Over the last few years, the expert network industry has registered growth with only minor stagnation during the COVID-19 pandemic followed by a subsequent rise. Without a doubt, such a valuable asset as information will never fall out of trend.
With an increasing demand for expert engagements among corporates, investors and consultants, market specialists believe that the line dividing consulting, research and professional advice is becoming increasingly blurred. With this in mind, the prospects of the industry’s future are attracting rising interest.
What to expect from expert networks in 2022
Experts have made several predictions with some of the most significant being:
- The industry will continue to grow. In 2021, expert networks registered tremendous growth. This year, fueled by underlying development in the private equity business and corporate mergers, this trend will continue. Furthermore, organizations outside the financial services industry are beginning to employ expert networks for market analysis.
Various analyses suggest that this growth will be driven by two factors:
- the accumulation of private equity resources for deployment
- corporate strategy/mergers and acquisitions teams making use of expert networks
There are, however, a number of imminent headwinds including global economic turmoil and rising interest rates. The Ukraine crisis has had an influence on global middle-market deals, creating a climate of uncertainty and a lack of trust while fluctuating interest-rate expectations are repressing deal activity.
- Increasing revenue. After raising unprecedented sums of venture capital in 2021, expert networks already have historic quantities of cash on hand. Since 2015, the industry has registered a yearly growth of 18%. Following a decrease in 2019 caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the industry grew even faster in 2020, with year-on-year growth exceeding 20% in 2021, totaling almost US$2 billion.
Thus, they will continue to invest in development and in…
- … new products. While the discourse about artificial intelligence in expert networks has slowed in recent years, expert networks have continued to invest in technology such as AI and new product development, the primary themes being:
To improve their clients’ services, expert networks have established dedicated sector- and geo-teams.
- Upgrading expert databases
To add more value to custom subject matter databases and improve searchability, some expert networks have introduced more data to expert profiles. They may ask experts about the clients they have recently worked with and add information based on their survey responses.
Some expert networks conduct interviews with specialists and then sell the transcripts to clients. These files are stored in a dedicated library and are of particular interest to many researchers who are interested in the recent opinions expressed by industry experts.
However, content libraries are less appealing to private equities, corporates and strategy consultants who choose to conduct their own expert interviews. This is because most expert interviews focus on hot market trends which have a limited lifespan.
Employing in-house experts’ unique skills
An increasing number of freelance platforms and talent companies are viewing expert networks as a potential source of revenue and growth.
Take for instance executive recruiters. Some businesses understand that many executive clients have unique skills that may be exploited on an ad-hoc basis allowing them to supplement their income while working full-time. Many of these employees will have lucrative opportunities as subject matter experts and can become advisors after they retire.
Consultancies are not lagging behind the trend in terms of providing expert network advisory services. Companies such as McKinsey and BCG in the United States, and Egon Zehnder in the EU, see the potential to be both providers of expertise and the ones who benefit from it.
This industry is growing and evolving, with expert networks analyzing market trends to stay up-to-date and improve their services. If you’re looking for valuable insights that will give you an edge, Right Angle is here to help – contact us.
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