We discussed in our last post about how crowdsourcing provides access to an on-demand, highly scalable workforce online comprised of a large groups of people willing to take up and execute micro-tasks. Many of these workers are amateurs or volunteers who look upon the work as a second job with convenient hours. With due apologies to those of you who are employers, we quote the results of a recent survey by CrowdControl which found that 21% of them execute these additional tasks during regular office hours while others take them up only at home. Extracting quality work from such a group, while paying them on a fixed or per hour basis, depending on the output, is a challenge which requires the support of a suitable software solution.
Crowdsourcing saves costs when compared to traditional employment models as well as contingent labor staffing, while reducing the time to deliver. It also helps to save costs on employee benefits, training and supervision while taking away the cost of physical infrastructure, facilities and support from the equation. It optimizes on the utilization of the workforce by utilizing it on demand.
While some count open source contributions to sites like Wikipedia as crowdsourcing, we are looking at it here only as a business model where payment is involved. The use of on-demand workers is a logical progression from using contingent labor and independent contractors; which is enabled by adaptive Vendor Management Systems which provide highly reliable contract life cycle management solutions.
Most people wrongly assume that crowdsourcing allows no control over the quality of delivery from the workers. In choosing a team for a crowdsourcing project on payment basis, employers require their own systems to evaluate the workers, verify their qualifications, past experience, work samples and quality expected along with the expected time of delivery. Engaging, recruiting, motivating and rewarding the workers is a challenge which needs to be carefully handled, and would require an excessive amount of managerial involvement without the able support of a VMS solution.
A good VMS solution incorporates a high level scalability in the number of contracts, users and contract activity. Such a VMS solution offers the required scope to handle the large numbers of contracts that crowdsourcing involves. Without a VMS, any big user of contingent labor (through crowdsourcing or otherwise) could end up with manual, labor intensive processes which cannot be easily integrated with the procurement system. By moving all their procurement into the same VMS system, organizations find themselves controlling spend effectively.
A reliable VMS offers the following capabilities which enable it to comfortably handle crowdsourcing activities involving a high number of participants:
Only robust vendor management systems can claim to have invested in applicant tracking and performance management solutions for project-based services as well as temporary labor. Such solutions measure up to the challenge of providing enterprise crowdsourcing services and leverage talent from a pre-qualified field of public crowd members to provide their clients with project-based services on an ongoing basis.
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