After analysis of hundreds of data points collected around the evolution of work and collaboration, the PSFK Consulting Team noticed that the availability of cloud applications and platforms now allow workers to telecommute from anywhere in the world. As a result, employers can now access staff virtually to source complete solutions to run their businesses, offering companies an on-demand, easily scalable workforce.
Below we’ve included several of the best examples that supported the theme of ‘Cloudsourcing.’
CloudFactory connects projects located anywhere in the world with workers in developing countries to complete tasks online, such as web research, data input, audio transcribing, translation and more. One-time and ongoing projects are completed by first designing an “assembly line” that breaks down tasks into individual components, transforming initial input to the final output desired. Tasks are matched with skills available by uploading inputs into a CSV file via the CloudFactory interface. To demonstrate the potential of cloudsourced labor, CloudFactory hosts a demonstration business called BizCardArmy, using CloudFactory labor to enter contact information from business cards with improved accuracy over technological scanning solutions. By connecting businesses with on-demand workers worldwide, variable workflows and tasks can be managed at a low cost, without compromising the quality that only a human touch can provide.
TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that helps individuals and businesses outsource errands and tasks. People in need of extra help post a brief description of the task at hand and a flexible, on-demand workforce of virtual and nearby assistants make bids to complete the job. TaskRabbit assistants undergo background checks and are community reviewed, and individual profiles feature a description of their skills, ratings and comments from past hires. One-off and ongoing tasks completed include work that can be coordinated online, such as data entry and unfollowing uninteresting Twitter accounts, as well as on-location help, such as product delivery and office furniture building. Presently available in nearly 10 American cities, TaskRabbit is soon expanding in the U.S. and to London, as well.
Elance helps employers create flexible work teams with an online platform for hiring and managing cloudsourced staff. When looking to staff-up on an hourly or project basis, business post related projects that are bid on by qualified professionals who work online. Elance workers write code, craft marketing plans, design websites, manage schedules and more, forming a contingent workforce pooled from globally sourced talent.
Opportunities Created By These Innovations:
- By tapping into this virtual pool of workers, organizations of any size, even entrepreneurs, have the ability to scale their operations to take on new projects and expand on existing capabilities to grow their businesses.
- While these platforms enable easy access to an ‘instant’ workforce, organizations need to have new vetting procedures in place to ensure quality of output. Internal initiatives can serve as a good test cases, prior to bringing virtual workers on board for client projects. These upfront procedures can also help organizations create a more reliable database of freelance and e-lance workers.
- In order to ensure more efficient and secure communications and sharing of sensitive information between a remote workforce and a physical office, organizations need to have tools in place to accommodate an entirely new set of needs. Enterprise collaboration tools can bridge this gap and help ensure a more seamless workflow.