Consulting is an industry at the cusp of disruption. Technology-led innovation has created efficient market-places in several sectors including most famously transportation (Uber) and hospitality (AirBnb). Similarly, the consulting or advisory business is also seeing the emergence of new business models that provide clients a range of choices, transparent pricing and access to niche expertise. Global models like UpWork and Freelance.com have been disrupting the mass market for freelance technology skills. The time is ripe for disruption in the more rarified world of business advisory services.
One of India’s first online curated marketplaces for expert consulting skills; IndusGuru Network Partners transforms the consulting industry by bringing together deep and diverse business expertise on one curated platform. On IndusGuru’s online platform, Client organizations engage with the independent professionals for their short to medium term project assignment or business expertise requirements – in a simple, transparent and efficient process.
Their experts span 18 industry sectors, and 4 broad domains – Strategy & Finance, Marketing & Operations, HR & Organization, and IT & Digital. Over the last 15 months, since inception, the company has built up a strong expert Network consisting of 300+ expert consultants. Each of IndusGuru’s experts has been empaneled by invitation or referral, supported by a strong curation process. Their experts are independent freelance professionals with a strong academic pedigree and an accomplished corporate career with at least 15+ years of corporate Industry or Consulting experiences.
The Story Behind The Start-up
An engineer by education, a software consultant by vocation and an entrepreneur, Shanu Malkani founded IndusGuru Network Partners. Shanu has 20+ years’ experience in the Technology consulting industry, having worked with industry leaders like Siemens Information Systems and Accenture, and niche application technology provider firm, Blue Ocean Systems, before co-founding IndusGuru. Starting her career as a SAP technical consultant, Shanu played numerous roles in SISL, including functional consulting, project management, business development and ultimately the Lead for SAP Application Services delivery and Customer support, engaging with several leading Indian and global clients.
Over the last few years, Shanu saw many well qualified and capable professionals seek alternative careers at increasingly younger ages – for various reasons, whether it is to improve work-life balance, manage personal priorities and mid-career breaks, or deal with corporate restructuring ! She saw that the nature of knowledge work is changing and will require flexible and transparent forms of engagement and connection between organisations and business expertise that lies outside the corporate sector.
Combining insights from the management consulting industry brought on board by her co-founders and her own experience in the highly competitive world of SAP consulting and application support, Shanu brings a strong customer service mindset and sharp execution focus to IndusGuru. She is an inveterate multi-tasker, juggling multiple roles at IndusGuru – managing her clients, expert network and team and being a home-maker and mother to 2 teens, with alacrity. She is passionate about building the IndusGuru network into be a strong 1000 expert community by the end of 2018 and always helping her clients find the right match for their expert consulting needs.
Understanding Client needs and making the right connections
IndusGuru believes in a close working relationship with its clients – to understand their project consulting needs, suggesting a set of expert options based on client needs, budget and the company’s insights and understanding of the skills in their expert network. They then arrange a client-consultant meeting and engagement to confirm the selection. They also pay close attention to the need for a strong cultural fit between the Expert and Client organization.
IndusGuru’s revenue model is based on 2 related business streams. They have a subscription based model option for expert consultants who empanel on the Premium membership plan, which provides them preferential access to apply for projects and commercial terms. The second revenue stream, is the success based Platform Fee in which IndusGuru charges Organisations and Consultants, once a successful match has been made and the Organisation contracts with the consultant.
IndusGuru aims to ‘uberise’ the fast developing but fragmented world of high value freelance independent consulting by building a marketplace that is transparent and efficient. The IndusGuru Value proposition to clients can be summarized in the 4 C’s (http://www.indusguru.in/proposition.aspx)
- Curated Network – Each of IndusGuru’s experts has been empaneled by invitation or referral, supported by a strong curation process.
- Convenience – IndusGuru provides Online profile access, project posting and a one-stop shop for a wide range of business expertise
- Choice – Whenever clients post a project requirement, they are given a range of curated options and the flexibility to engage and choose the expert they want.
- Cost Effective –clients get deep professional expertise that is the best fit for their necessities and their budget – without having to pay the huge overheads of big consulting firms.
The Road Ahead…
Large Organisations have seen the benefits of accessing niche / specialized skills that they can’t or won’t recruit for short term project assignments– through a competitive and transparent process. SME firms have accessed high quality skills and advice to support their growth aspirations, at a fraction of the cost of large consulting firms. In a short period of 15 months, IndusGuru built on a bootstrapped model, has built a network of 300+ expert consultants and are engaged with a diverse range of 50+ clients, including large MNC and Indian firms, Consulting firms, Private Equity, Start-Ups and SME’s.
IndusGuru understands the future of work culture change in India. Linear career paths, working-upto-retirement age and full time employment are becoming passé. Organizations and professionals alike are seeking flexibility and diverse options for their business and career respectively. IndusGuru is at the heart of this long term trend and the company believes that they can make a difference to this industry and can provide gratifying career opportunities for qualified and accomplished professionals.