I just returned from the SIG (Sourcing Interest Group) Summit in beautiful Amelia Island Florida where Martha Crow, SVP, and I presented. We spoke with many great companies while we were there enjoying the conference and one recurring question that seemed to come up over and over again is “What makes a good crowd project for the Enterprise?”.
That is a great question because crowdsourcing has evolved significantly to accommodate the growing demand from enterprises for more cost-efficient, flexible staffing options. While the industry started with companies crowdsourcing minor tasks, the shift over the last few years has been to tackle bigger and more complex projects that require a wide array of skills, often necessitating a workforce with a global footprint.
So, how does a manager determine whether a project is a good candidate for an enterprise crowdsourcing engagement?
Most managers’ initial inclination is likely to eliminate the HR element entirely and send it off to the semi-conductor farm to be crunched by the computers. While there have been enormous advances in data recognition and processing software, there is still a major gap between machine intelligence and the innately human ability of deduction. It’s this deductive reason that allows a person to make the subjective decisions that go into product testing, rating content relevancy, or summarizing content. Therefore, the first major qualifier for a project’s potential for a crowdsourcing solution is the actual need for human input. Humans are also needed to accurately transcribe audio while accounting for regional dialects, slang, etc. One of the unique attributes of the crowd is its borderless footprint, which enables a crowd provider to reach into a global pool of workers to identify those with the very specific regional and local language knowledge necessary for such projects.
Volume and Fluctuation
The next consideration is the sheer volume of tasks and the fluctuation in that work. For the most part, projects with large volumes of tasks/data/work are usually be best projects for a crowd as they can be done, better, faster and cheaper with a crowd. Additionally, one of the key benefits of crowdsouring is its “elasticity” – the ability to ramp the workforce up and down quickly and efficiently. In any project, workloads are going to ebb and flow throughout and crowdsourcing’s output-based pricing structure will prevent a company from being saddled with hundreds or thousands of FTEs twiddling their collective thumbs when workloads temporarily wane. While there is some ramp up time associated with upsizing the crowd demanded for a project, the crowdsourcing model will accommodate both the high level of human-required tasks and the potential ebb and flow of that workload.
A perfect example of this ebb and flow is data entry associated with seasonal tax processing. To overcome that staffing demand, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue tapped into our Enterprise Crowdsourcing platform to handle the irregular surge. Besides the savings on full time staff costs, personnel training, etc., the PA DOR was able to cut costs, improve data accuracy, and increase processing turnaround times by 70 percent!
The final criteria for a “crowd-worthy” project comes down to whether the component jobs within the overall project can be redesigned to be handled by the crowd, and are essentially repeatable. Because most jobs are created with a full-time staffer in mind, they often need to be broken down and rebuilt to function within the crowd. Each task is also infinitely repeatable so once the task is designed the crowd can be scaled to meet the demand for that specific job activity. In the above example of the PA DOR, we were able to use our proprietary crowd platform and our vcapture Snippet technology to divide each tax form into unidentifiable components (protecting personal data) to be processed by a private crowd of workers located within Pennsylvania to keep the work local. With the data appropriately compartmentalized, we could easily ramp up the works to support that flow of data as tax season reached its spring crescendo.
With these basic guidelines, enterprise-level project managers should be able to make an initial diagnosis of their projects to determine whether crowdsourcing can help them execute a more cost-effective solution. If you’re reading this thinking you might have a project in mind, reach out to me, Dori Albert, at Dori.Albert@lionbridge.com to see if we can ultimately give you a bigger and better bang for your buck. If your interest is only piqued, you can always take a look at our enterprise crowdsourcing primer, or a this white paper that provides some great examples of enterprises using the crowd.
I was recently summoned to a client’s headquarters for what I was told was a “serious issue.” When I arrived, I was met by two Study Leaders, a Senior Project Manager and the Head of Procurement—a distinguished audience by any measure. Straight away, I was informed that a validated instrument had been translated by our team, and it was grossly inaccurate. Needless to say, I was at a loss as to how this disaster happened, given our ISO certifications, rigorous quality methodologies and SOPs. But then, something clicked in my head and I realized that, although we did quote for this project, it was not awarded to Lionbridge Life Sciences.
It turned out that another language translation provider had executed the project. Given that validated instruments were not a regular part of the provider’s discipline, they had failed to perform any sort of Cognitive Debriefing or Pilot Testing. Moreover, it appeared they had used less-than-optimal translators for the project. Continue reading »
Given the rapid shift of a Broadcast to Digital marketing operations model, it’s no surprise that marketing departments struggle with the day-to-day execution of their digital marketing and lead generation programs.
In the old Broadcast operations model, Agencies were responsible for everything: creative, ad timing, execution, and analytics – with no direct interaction with customers. Life was so easy then!
Enter the Digital Age, where companies are now responsible for all of these tasks formerly borne by the Agencies. The knee-jerk reaction for a lot of companies was to invest in enterprise software, in hopes that it would replace a lot of the work that the Agencies formerly performed. Unfortunately, the reality is that there is a big gap between marketing objectives and software functionality. Most companies have limited resources to maintain software while managing the day-to-day details of campaigns without knowing if their software investments have paid off. Continue reading »
Chodząc korytarzami warszawskiego biura Lionbridge, wciąż słyszy się ludzi rozmawiających w różnych językach. Telekonferencje z kolegami z innych krajów, towarzyskie pogawędki w międzynarodowym gronie, wymiana doświadczeń i rozmowy o najnowszych wiadomościach. Większość pracowników naszej firmy włada biegle więcej niż jednym językiem obcym. A niektórzy znają nawet trzy czy cztery! Posługiwanie się angielskim to oczywiście podstawa, bez niego ani rusz, ale co powiecie na japoński, farsi czy amharski? Continue reading »
Simply put: expect change.
Sometimes a parts vendor alters the equipment design. Oftentimes, errors or malfunctions are not evident until testing and modeling, or once customer use reveals them. Always, someone is revising, improving, increasing performance. Whatever the source, Engineering Change Orders (ECOs) are an essential part of the development process. In fact, a third of them are considered critical and endanger the overall success of the project, according to a study in Denmark. Continue reading »
You know what’s funny? I’m still a little amazed every time I see a contextual display ad about something I recently shopped for. (I guess that’s funny-weird, not funny-haha. Sorry if I got your hopes up.)
But you know the feeling, right? You’re minding your own business, reading an article, or you’re using a web-based email program like Gmail. All of a sudden, you see an ad for the exact pair of shoes you were looking at on Zappos last Tuesday. I get this thought that lasts for like a millisecond, “What a weird coincidence!” before my brain kicks in and I remember that companies have data. Lots of it – and some of it is about me. And they’re using it to get my attention. Continue reading »
Ya tenemos disponible el informe actualizado sobre los mejores sitios web globales de hostelería y viajes realizado por John Yunker y patrocinado por Lionbridge.
Es increíble comparar los datos de este informe con los correspondientes al informe 2011. ¡Cómo han cambiado las cosas en tan poco tiempo!
En este informe se recogen las últimas tendencias en marketing on-line para el sector turístico. Además de describir las mejores prácticas para apps y web móvil, John también habla acerca de:
Te invito a que te lo descargues de forma gratuita!
I was planning on a quiet August. But the dog days of this August have been anything but quiet or dull. Breaking news has been interrupted by more breaking news. Libya was pre-empted by a rare east-cost 5.8 magnitude earthquake, with an epicenter near Washington (prompting political jokes such as the Earthquake was all Obama’s or Bush’s ”fault”, depending on your political persuasion.) Then the earthquake was pre-empted by Hurricane Irene barrelling up the east coast.