SmartFile has historically functioned as a Business-to-Business (B2B) entity offering clients a feature-rich, customizable, easy-to-integrate file sharing and management solution with an emphasis on security-often in highly regulated, high-compliance industries. To that end (and for those same clients), this continues to make sense for all the reasons mentioned and also because, frankly, it’s a solid product that continues to evolve and add even more features, controls, and audit/data collection functions (stay tuned for more info on that!).
What do you think of when you hear the term “B2B”? Generally, one tends to think of a business whose clients are other businesses, which is accurate. What is interesting, however, is the evolving definition of “business”. You see, the make-up of the U.S. workforce has been changing the past few years. As the freelance economy changes and expands, we must re-define our traditional view of what a business client looks like and how it provides more opportunities for business-no matter which “B” one is in the “B2B’ equation.
In a Bloomberg article by Justin Fox, Fox says “the estimated number of workers in the five freelance categories in 2017 was 57.3 million, up from 53 million in 2014. That’s 36 percent of the workforce, and if this year’s rate of change were to continue, it would pass 50 percent in about 10 years.” This is a potential seismic shift in the make-up of the workforce and in who is considered as a business when providing B2B products and services.
Within the growing freelance economy, there are additional interesting and notable factors to illustrate the potential opportunities that this change provides. For example, the largest segment of the freelance market currently consists of “Diversified workers”, which includes those who produce income from multiple varying sources (e.g. graphic design, marketing, and website development). In addition, creative occupations (graphic designers, photography, video game design, commercial and industrial design, etc.) make up a large portion of the freelance market.
Thus, a business can include a large, multinational corporation in a highly-regulated industry, and it can also include a professional, creative, hands-on individual who takes their business seriously. Either way, both could have similar needs/demands that could each be met within a “B2B” context.
Let’s take a look at a pharmaceutical company and a “Diversified Freelancer” who does graphic design, 3D animation, and visual communications media. Both would have, at a minimum, the following needs:
- Store and share large files
- Manage and organize which individuals, clients, etc. have access to those files
- Provide a level of safety and security in those transactions
- Easy usability—both in terms of access to and integration with other software/applications, and
- Options to add other features (customization, branding, etc.) to provide the best customer experience for their clients
This impact has also been seen on the flip side where companies catering directly to consumers have begun to add more features and adding or adjusting charges as a result.
As a result, companies need to remain agile to continue to meet the growing needs of the businesses—in all its forms—they serve.