Cloud Meet Crowd – a Match Made for the Enterprise

February 14, 2011 Appirio

A Cloud Crowd Valentine
Narinder Singh

Oh Cloud
I work with you from everywhere
No servers in my life, no despair
You bring me breathtaking innovation
Without rest you fill me with forward motion
How can I get to the future now?
If only a new development model could show me how

Oh Crowd
The world is flat and its people strong
Connecting them has never been easier, it won’t be long
Until all of you together can help me drive
The skills I need to live and thrive
No more games with hours and rates
You just bring me results, a revolutionary state

Today, Appirio launched CloudSpokes, a new crowdsourcing development community and marketplace that matches companies who need cloud development work with a worldwide community of cloud experts.

It’s fitting that on Valentine’s Day we announce the first developer community that matches the cloud with the crowd – a true market where businesses tap into skills and pay for results (vs. effort), and where developers get access to a new world of opportunity with the cloud.

In the last couple of years, crowdsourcing has exploded. It has dramatically impacted industries ranging from gold (100x return) to technology innovation (beating Netflix’s best in a week) to fashion and design (video design, cutting edge ads, and even Super Bowl Commercials).

At Appirio, we’ve incorporated crowdsourcing into our work for some time, using 99designs, Topcoder and even an internal predecessor to CloudSpokes. For example we have used 99designs to cost effectively provide clients with a dozen options for screen and app design. Yet we were unable to find a straightforward (or even complicated but effective) way to broadly use crowdsourcing to drive cloud initiatives to completion. We, like the best in the industry, still relied on a cutting edge onshore and offshore team. Even while we continued to grow at a record pace, we strived for more. While being a successful company is important, we signed up to change an industry – to prove the cloud was a radically better model.

This is why nearly two years ago we began building the plan for crowdsourcing the cloud. The flexibility of cloud platforms has created a unique point where, for the first time, dramatic innovation can occur with both the underlying technology model and how results are delivered to businesses. With an Internet connection and some expertise, the world can be your development partner. The cloud has set the stage for a crowdsourcing love story.

For developers this approach creates a market for their talents, lets them develop new skills with real world assignments and transition their careers to the cloud, learn from the work of others, and establish their street cred as skilled practitioner in the art and science of cloud development.

CloudSpokes will create transparency for the market around cloud platforms and cloud development. Market pricing and past results will show what it really costs to do something in the cloud, by platform, type of problem, sophistication and more. Customers, ISVs and the industry will be able to see how / why the cloud is better than on-premise alternatives and what types of problems various cloud technologies are best suited for. Transparency creates a better situation for customers and consumers of technology.

While we have pledged a million dollars of contest awards to CloudSpokes, which we see as an initial jumpstart for market liquidity. We look to make CloudSpokes an open marketplace where our customers, other vendors and even willing competitors can tap into the power of a community to deliver better and more valuable results to customers and ISVs.

Our innovation or success will be in making sure our teams are the best at understanding how to take a customer’s hopes and dreams and translate them into a structure and plan that can be distributed to the right model – whether that be on-shore, offshore or the community (and also combined with our technologies as appropriate). As a cloud development community CloudSpokes will bring tens of thousands of the world’s best to solve problems of any scale for leading companies everywhere.

In the words of the prophetic Taylor Swift, when it comes to the Cloud and the Crowd – “It’s a love story baby just say yes” !

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