Businesses have been asking IT departments to do more with less for a long time now. So it’s common sense to proceed with caution, then, when looking to add something new to an already stretched business function. As good managers know, just because something is a trend, doesn’t mean they need to rush out and get it. (Please see anyone with “MC Hammer pants” in his drawer as Exhibit A.) But that doesn’t mean that all new trends should be avoided, especially if it’s something like crowdsourcing. As Teresa Meek wrote in Forbes, “In tomorrow’s business, crowdsourcing will be a common way of augmenting a company’s workforce.”
The problems: people, time, and skills
Crowdsourcing makes a good case for its ability to address many of the key problems IT departments face. We can put these problems into 3 categories: people, time, and skills. The war for talented technologists is taking a toll on IT departments everywhere. And as Marc Benioff has said, “Speed is the new currency of business.” IT departments and development teams have to work faster to help the business stay competitive. And finally, the skills needed for modern mobile development and data science are becoming essential. Basically, there is no corporate IT department in the world with enough qualified people, with enough time to handle everything the business needs, and all the skills required.
Changing the thinking
Just as cloud computing has saved IT departments time and resources, crowdsourcing has the potential to do the same. As Gartner’s Eric Knipp wrote, “Effectively, [crowdsourcing] allows application architects to apply the cloud operating model (scalable and elastic, shared, service-based, metered, and delivered using Internet technologies) to the development and delivery of custom software.”
Hiring more people won’t solve the problems IT departments face. Making the people you have more effective by putting a crowd of talent at their fingertips is a big step in solving the people, time, and skills trifecta of problems. But of course, learning to use the crowd effectively requires a change in thinking. A new approach to work is need to understand the types of problems the crowd can best handle.
Adding crowdsourcing to an already over-loaded IT plate is easier said than done. Like moving from on-premise systems to cloud-based systems, it requires a shift in thinking and strategy. To help facilitate new thinking and processes, Appirio has developed a proven methodology (with the handy name “First 10”) to expand the use of crowdsourcing as a service. Crowdsourcing is simply a new way to get work done and for IT departments strained by traditional bandwidth and capability challenges. First 10 is a great way to get started.