Recently I’ve undertaken a bit of diversion from my usual role of Oracle technology zealot to help two of my colleagues, Matt Pundman and J.T. Eberly, launch a new web portal, vBench, that I believe is going to truly revolutionize the way that small and medium sized businesses locate qualified, reasonably-priced IT talent from a rich pool of readily available, skilled, and US-based independent contractors.
Both of these pools – business needs, and locally-based talent – have been overlooked in the past decade by the largest IT services contractor firms as unimportant or even undesirable ways to leverage their talent, which is almost always (a) located offshore; (b) under-experienced and under-educated; and most importantly (c) doesn’t really understand how most businesses actually do business.
Matt and JT are changing those dynamics with this week’s launch of vBench, the newest virtual marketplace for businesses to locate qualified, certified, vetted, and preferably local resources to solve their biggest IT challenges, be it a quirky or poorly performing website, a mal-performing database, or an under-documented application. vBench lets businesses choose from the best IT independent contractors at rates that they can afford because this new marketplace doesn’t charge the usual outrageous percentage-based markups for IT services.
For independent contractors, it offers them a chance to leverage their strongest selling points to their advantage: US-based, certifiably-skilled, and readily identifiable as who they actually say they are. (I don’t know about you, but I am really tired of doing a first-level technical interview via phone or Skype … only to find out later that the person I’m interviewing is going to be someone’s “shadow” resource and is not the actual person that eventually shows up for the final face-to-face interview.)
vBench thus offers a way for Independent contractors who have spent the time to learn how their clients’ businesses actually work, have obtained certification from official vendors like Oracle, Cisco, and Microsoft for their skills, and have honed their English-based communication skills to provide best-of-breed documentation and application code to their clients and to separate themselves from the crowd. Best of all, vBench is providing both client and contractor the ability to escrow funds for eventual release as major project milestones are completed – a compelling payment method that’s been used successfully for everything from homebuilding to major engineering projects, but that until the launch of vBench has never been available for IT work.
I’ll be speaking about vBench in person to various US-based organizations and via web-based seminars in the immediate future. I promise to keep you posted! (Oh, and yes … I am already registered on vBench and ready to join battle against the “shadow forces” of IT.)