Expert Networks on the Net

I had long held the belief that Internet was a good medium for doing management consulting. In this flat world, it was possible to do knowledge work like consulting and research from anywhere, much like the way software is developed remotely from India. Yet, I had not come across any marketplace or professional networks of consultants on the Net. The freelance projects marketplace on the Net like and (in its earlier avatar) had mostly software programming and design related assignments.

Last week I discovered one expert network called Gerson Lehrman Group. This group claims to be an expert network of 200,000 experts, known as council members. This is a global group with headquarters in the US. It has an India office also, in the NCR region. The clients of this network are mostly in the financial markets like Private Equity firms, Mutual Funds, Hedge Funds, Venture Capital Firms, Large Consultancy firms. The offerings are divided into many verticals. The basic model of consultancy is through telephonic consultation. Other typs of engagements like written reports also exist. The council members are expected to be knowledgeable about their industry and give the analysts their perspective or advice on any sector/company/deal. The GLGroup team puts the client and the council member together by fixing the time and the rate. The clients perhaps pays to GLGroup and in turn the marketplace pays to the consultant after deducting some charges. The financials of this group is not known as it is a privately held firm.

GLgroup is not the sole network of this kind. To my surprise, I discovered several networks, mostly based on a similar model.

  • Guidepoint – – This is a New York HQ firm with offices in London, Boston, and Singapore.
  • Coleman Research Group- – This is a New York HQ firm with offices in London, Beijing and Hongkong.
  • Evalueserve Circle of Experts – – This is a US  firm with an Indian research office.
  • Tribeca Insights – – This is a New York based firm and has no other branches.
  • Expert Network Group- – This is a New York based firm , having a branch in China.
  • Primary Insights This is also a New York based firm with branches in London and China.
  • Greenwood research – – This is also a New York based firm

Cognolink, Reuters Insight, TGR- Network are some other networks offering similar services. It will be fair to assume that all these networks are not equal nor similar. The differentiation must be in the verticals and the client base.

As the investment in India increases both Foreign Direct Investment as well as Foreign Insitutional Investors (FIIs), the presence of these networks in India will increase. They will also be more aggressive in recruiting experts from India who understand the Indian markets.




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