Freelance marketplace Work Market has partnered with SAP to provide a flexible, on-demand enterprise workforce trained in SAP solutions and sales techniques to help partners grow sales.
Work Market's marketplace and platform will be the driving force behind the expansion of the SAP freelance program, which will connect qualified freelance professionals with channel partners. The freelancers will act to help partners grow sales prospects and then follow up the sale with technology implementations.
"The biggest benefit for the partners is that it's going to help them win more business because they can bid on more work. They just have a more flexible workforce," Diego Lomanto, vice president of marketing at Work Market, said.
The program is expected to be officially unveiled at the SAP partner event in Las Vegas at the end of the month, Lomanto said. He said the company will walk partners through the program at the conference, and partners can start taking advantage of it immediately afterwards.
Lomanto said that it has been surprising how much interest the program has already generated. He said that close to 1,000 applicants have already applied to become SAP freelancers through the program in a week.
What's surprising about the freelance market in general, Work Market CEO Jeff Leventhal said, is that it isn't just SMBs that are looking to expand but can't afford to grow headcount that are taking advantage of this. Leventhal said the program attracts a lot of enterprise clients as well. He said the company has 60 clients that are spending more than a million dollars with Work Market, with some in excess of $10 million.
"I initially thought a lot of this would be about a small company that has no other way to expand. But, it's not," Leventhal said. "It’s the opposite. It's driving up the business; it's driving up engagement."
What was holding the industry back before was a concern over freelancer quality, a lack of end-to-end management and infrastructure to set up the transaction, Lomanto said. However, that isn't a problem now, he said.
"In the greater context, a lot of the work is going this way, ... but anything that requires having a person do something that requires some travel on a freelance basis has not been efficient before," Lomanto said. "But that's what we're focused on doing. We're focused on making that type of work available to marketplace. This really validates that that market has legs. There's going to be a lot of different businesses that are looking to replace W2 staff ... with the freelance model. Channel sales is one of the ones that are an early adopter of it, given the economics of it," he said.
An SAP partner, who asked not to be identified, said that the deal could bring a breath of fresh air into SAP's business, which he said had been growing stale lately. Due to a mature ERP market in which big-name clients are already established, SAP needs a way to branch out into other markets in a more cost-effective manner, he said.
"I think most of the big targets, they already know them. They already have really big coverage on them. This is a really good way for them to address under-the-radar business," the partner said. "If you're a big ERP shop, you either today have Oracle or SAP. ... ERP is not something you eagerly rip out and replace, so what do they do now? That's kind of the point that they're at, so I think to expand their business, I think this is a good way to approach a mature market."
And that's where partners come in, the partner said.
"We do some business with them, but we would like to do more. As they start to get smaller, they're going to need more partners like us," the partner said.
Work Market said that it plans to expand similar partnerships to other big technology companies, and it already has a number of partnerships in the works.
PUBLISHED JAN. 14, 2014