Many great leaders and disruptors in history have outlined the fact that people operate in their comfort zones throughout life until they are either forced out of them or shown a better way. Steve Jobs once said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
Many people have heard of Crowdsourcing, but most tend to associate it with the latest funding effort for a project on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. While funding is one option, crowdsourcing can be used for so much more and as we’re now finding, offers many different options and benefits that companies have not even begun to understand or leverage. Companies are stuck in a development cycle that has been around for decades and I believe many executives just need to open their minds to the true potential that crowdsourcing brings to the table to help solve this issue.
We are always looking for ways to be more efficient and sometimes that keeps us from embracing innovation and disruptions in their rawest form. Outsourcing has been a popular option to drive development over the years. Many organizations focus on a technology roadmap that is committed to leveraging some level of outsourcing and utilization of 3rd party partners. We have been in the trenches of making outsourcing more efficient for over 15 years. How can we increase the percentage of successfully outsourced projects? How can we make outsourcing faster? How can we make outsourcing cheaper? The list of “How can” improvements goes on and on, but is there a better way?
Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Henry Ford may go down as one of the greatest innovators of our time. He’s attributed with a great quote that demonstrates the premise of this article directly.
“If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford
Henry Ford was still focused on helping people get from point A to point B, but he did not believe that scientifically improving the methods for breeding horses was the solution.
Outsourcing helps your projects get from point A to point B, but crowdsourcing is a completely different method for getting there. The ability to leverage human capital on your terms and your schedule may be just as big as the automobile or the innovations of modern personal computing and mobile technology.
This is a strategy that has NEVER been employed in the history of the world until recent years. A truly limitless and borderless global workforce at your fingertips. Some people may feel this is an overstatement but if you look at the true capabilities of crowdsourcing in is rawest form it completely turns the thought of a workforce on its head. How far can technology innovation go if every company large and small has the ability to leverage great minds from all around the world in an effect, efficient and affordable manner?
So CIO’s need to change their train of thought. We all know how outsourcing is leveraged on an enterprise level, most of the resources are either hired directly by the companies or sourced through subcontracting firms, consulting partners or as Independent contractors.
Although it has worked over the years, outsourcing has begun to saturate the market and is not producing the results companies are looking for in many cases.
A crowdsourcing strategy to driving development can move your organization forward in a many ways, but 3 key areas are:
Global Talent Pool Expansion – Technical talent around the world is going through rapid expansion. For example, according to calculations by research firm IDC, the number of developers in the world is going from close to 18 million today, to millions more by 2020, with most of the new developers coming from India, China, and Russia. You can gain considerable expertise by tapping into this fast growing talent pool.
Cost Savings from Enterprise Freelance Talent – Cost difference between outsourcing and crowdsourcing can be significant. Research shows that a basic consumer iPad application costs around $10,000 to build and a simple enterprise iPad application costs $50,000 or more. A November 2014 Kinvey report based on a survey of CIOs and Mobile Leaders found that enterprise mobile application development costs an average of $270,000. If you can adopt a model that leverages freelance talent efficiently your cost savings can be substantial.
Access to the right talent at the right time – Statistics tell us that 40% of US labor pool will be freelancers by 2020 and several leading press articles claim this to be the 1099 economy. On-demand access to talent for services is becoming the norm. This would keep fixed overhead lower and still allow organizations to scale rapidly for project needs.
So let’s broaden our vision of how we can change the way we access talent and fulfill our development cycle!