Based on a recent Forrester survey showing that the majority of people on the Web are willing to co-create, Dion Hinchcliffe, a lead Enterprise Web 2.0 advisor, argues that crowdsourcing is looking like a repeatable, reliable way to outsource work and partner with online communities to create concrete results.
According to the Hinchcliffe the growing popularity and professionalism of crowdsourcing has led to a number of online services who specialize in meeting the specific needs of businesses by enlisting their communities to tackle anyone’ s challenges, usually in exchange for some form of compensation. The advantages are clear: Very low cost access to enthusiasts and experts in a given subject, broader input of new ideas, faster response to needs, and so on. The disadvantages are less so, but usually boil down to lack of control, occasionally in unsatisfactory results, and finally there are concerns about security and privacy.
Crowdsourcing has become increasingly attractive to small businesses as well as enterprises. Small businesses are the major customer base, if not the actual target, for the most of the crowdsourcing services. Almost certainly it’ s because crowdsourcing offers by far the least expensive route to conduct the activities that small business are often too financially strapped to do any other way.
For those looking at exploring this new approach to sourcing work, Hinchcliffe suggests four common sense steps:
- Look for areas where traditional methods aren’ t working in your business today.
- Identify candidate crowdsourcing services.
- Engage in pilots with your candidate services
- Move successful pilots into operation while cultivating new contributors.
Hinchcliffe concludes by saying:
In the future, many of the products and services that we will use could be labeled “Made on the Web, designed by us“. But for now, this nascent and emerging field is offering early adopters a powerful and easy-to-use new alternative for building scalable, fast-growing businesses for a fraction of the cost of the slow and inefficient methods of yesteryear. For those that can clearly see their future, anyway.