From the Expert's point of view

The strategy of the expert or specialist will be quite different from that of the solution builder. They are selling and not buying. They are in the position of the off-shore annuity issuer. They have something to offer but its value is going to be highly dependent upon the credibility perceived by a solution builder. Not only must their credibility be high, they must also be able to make solution builders aware of their services.

This is no simple problem to solve. This is similar to the problem the solution builder has when designing a solution to attract, satisfy and retain clients or customers. The World of the Internet is alive with possibilities to make appropriate contacts but unless you have an appropriate and active strategy for communicating you might as well be dead.

As with annuities in the world of finance and investment, there will be some base value for the services an expert or specialist provides. Through suitable email discussion it shouldn't be difficult for an expert or specialist to work out the range of different rates that he or she can charge for their services. However, just with annuities, the base value will be variously discounted by solution builders.

It is common for experts and specialists new to the Information Age to be totally oblivious to the discounting that will apply to their offers of co-operation. They may quote what they see as a fair and reasonable rate for a job and be totally bemused as to why they get so few takers. They seem to lose all perspective as to how their offer might be judged against all the other alternatives a solution builder might have in this communication environment. They'll feel aggrieved that their expertise is so often spurned.

However, if they stop for a moment to look at the situation from the solution providers point of view they can start to work out a strategy to obtain a suitable number of co-operative deals that will give them the returns they are looking for.

Let's stop for a moment to consider what factors might be involved in a expert's or specialist's strategy when looking for co-operative deals in the Information Age. Firstly, they'd need to decide whether or not they want to be an independent expert or whether they'd sooner be part of a middleman's team.

If the latter, they will have little need to deal with solution builders and will be concentrating on building up contacts and speciality expertise that fits in with the requirements of the group they belong to. Normally this would be the ideal way for a technologist who is starting out, where their employment would be more in the nature of an apprenticeship where they will be able to gain experience and learn from other members of the team.

More practically, the more ambitious expert will soon realise that the real efficiencies and progress in e-business and e-commerce solutions are being made by solution builders who don't use Industrial Age type teams. Flexible team building strategies that create teams on the fly in response to a particular situations are liable to be more effective and more efficient and so be able to command the higher rates of pay.

This is a big jump for somebody who has been used to working in a permanent team where there is a regular, though modest, salary arrangement. Besides the need to establish contacts to keep up to speed within their own area of expertise, they will have to find and maintain a list of contacts who will be able to hire them to work on solutions.

In a world of object oriented design techniques, there will be no such thing as permanent or long term contracts: all jobs will be in and out fast. That is the expert's value to a solution builder in the Information Age: the short term hired expert can efficiently apply their expertise where and when it is needed. This will obviously require the expert to build and maintain quite a number of contacts so as to ensure a regular supply of work.

This is not something that will happen just by entering details into some kind of directory. Without some form of recommendation, or, word of mouth reputation, an expert or specialist is about as employable as a green frog.

Starting from the position of a green frog, an expert will have to negotiate around his or her Hilbert solution space until they find a position where they have sufficient contacts who are aware of and appreciate their capabilities. This place in Hilbert Solution Space can only be found through a bottom up process, which means starting slowly and gradually moving towards that desired goal.

The most difficult problem to overcome is the start. Without any track record or any contacts there can be no work. With the probability that an expert's or specialist's services will be heavily discounted for value without a proven track record the expert will have to start by pitching their charges at a very low rate, maybe even providing them free of charge to get a foot on the first rung of the ladder.

The expert will have to create a suitable communication strategy that will bring him or her in close contact with other experts who are actively working on e-business or e-commerce solutions. They will have to establish a rapport, exchange emails. They will have to keep up with the constant evolutionary changes that are occurring in their own area of speciality as well as the broader area in which their services would be applied.

There is no alternative for an expert other than to ensure that they have a suitably efficient communication network that keeps them informed and maintains their presence in the community where their services might be needed. Their chosen expertise or specialist knowledge will not be sufficient in itself; it must be supported by a continuous communication infra structure that keeps the expert or specialist actively in the game.

At first thoughts this would seem to put the expert in a lone and isolated position, but, in the world of the Internet this can be very far from the truth. Think back to the sociogram of chapter five. Think about how all the doctors were linked in various different ways through lines of communication. Now consider how an expert might fit into a far more complex sociogram on the Internet.

The fact that an Industrial Age style team is redundant in the Information Age does not imply that there is nothing to replace it. Quite the opposite, there is a far better and more efficient form of association available: the virtual team that has the advantage that an expert can belong to many virtual teams and all at the same time.

Experts are only alone and isolated if they don't make the effort to create their own communication infra structures that link them to other experts and specialists. Just as components in an object oriented design strategy can be mixed and matched in a variety of different ways, so, can experts and specialists. If one expert gets work on an e-business or e-commerce solution there will be a need for others, so, the engaged experts can recommend his or her contacts.

In this way, what would appear on the surface to be thousands and thousands of isolated and independent experts is actually a sea of experts who can rapidly self-organise into special project teams to tackle any kind of competitive situation that e-business or e-commerce solution.

It is this ability to self-organise that provides the power inherent in networks of Internet connected experts and specialists. As solution builders start to become aware of this phenomenon they will capitalise on the power to build highly competitive and adaptive structures to outwit and outsmart the competition. These self-organising virtual teams will be able to create solutions far better than could be devised by any pre-planned formulated approach.

The experts and specialists then, will be relying as much on their communication skills and strategies to create a position in these networks as they will on their experts skills and knowledge. Once again, even for the experts and specialists, success will be totally reliant upon appropriate strategies for communicating with people.

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