The partnership between Upwork and Microsoft is a clear indication freelancing has become part of the entire workforce. This means freelancers are being used by everyone from individual entrepreneurs to small businesses and all the way up to large enterprises.
As part of this partnership, Microsoft has selected Upwork for its Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit. The toolkit was created to help enterprises work with freelancers at scale as an integrated workforce collaboration solution.
powered by Microsoft 365 and Upwork Enterprise, Microsoft is launching an enterprise-grade freelance program which allows employees of large organizations to access a large pool of flexible, freelance talent.
On the Upwork blog, the CEO of the company Stephane Kasriel essentially explained the perfect storm responsible for creating this partnership with Microsoft. Kasriel goes on to say the available technology, the changing work preference, demand for new skill sets, as well as the struggle to attract highly specialized talent by enterprises are responsible.
Kasriel added, “By partnering with Microsoft, we’re empowering enterprises to build effective workforce models that enable them to be more agile, innovate faster and create opportunities for growth. Enterprises can embrace workforce change by engaging the right talent where they are, hiring them on-demand in a few hours instead of a few months and helping their teams get more work done.”
The partnership was also in part being driven by Microsoft’s adoption of a flexible talent model, which is responsible for launching a new Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit.
The Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit
Building on the existing technology investment that is part of an organization, the Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit provides tools, templates, and best practices so enterprises can launch, execute, and manage freelance programs at scale.
The toolkit includes internal communication, team-wide collaboration, data analytics, and workflow automation.
It also has built-in product features and integrations with Microsoft Power BI, Teams, SharePoint and Flow guide enterprises through the freelance engagement process.
Agility and Flexibility
Freelancers allow companies of any size to quickly hire highly skilled professionals and make them part of the organization.
For large enterprises, this translates to eliminating the weeks and in most cases months, it takes to vet and hire candidates.
In the case of Microsoft, Peter Loforte, General Manager for Microsoft Office, said the company embraced the freelance model to “Increase efficiencies and access the expertise of freelancers from around the world.”
Paul Estes, Senior Director of Content Strategy for Microsoft Office, added, “Our journey toward embracing a freelance talent program was born out of a need to scale specific programs.”
The new partnership is now offering a limited beta release of Ready-made Projects to a select number of customers.
These are pre-packaged projects which have been designed to take the guesswork out of working with freelancers by providing companies with detailed project descriptions, pre-defined project rates, and a list of verified freelance experts.
This will include six custom-ready projects featuring Microsoft-related skills such as Power BI, Sharepoint, Microsoft Flow, as well as presentation enhancement, content writing, and infographics.