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Cloud analytics is enabling the freelance economy

Wednesday, 2 September 2015 | By Nigel Mendonca
A significant workforce change is upon us. The freelance economy is in full swing and rapidly on the rise. We’re seeing businesses and workers increasingly engage in more flexible and on-demand activities. Research by Upwork (then Elance-oDesk) shows that 3.7 million Aussies are freelancing with many experts leaving their full-time jobs to work on their own terms and on a consultative basis.


We’re no longer purely just teachers, marketers or photographers. Instead, many are holding day jobs, while also running a food, fashion or wine blog on the side. And with the emergence of Uber, now anyone can be a ‘freelance’ driver on weekends, or they can become a part-time hotelier via AirBNB.


The rise of the freelance economy goes hand-in-hand with access to agile and smart technology. Previously, most occupations required us to go to a workplace. We had to be present in an office or on location to get work done. These days, while we tend to take laptops, apps, remote access and even the cloud for granted, these advancements mean that work can come to us.


And freelancers understand this – in fact, 59% of people surveyed said technology is making freelancing easier, and 64% agreed social media is drastically changing the dynamics of networking in the freelancer market.


Technology has enabled us to clock on whenever we have a chance; between meetings or later in the evening – we’re no longer restricted to a nine-to-five timeframe. One key contributor to the rise of the freelance economy has been mobility and cloud access. The cloud has enabled greater efficiency than ever before allowing collaboration through any computing device from anywhere in the world. And when it comes to freelancing, mobility equals efficiency.


Today, beyond crowdsourcing platforms such as Freelancer, 99designs and Guru, smart workers in the freelance economy can now have access to data analytics and business intelligence in the cloud, at the slide on their tablet devices.


Depending on the role or project they are hired for, freelancers often have to come up to speed very quickly. It can be disappointing if a freelancer you’ve hired for a specific project takes a few weeks to get their head around your business when you’d really hoped they’d hit the ground running. Giving a freelancer access to your cloud-based analytics platform can sometimes give them greater insights than several orientation meetings.


Within the parameters of one’s data security policy, simply guide your freelancers through authentication, logging in, introduce them to your analytics platform and key dashboards they should review. They can quickly click through your business data and performance, and start on their project from a well-informed perspective. An account can be set up for these external users to access the relevant information through a dashboard securely online.


One key benefit of cloud-based analytics is the enablement of blended teams – bringing together freelancers and employees and unleashing the potential of external expertise with internal know-how. These blended teams are quickly becoming the norm with more organisations employing freelancers or ‘cloud talent’, and mobile business intelligence is at the core of that shift.


With data-rich, interactive dashboards that can be accessed and explored on any device, from anywhere, a competitive advantage is literally at the fingertips of a company’s workforce, whatever its make-up.


Nigel Mendonca is Tableau Country Manager, ANZ.

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