by: Karen Cayamanda
Friday, November 13, 2009 |
In a nutshell, crowd sourcing is a type of outsourcing that involves transferring a certain business task or process to a group of people (crowd). What makes it different from the usual form of outsourcing is the fact that the company makes use of the service/s of an unknown group of people, or even an individual. A typical crowd sourcing process goes something like this: a company informs the public online about a problem, people will submit their solutions, the company will choose the best and most suitable proposition, then gives incentive to whoever had formulated the chosen solution.
According to Alexandra Cain in her article”Outsourcing on Steriods”, crowd sourcing is “revolutionizing the economics of doing business”. What used to be done in-house can be outsourced to a company or someone else from any part of the world. Obviously, this form of outsourcing has become popular because it allows companies to cut costs and focus on their core competencies, but there's more to crowd sourcing than cost reduction and having more time to take on core functions. Since the company presents what it needs online for everyone to see, it can have access to a vast group of people with varying talents and capabilities. Also, crowd sourcing enables companies to gain feedback and suggestions straight from the public. In this way, companies will have insights on which products/services would appeal to consumers.
Of course, crowd sourcing has its own share of drawbacks. For one, it is not applicable for every company. This is usually a great solution for those looking for ideas on creative projects - a website design, logo, slogan, name of a new product or service, etc. Another pitfall of crowd sourcing is difficulty in coordinating with supplier/s throughout the entire process. Language barriers and time difference are some of the factors that can affect the smooth flow of the project.
As crowd sourcing becomes a useful process for an increasing number of companies, it is poised to emerge as a major business trend in the future. The key is to weigh the pros and cons before venturing into crowd sourcing. It is also crucial to bear in mind that cost reduction is and should not be the sole factor on deciding whether to crowd source or not.