The Rise Of The iPro
Overview: Independent professionals are playing a more important role in business by the day, but how much has the introduction and adoption of cloudware helped to develop a generation of workers that are working more flexibly and efficiently than ever before?
iPros, or ‘independent professionals’, are becoming increasingly common in modern business. You may call them ‘freelancers’, ‘contractors’, or quite simply ‘self-employed’, but all of them have made the same move in their professional lives – they’ve shifted away from the traditional career route of working their way up the ladder at a large corporation, and instead have developed their own approach towards business and entrepreneurship.
How Can an iPro Survive?
Just like any small business or start-up, an iPro doesn’t usually start out with the financial clout of a larger, more established company. To get off the ground successfully and start making ends meet, they need to be taken seriously early on. The introduction of cloud-based services (commonly referred to as ‘cloudware’) into the market has enabled iPros to have access to a huge range of professional business tools that would have previously been unaffordable.
It’s perhaps no surprise that the number of iPros in the UK has risen by 63% since 2004, in a time when the internet has become more and more accessible for the average worker.
With new technology comes new opportunities. And cloudware has possibly offered more opportunities than any other to the iPros. Now, iPros needn’t worry about afford expensive hardware or software licenses. And they needn’t worry about having to work with low-spec or entry level applications that limit their capabilities. Instead, businesses of any size are now able to access market-leading computing solutions for an affordable monthly subscription.
iPros’ careers are changing all the time, so the added flexibility of cloudware is vital to their survival. After a certain project is completed, for example, they may see some of their spending as an unnecessary expense. Instead of being tied in to a lengthy agreement, stuck with a load of expensive equipment and feeling obliged to use it, they can simply sign up for a cloud-based service when they need to, then cancel their subscription with relatively little hassle when they don’t need it anymore. Simple.
How are iPros boosting our economy?
iPros are not restricted to individual organisations and their policies. They thrive on freedom, and so encouraged themselves to work for clients in a ‘collaborative’ rather than ‘competitive’ way. This approach actually addresses some of the failures of traditional business strategies.
The keys to success are both speed and specialisation. Businesses can access talents without needing to employ a member of staff on a permanent basis, minimizing financial risk to the business and allowing both the iPro and the firm to operate and manage costs to meet fluctuating demand.
From the Australian 2014 iPro index, it’s been revealed that the freedoms of bringing in new specialist freelancers as and when ensures that the iPro is a vital resource which helps enable growth. Since the global recession of 2008, iPros have really come into their own in the job market, and through adversity and a lack of permanent jobs have used what’s at their disposal to help kick start the economy. iPros alone contributed £95bn to business turnover in 2013 – which, interestingly, is more than the entire automotive industry.
iPros are reactive and can use their specialised skills to seize opportunities in the job market. Again, cloudware plays a vital part in allowing them to do so. Whether through using project management and CRM systems, or perhaps more specialized accounting programmes to keep track of their bookkeeping, the iPro can portray themselves as competent as any established business thanks to the technology that’s now available to them.
By utilising cloudware in this way, we’re moving towards an economy that’s no longer constrained by ordinary limits. Becoming an iPro and being able to work flexibly, productively and remotely with a whole suite of cloud-based tools is making more sense to the individual, and is re-shaping the economy as a whole.
By Gary Gould