What are the driving forces behind the business service revolution?
Like video communication, the digital services platform economy didn’t start with the pandemic. But in the post Covid landscape, digital technologies have changed how we do business. So, what forces are driving the shift in how companies buy business services online? And what does this change look like?
Post Covid-19, UK businesses need to kick-start through recovery and reach a state of growth. One of the best ways of doing this is by expanding into overseas and ‘high-growth’ markets such as China and India. Huge opportunities are available, which explains why Britain has applied to join the 11 nation ‘Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership’ (CPTPP).
Such endeavours aren’t without their challenges, however.
Consequently, up to now, only large international players have had the upfront levels of investment, contacts, and resources needed to tackle such challenges. But evidence suggests dynamics are changing to be more favourable towards SMEs. And digital platform economies are becoming central to that shift.
The evolving challenges of overseas expansion
When doing business in an unfamiliar territory, it can be a costly and complex process to identify the suitable native expertise. Some of the challenges can be solved, either through translation services, or market research and analysis but finding a local partner is still difficult.
If it was challenging for SMEs to enter overseas markets before, Covid-19 appears to have compounded the issue. After all, the air fares needed for global networking are steadily increasing (1). Meanwhile, border restrictions the world over are in a constant state of flux.
How digital platform economies are solving the problem
As we saw with digital communication platforms like Zoom and Teams, Covid-19 was the catalyst that saw us adopt new technologies. Similarly, post pandemic, digital peer-to-peer platform economies appear perfectly placed to help businesses expand into new markets.
Simply put, such digital platforms offer virtual marketplaces and connect clients with service providers and allow for value to be created and exchanged quickly from remote locations across the globe.
Instant, green, and frictionless trade
No longer are businesses restricted by geography, money, or time when it comes to finding the required expertise. Their recruitment net can be spread instantly, across entire countries and regions.
Transparency and trust
Additionally, clients can rely on the exchange, and have a transparent means of assessing the service market.
A further advantage is that clients are in direct contact with their service provider instead of agencies and middlemen.
Cloud-based tech for options and opportunity
Of course, because such platforms are driven by cloud-based technology, they are more easily scalable. The client has more options, and the service provider has more opportunity.
A platform for work and learning
Platform owner, like Crayfish.io usually have a large amount of knowledge available for free. Delivered as blogs, videos, or webinars, they serve as vital resources as the client builds their expertise.
The figures speak for themselves
A pre-Covid study by KPMG estimated the size of the platform economy at more than $7 trillion (2). Given the trends we've identified, it's clear such figures will grow in the years ahead.
Certainly, such digital platforms are becoming more trusted in China. According to a McKinsey survey in late 2020 (3), 98% of B2B buyers would consider making a purchase through an end-to-end digital self-service model, directly as a result of the pandemic.
How Crayfish.io is helping kick-start Asian expansion
Based in Cambridge, Crayfish.io is a digital economy platform that offers businesses the quality services and global connections needed to accelerate their international expansion. The company offers an efficient, trusted, and holistic solution, only made possible through the implementation of smart platform technology.
What makes Crayfish.io unique
The Crayfish.io platform is different from large platforms like Upwork because we specialise in Asian markets. So, whether you need help with marketing, sourcing, or due diligence and IP protection, Crayfish.io democratises access to cross border resources and makes Asia easier to navigate.
At Crayfish, we’re helping companies recover from the pandemic and restart international trade in a smarter way. So, if you haven’t already, click here to create your new account and get started.
Ting Zhang is the CEO & Founder of Crayfish.io, a digital economy platform that offers businesses the quality services and global connections needed to accelerate their international expansion, with a focus on Asia. www.crayfish.io. Ting is also a Co-Vice Chair of UK China Tech Forum, and a Member of Advisory Board at UK National Committee on China (UKNCC).
Jana is techUK’s Policy Manager for International Trade.
She supports techUK members in navigating international markets, including market access and regulatory challenges, and assists the tech sector in taking full advantage of UK’s trade deals. Her responsibilities also include driving the UK digital trade policy agenda. Jana is committed to promoting UK digital trade by engaging businesses, UK government and international partners.
Jana has several years of experience in trade promotion, public policy, and providing strategic advice on international expansion strategy to companies across a variety of sectors. Prior to techUK, she worked for the Department for International Trade, helping UK SMEs expand abroad.
She holds a MA in International Political Economy from King’s College London.