Where Crowdsourcing is Headed
I had a conversation with David Alan Grier the other day. It centered around the state of the crowdsourcing industry & how we see it evolving. We were in complete agreement, so I thought I'd share our discussion here. Essentially, crowdsourcing providers are continuing to refine the areas of service they focus on, while enterprise practitioners are slowly expanding the areas they use crowdsourcing processes on.
Crowdsourcing Vendor Evolution
The first thought of the crowdsourcing industry always seems to fall on the providers in this space. There still aren't that many at this time (and even fewer that can handle large enterprise clients), but we see that as a good thing. It's such a new field, we're seeing the early providers strengthen their platforms and services while narrowing the market they go after. In fact, there's very little crossover competition.
How Global Enterprises Use Crowdsourcing
Every day I'm contacted by more people interested in crowdsourcing and how they can use it in their company. I've identified three advancments from this.
- The level of the individuals starting the discussion have been increasing over the past 2 years. It's become common for me to hear from people who report directly to the CMO, CIO, or CEO. And now, quite often, the CxO's are starting the discussion.
- The size of the companies showing interest is increasing. Leaders from IBM, Chevron, Virgin, Wal-Mart, GE, AT&T, Microsoft, Lenovo, etc... are getting involved in crowdsourcing.
- The usage is dramatically increasing. Not only are the top-level employees from the world's largest companies bringing crowdsourcing into their company, but they're also investing quite heavily in this work process. They're no longer dabbling - they're starting to build out recurring systems, platforms, & processes. Intel has used crowdsourcing in their development of social films for the past three years, Wal-Mart is developing internal tools, and GE has created an entire department dedicated to Open Innovation. And if you're curious to hear how all three of these are being done, I highly recommend attending Crowdopolis, where you'll be able to talk to the leaders of all three of these initiatives - and more.
Strengthening the Industry
To round out the discussion and bring it back to the providers, we've also seen a lot of mergers. Just this week Chaordix acquired Napkin Labs. In April, IdeaScale acquired Ideavibes. And Appirio acquired TopCoder in September and Coderbits just yesterday. And in a rebranding effort, uTest has changed their name to Applause.
Enterprise practitioners are finding ways to make the adoption and integration process quicker and more manageable.
It's great to be involved in a field that's survived the stage of being a fad or a buzzword, and now into the stage where its applications become invaluable to the future success of global business.