People in the Crowd

So let’s start with the fundamentals — outsourcing vs. crowdsourcing.

Outsourcing The Project

So why do you outsource? Wikipedia gives a very nice answer to your question:

The most common reasons why companies decide to outsource include cost reduction and cost savings, the ability to focus its core business, access to more knowledge, talent and experience, and increased profits.

Outsourcing is a common business work process. Many of your decision makers rely heavily on this practice to not only save you money but give you a competitive advantage. Even Peter Drucker — the father of modern day management — embraced outsourcing:

Do what you do best and outsource the rest.

And one of the largest consumers of the outsourcing work process is the Information Technology (IT) industry.  According to the Canadian Center of Science and Education (CCSE) 30% of outsourced jobs belong to the IT industry. While the next closest industry — sales & marketing — sits at 15% outsourced projects.

Crowdsourcing The Work

So why do you crowdsource? Wikipedia gives a nice answer to your question:

Crowdsourcing is a process that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people. This process can occur both online and offline. The difference between crowdsourcing and ordinary outsourcing is that a task or problem is outsourced to an undefined public rather than a specific body, such as paid employees.

Crowdsourcing is a rather flexible business tool. But it becomes a massively powerful tool when you introduce the World Wide Web. The Web is the social fabric that connects nearly 2.3 million netizens. And it is this virtual workforce that industries, governments and individuals are tapping into to solve a wide-range of issues:

  1. MajiVoice is empowering citizens to report problems related to water service delivery
  2. Max Sidorov funds a bullied bus monitor’s vacation
  3. Unilever, working with GlobalScan to create an online collaborative platform

Crowdsourcing is a much more holistic problem resolution tool set than outsourcing. David Bratvold, founder of Crowdsourcing Daily, explains that crowdsourcing is a very useful tool. But that usability increases multifold when you break down crowdsourcing into its more functional core components:

  1. Crowdfunding
  2. Microtasks
  3. Macrotasks
  4. Crowd Contests

Conclusion

Will IT and other industries continue to use outsourcing to improve your bottom-line and enhance your competitive advantage — absolutely! But as crowdsourcing continues to mature you will see a fundamental shift in the work process — industries and governments will come to rely on the crowd.

Call To Action

What are your thoughts on the uses of crowdsourcing and outsourcing?

Image Credit: Ramon B. Nuez Jr.