech sectors show signs of slowing, cloud services have created unprecedented demand for highly educated engineers and mathematicians who can build and operate these flywheels of data. Instead of asking about the latest computer coding languages or how to make a web page load faster, the most important question in tech hiring has become: Can you handle petabytes? That is the data in about 13 billion images, or roughly the amount of printed information that would fit in 20 million file cabinets.

“It’s an aggressive market,” said Corey Sanders, director of program management at Microsoft Azure. “We are all data engineers now, and we can convince people that this is the best place to learn that.”

The ability to deal with so much data has also become important to industrial companies like General Electric in figuring out things like jet engine maintenance schedules. G.E.’s pitch to cloud computing experts: We offer a chance to rebuild the industrial world.

In the last three years, G.E. has hired 1,500 software developers and systems engineers, and trained a similar number of existing employees to work on cloud systems connected to everything from smartphones to wind turbines and jet engines.

“We’ve hired from every large company, places like Amazon and Google, as well as start-ups, or out of schools,” said William Ruh, the head of G.E.’s cloud business. “We pay well, with attractive benefits, a life and a chance to work on the mission to remake American industry.”

Still, he said, “I’m totally shocked at how fast compensation is moving up.”

For smaller companies, the gold rush is more complicated. In San Francisco’s South Park neighborhood, Tom Chavez runs a company called Krux that scans data from more than three billion devices, creating a trove of seven petabytes of information retrieved by several hundred companies. Many of his 160 or so employees are just the kind of people the giants, along with other start-ups, are looking for.

“LinkedIn or Facebook can offer an engineer with a few years’ experience a package close to $1 million,” said Mr. Chavez, who co-founded Krux and is its chief executive. “We wanted someone out of Stanford for an internship, and Google offered her an annualized $180,000 for the summer,” or about $45,000 for three months.

Facebook also wants employees like the people Mr. Chavez has hired. In fact, Vivek Vaidya, a Krux co-founder, calls the steep salaries Krux is compelled to pay “our Facebook tax.”

Krux takes up several floors of a brick building at the base of South Park, a onetime place of sweatshops that has filled with start-ups and venture capitalists.

On the ground floor, development engineers get daily calls asking if they want to jump ship. A nearby team of data scientists gets 20 or more unsolicited emails a week via LinkedIn. Upstairs, Krux’s recruiter strives to keep people, even as he looks to take from others.

“I can’t compete with a $50,000 signing bonus from Google, so I focus on the person, what really motivates them,” said Cade Garrett, who has recruited about 100 people to Krux.

Besides offering stock options that could be valuable if the company has initial public offering, a fast-growing start-up can offer younger engineers a crash course in technology — the kind of training that could one day allow them to start their own companies.

“I tell them this isn’t the best-paying job, but they have to think about where things are going: Everything they do here is mission critical,” Mr. Garrett said. “You go to Google, you can’t be sure that in a couple of years you’ll have a product to show.”

Mr. Chavez thinks industry titans like Larry Page, the chief executive of the Alphabet holding company that includes Google, are intentionally driving up salaries. “If I was Larry, I’d do the same thing: throw a few more million at people and cut off everyone else’s oxygen.”

Even so, Mr. Garrett tries to keep engineers’ contact information off the Krux websites to foil recruiters. And he is more than happy to do his own poaching. Zenefits, a fast-growing online employee-benefits company currently reeling from the departure of its founding chief and a round of layoffs, is a target.

“Absolutely, I’ll call into any company that is in trouble,” he said.

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Managing talent in a digital age

More changes for labor related business….

Online labor platforms make it easier to find—and harder to retain—talented people. They give companies a real opportunity to transform the way they recruit, develop, and engage their employees.

It’s safe to say that when one out of every two working-age adults in the United States has registered for a certain website—LinkedIn, for example, boasts more than 122 million US members—it has achieved critical mass. In fact, LinkedIn and sites like Careerbuilder and Monster.com have changed the way employers and employees connect, and digital marketplaces such as Freelancer.com, Toptal, and Upwork have transformed the sourcing of contractors’ services around the world.

Digital labor platforms have also created a more transparent job market. Top performers know their value and are growing more footloose as a result; many are going online to find new opportunities and to evaluate potential employers. What’s more, a lot of people now scour platforms such as Glassdoor to learn what current employees have to say about their job satisfaction, company culture, and lifestyle. Companies that don’t manage their workplace reputations carefully or engage their employees appropriately will find themselves on the losing side of an increasingly digital war for talent.

A new wave of digital tools can help companies to focus not only on hiring but also on managing, retaining, and developing employees. Digital labor platforms can pull these tools into an integrated whole as companies widen their labor pools, refine their recruiting and screening methods, and deploy their employees more effectively. Such tools, and the platforms that include them, can put the right person in the right job, identify gaps in skills, help employees as they gain new capabilities, chart career paths, and nurture the development of the next generation of leaders.

In short, digital labor platforms occupy a place at the frontier of big data analytics and IT-enabled performance improvement. Companies can capture substantial value by applying digital innovations to some of the most critical organizational challenges: matching the supply of and demand for labor, boosting productivity, and getting the most out of people.

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By Susan Lund, James Manyika, and Kelsey Robinson – McKinsey

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Companies Tap Alumni for New Business and New Workers

How to leverage past employees…..

SAP, Nielsen and the Gates Foundation use online platforms to stay in closer touch with former employees

More companies are treating their former employees like alumni rather than deserters.

Big consulting firms like McKinsey & Co. and Ernst & Young LLP for years have kept tabs on former workers as a talent pool, as well as a source of new business and candidate referrals. Now as workers across more industries are increasingly jumping from job to job, a broader array of companies and organizations are taking note of the competitive advantage alumni networks can offer and are funneling resources toward keeping their former personnel in the fold.

“You never know where that next client or next piece of work will come from,” says Lisa Taylor, founder and president of Challenge Factory, a Toronto workforce-analytics firm.

At McKinsey, where many junior employees cut out after a couple of years, the company stays in contact with its more than 31,000 former consultants world-wide through online webinars and in-person networking events, says Sean Brown, global director of alumni relations. The company also gives former workers an incentive to stay connected by offering them access to firm research.

Alumni can serve as de facto “brand ambassadors,” which maximizes candidate quality and yield in recruitment, Mr. Brown says. Some also return to the company full time or on a contract basis. Many go to work for clients and refer business back to the firm as well.

Asked for a measure of how successful its alumni efforts have been at leading to rehiring of former employees or bringing in new business, a McKinsey spokesperson says the company doesn’t track such statistics.

Companies in other sectors, meanwhile, are leveraging the Web and digital technology in their efforts to rev up formal alumni programs. SAP SE recently digitized and updated personnel records of former employees from paper documents and old computer files in the human-resources department. Streamlining those records helped SAP set up a database and a platform on which its alumni can interact with one another and with current workers. The overarching goals, he says, are to stay connected to alumni talent as well as drive sales and brand awareness through word-of-mouth.

Customized forums

For assistance setting up its platform, a burgeoning cottage industry of third-party providers has sprung up to help companies create customized social networks for their alumni, as an alternative to the informal groups of alumni that pop up on big public networks such as LinkedIn.

With its new platform, launched last month, SAP plans to target specific groups of alumni with email newsletters, and to offer webinars, blogs and live community events, as well as extend invitations to in-person special events for VIP alumni. To encourage registration, Mr. Ettling says, SAP will promote its new official network in an existing LinkedIn group for former SAP employees, and the company hopes current workers will broadcast the message, too.

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A similar effort is under way at Nielsen Co., the ratings firm, which is working to shepherd former employees into a recently relaunched alumni program. Nielsen is dovetailing that effort with a campaign to develop and train leaders, says Chris Louie, senior vice president for global talent acquisition. “Some of these folks might have an interest in coming back to Nielsen,” Mr. Louie says.

Nielsen is trying to get thousands of former employees who belong to a group on LinkedIn to switch over to an alumni forum custom-built for Nielsen, The Nielsen forum features profiles of alumni and job postings.

Many alumni go to work for clients within the industry, Mr. Louie says, so it’s advantageous for the firm to maintain ties with them.

To boost registrations, Nielsen also has launched a “refer-a-friend” program, where former employees who join the platform and enlist others to register as well receive a $10 gift card. The company says several hundred employees have opted in so far.

Nielsen and SAP spokesmen say it’s too soon to say how much impact their online alumni forums are having in terms of boomerang hires or bringing in new business.

Names and numbers

Getting large numbers of alumni to participate is key. When the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched its formal alumni network platform in 2014, Deputy Director Andrea Voytko, head of the alumni program, reached out to roughly 1,200 former employees. Workers who leave the foundation, Ms. Voytko says, often go on to similar roles in the nonprofit sphere and wanted a structured way to stay in the loop on foundation news. Other programming in the works for the platform includes in-person training opportunities and networking events. Job openings are posted, too, Ms. Voytko says.

“They may go and work in the field,” she says, “but hopefully come back to us with their additional expertise.”

The foundation has rehired seven alumni since the network’s launch in November 2014. Jeffrey Ried, a six-year veteran of the foundation who left in 2011, joined the alumni network soon after it was created. Almost immediately, he says, people at the foundation reached out to him with a seven-month contract opportunity in his area of expertise, agricultural development.

Mr. Ried jumped at the opportunity. “It was a natural fit,” he says.

By Lindsay Gellman – Wall Street Journal

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Security, Talent Among Tech’s Top Priorities for 2016

Talent and collaboration are key themes from CIO conference….

At The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Network conference last week, chief information officers voiced their continued focus on securing their companies, hiring the right talent and building out new infrastructure to help them reach their customers.

Security “is really on everybody’s mind,” said Brad Strock, CIO at PayPal Inc. IT chiefs said they would focus on finding new ways to share and collect threat indicators as quickly and widely as possible, and look for new ways to make it more expensive for hackers to attack a company’s systems.

Yvonne Wassenaar, CIO at New Relic Inc., said she wants to build out the data integration layer underneath the company’s cloud applications so they can share information with one another.

A lot of data and insight can sit within individual SaaS applications, ”

“People think having SaaS applications solves world hunger, but the reality is a lot of data and insight sits in those, and yet you want to solve problems that require data across them,” she said. One example: when hiring sales reps, it would be great to be able to combine data from Workday Inc. and Salesforce.com Inc.

As companies continue to embrace cloud computing and upgrade their legacy technology infrastructure, CIOs noted the need for a new set of skills inside IT.  As CIO Journal reported in December, this year is likely to see firms not only competing for the best people, but also adding new programs to keep them around.

Collaboration was another theme running through the conference. Done right, messaging can become a “window to the workflows throughout a company,” Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield said. But analysts say many enterprise collaboration tools fail to help users do their jobs. Said PayPal’s Mr. Strock: “How do we enable employees to collaborate without adding more distraction to everyone’s already busy day?”

StevenNorton, WSJ – CIO Network

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CEO Demand for Worker Productivity to Drive Small Increase in Tech Spending

Demand for Worker Productivity requires getting the right skill at the right place at the right time without owning  the worker….

Spending on technology is expected to rise a scant 0.6% in 2016, according to Gartner Inc., led by increases in outlays for software, data center equipment and IT services. The picture looks better than last year’s decline of 5.8% in technology spending worldwide as companies this year look to “optimize labor costs,” said Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president of research at Gartner.

“CEOs are looking for the productivity gain,” said Mr. Sondergaard, speaking at The Wall Street Journal CIO Network conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Tuesday. Areas targeted included human tasks that can be replaced or augmented by technology, such as in customer services, he said.

Software is expected to see the biggest gains, with spending to rise 5.3% in 2016 to $326 billion worldwide, according to Gartner’s latest forecast, in January. IT services is due to increase 3.1% to $940 billion and data center technology is due to increase 3.0% to $175 billion, Gartner predicts.

A continued march to cloud computing – including setting up hybrid and private clouds – is pushing data center spending, Mr. Sondergaard said.

Sectors projected to decline this year are communications and devices, by 1.2% and 1.9%, respectively (see chart).

Overall, the 5.8% drop in IT spending in 2015 that “hammered” technology vendors was mainly due to currency fluctuations, he said. If exchange rates remain steady, this year will see a slight rise. “If we have a drop in currency or oil goes to $10 a barrel, it’s a different scenario. That will impact budgets.”

By Kim S. Nash – Wall Street Journal CIO Network

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STRATEGY, NOT TECHNOLOGY, DRIVES DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

The following are highlights of our findings:

Digital strategy drives digital maturity. Only 15% of respondents from companies at the early stages of what we call digital maturity — an organization where digital has transformed processes, talent engagement and business models — say that their organizations have a clear and coherent digital strategy. Among the digitally maturing, more than 80% do.

The power of a digital transformation strategy lies in its scope and objectives. Less digitally mature organizations tend to focus on individual technologies and have strategies that are decidedly operational in focus. Digital strategies in the most mature organizations are developed with an eye on transforming the business.

Maturing digital organizations build skills to realize the strategy. Digitally maturing organizations are four times more likely to provide employees with needed skills than are organizations at lower ends of the spectrum. Consistent with our overall findings, the ability to conceptualize how digital technologies can impact the business is a skill lacking in many companies at the early stages of digital maturity.

Employees want to work for digital leaders. Across age groups from 22 to 60, the vast majority of respondents want to work for digitally enabled organizations. Employees will be on the lookout for the best digital opportunities, and businesses will have to continually up their digital game to retain and attract them.

Taking risks becomes a cultural norm.

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Why These Startups Aren’t Betting on the Uberization of Work

W2 or independent….. not a one fit model when it comes to people without skills.  Bob L

 

In July, Kevin Gibbon made an announcement that could turn out to be the best, or worst thing to ever happen to his startup — depending on who you talk to.

Gibbon is the founder and CEO of Shyp, a three-year-old package delivery startup with $62 million in funding. The app-based service, lauded by many as the “Uber for shipping,” allows users to summon a courier to their door and pick up anything that they want to ship across the country. Initially, the 31-year-old founder relied on contractors to do this work “for all the reasons all the big startups do,” he said. Gibbon liked that the employee model would allow him to scale quickly, and Uber’s colossal success proved that a big workforce wanted contract employment. Or so he thought.

But after two years running the San Francisco-based business, Gibbon realized the super-scalable model of employment that Uber is now famous for just wasn’t going to work for Shyp. He needs to train his couriers and tell them where to be at a certain time —  both requirements that contract employment forbids. And while Uber or Lyft can handle any million-dollar lawsuit thrown its way for not hiring its drivers as full time workers, Gibbon says his still fledgling startup can’t afford that risk. So this summer the founder told his couriers that everything about their jobs would soon change. He would be transitioning his entire 245-person staff to W-2 employment. Part-time couriers would receive paid vacation, lunch breaks, workers’ compensation, and more. Full-time couriers would get healthcare benefits as well.

Is this new economy moving us forward or backward?

For some employees, this announcement was cause for celebration. Some even cried tears of relief — finally they had job security, benefits, and perks. One courier, however, quit. To the outside world, the perks of being a W-2 employee sound good. But the biggest on-demand startups — like Uber and Lyft — argue that their workforces are happy as contractors because of the flexibility and independence that comes with that designation. Also known as 1099 employees, contract workers can work for multiple firms, set their own hours, and come and go as they please.

This polarized reaction did not come as a surprise to Gibbon. He is, after all, at the center of the debate over how the on-demand economy is reshaping the future of work. “I do worry about what these jobs mean for the future of employment,” he said. “I’d be curious about how happy the people in the thick of it really are. Is it something they just have to do? Were they pushed out of something else? I just don’t know.”

The decisions these companies make now will have dramatic implications on the future of work. By 2020, the pool of Americans working on-demand jobs is predicted to grow from 3.2 to 7.6 million. Startups like Handy, Postmates, TaskRabbit, DoorDash, and Washio, continue to treat a vast majority of their workforce as contractors; others like Luxe, Alfred, Instacart, and Kitchensurfing are reversing course. And as these venture capital darlings walk the fine line between saving on labor costs and breaking the law, regulators and politicians are watching, and critiquing, their every move. The lines being drawn here raise critical questions: Should workers embrace the freedom the digital world offers? Or should they try to hold onto the rights that their predecessors fought over 100 years to win? Is this new economy moving us forward or backward?

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Transforming expert organizations

Capturing industry knowledge with validated experts and making it available is the future.

McKinsey & Company Insights – by Albert Bollard, Clark Durant, Rohit Sood, and Matt Tobelmann

Improving operations and client experience in B2B organizations is hard because they rely so heavily on highly skilled experts. But those experts can also be the source of a solution.

Think back 20 years. Buying a mortgage or filing an insurance claim was difficult and time consuming for almost everyone: days of phone calls and appointments, mistakes to correct, and duplicates to send in the mail.

Then a few leading companies started giving consumers what they wanted within days or even minutes rather than weeks. Faster processes also had to be more reliable and easier to understand. And now consumers can file a medical claim or apply for a basic loan with just a few taps on a mobile phone, and check the status at any time with a couple of more taps.

The value these leaders created was vast. For many of them, what made it possible were the four integrated disciplines of lean management. The combination of delivering value efficiently, enabling colleagues to contribute their best, discovering better ways of working, and aligning strategy and purpose to day-to-day work helped these organizations perform better on multiple indicators at once: shorter turnarounds and increased accuracy and higher employee engagement and faster adaptation to the digital world. Early leaps in performance were followed by consistent increases year after year.

What kind of value could B2B and other expertise-heavy organizations—from law firms or utilities to financial-information providers and risk-management departments—create if their processes were as transparent, reliable, and time sensitive as these consumer leaders?

Yet even organizations that recognize the threat from potential disrupters—particularly those offering the latest digital tools—often remain unmoved, citing the complexity and expertise that specialized sectors require. “We aren’t a factory or call center. Our work requires unique insights from experienced, credentialed professionals. Treating each project as unique is a big part of our value to customers.” That, in a nutshell, is why changing expert organizations is so hard. Despite what some may believe, what experts do really is a hard-to-define art—at least some of the time—and that makes experts skeptical of ideas that try to make their work more “efficient.”

Nevertheless, there’s also a science to expertise. That means that even in the most complex, bespoke projects, a lot of the work is actually standard—or could be. That’s where the insights underpinning lean management can help. The problem is identifying those standard elements, understanding them, and improving them, so that experts can spend more of their time on the art—while clients get an improved experience and the organization can improve its strategy.

Who better to solve the problem than the experts themselves? That’s what a few standouts have discovered. Aiming experts’ intellectual firepower at the organization’s own practices can lead to unexpected operational breakthroughs. A financial information provider, for example, took only four months to reduce its backlog of documentation issues by about 70 percent, and its time to market by 15 to 20 percent (exhibit).

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