The State of Work
The United States economy is largely considered at this point to be a services economy. While manufacturing throughout the 20th century had been the stronghold of the American economy with services a separate but supporting sector, global outsourcing and the advent of the Information age has made the service sector a critical factor of our economy as “farming and manufacturing as a proportion of total economic activity are in decline.” (See quote below) Enter Service Marketplace Platforms.
“In an economy where farming and manufacturing as a proportion of total economic activity are in decline, and services are rapidly ascendant, the skills necessary for the workplace are being redefined,” Citi CEO Michael Corbat said in a recent television appearance.
Services certainly are on the rise. “In 2018, the agriculture sector contributed 0.86 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States. In that same year, 18.64 percent came from industry, and the service sector contributed the most to the GDP, at 76.89 percent.” (Statista)
The Future of Work
The future of US economic growth is in services and as Michael Corbat of Citi said now is the time to redefine the skills necessary for the workplace. Even with the sale of digital products and system networks come out of necessity the bundling of services to maintain, keep secure, and update products sold to the extent that services are no longer opt-in, they are a necessary part of the purchase.
However, as services continue to drive our economy forward and give hard-working Americans the jobs they need to survive and thrive in our country, not only do the skills need to be trained and elevated but also the digital tools used to find, choose, and schedule services must move along as consumers lose patience for slow, analog ways of ordering and fulfillment.
Enter Service Marketplace Platform. An SMP, is a software system that facilitates the sourcing of service providers and the categorizing of offers with the ability to purchase and schedule the service. Like eCommerce, but for services.
Service Marketplace Platforms allow for service providers to sell their services online in an online store while permitting conditional pricing options based on selected services or job parameters.
Take for example being able to schedule an oil change online. Franchise locations like Meineke Car Care Center allow you to select from a list of oil change options, standard, premium, etc., choose which location you live near, and to schedule the time that you want to come in. It’s convenient. You don’t have to talk to a person. You can make the appointment when you remember to do it even if it’s in the middle of the night without having to wait for business hours to open up or talk to a 24/7 call center.
The Shift to Service Marketplace Platforms
Service Marketplace Platforms were largely adopted at the onset of the pandemic to schedule Covid-19 tests in pop-up testing centers and then again as vaccinations rolled out. Private care clinics in other categories are beginning to adopt such tools for basic visits, screenings, and appointments.
The SMP is making its way into online instruction for live coaching and classes which is especially popular in the last 4–5 years as professionals strive to keep up with an ever-changing technological landscape where tech advances faster than the pace of getting a new degree.
At this point, however, much of technology development is in the software which can only be a facilitator of services not a performer of the types of services people perform with their hands. This is a good thing. It allows the people who do the things only people can do to focus on that work, and not the things that a computer can do around the clock.
This is resulting in a surge of new business creation and ownership because practitioners and technicians are now empowered with the tools to run a business on their own rather than being beholden to a business administrator masquerading as a boss.
The time for services to enter into eCommerce and online sales was half a decade ago, and finally, they are truly possible with the emergence of the SMP.