Cloudsourcing – The Future of Work

· Cloudsourcing
Century 21 Exposition, study for the Space Nee...

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Cloud Computing technologies will combine with new ‘Crowdsourcing’ organizational models to reinvent the nature of business and employment, aka ‘Cloudsourcing‘.


The key to any new technology like Cloud Computing is to frame it within a context of the new business benefits it will enable.

It does improve technical capabilities and can reduce costs, but these on their own aren’t going to set the world on fire.

Instead to inspire senior management to make significant investments the compelling dynamic is to focus most on the new ways of working it can enable, and how this can translate into tangible benefits they can identify with.

For example in government it’s going hand in hand with ‘Open Government’, the beginning of the most fundamental transformation of politics we’ve yet seen in any of our generations. A leading light of the movement Beth Noveck describes the nature of this change in her book ‘Wiki Government‘. You can read a sample here.

Salesforce 2.0, Part 2 – The 21st Century Organization

In the commercial world this same wave of change will be most evident in the impact on the very nature of our organizations and employment.

One simple way to quantify this is to consider the Microsoft report on Cloud economics, and re-apply the same benefits to HR employment models as they do to computing environments. Ie. The benefits of instant responsiveness and cash flow fluidity in line with real-time market demands.

In a previous Salesforce 2.0 blog the focus is on the technology, how social media can help improve the agility of salespeople working habits, in a local sense. But equally importantly is that in today’s social media world it’s also much easier to source and recruit staff too. Linkedin and other similar sites make up the “People Cloud” where you can find experts on any topic in minutes.

These factors will enable and encourage much more dynamic working. Flexible working achieved through freelance contracting rather than fixed employment.

A key point about the articles from Enterprise 2.0 guru Andrew McAfee is that he also talks about the new organizational models that social media collaborative tools will enable, as well as the software, that they will enable more dynamic and egalitarian networks, rather than the traditional command-and-control hierarchy.

Management gurus have been predicting this shift for years.

Most notably Thomas Malone has described this in terms of the Future of Work, and the uber guru himself Charles Handy predicted many years ago that the nature of our employment models would see us evolve to become ‘Portfolio Workers’, where rather than one job in one company for many years, we instead cultivate a portfolio of freelance projects.

The EXpert Web

An example of the key mechanisms that will drive this type of change is the simple but powerful metaphor of the ‘expertise locator’ demonstrated in the Microsoft video.

It shows how the powerful functionality is localized right into the Lync desktop client, so it’s right at the fingertips of the staff when they need it.

This could be an internal staff member, located via Sharepoint, but for maximum benefits this search will also reach out via Inter-Cloud services to identify resources who are available in other organizations. The next step would then be to dynamically procure the services of this person, ie Cloudsourcing.

The next major evolution of the web will be the mechanisms for this expertise procurement.

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