First there was Software as a Service or SaaS (thanks Marc Benioff). It was arguably the most disruptive of all disruptions in the technology sector, and it turned traditional enterprise software licensing on its head by introducing the concept of “renting” versus buying software to run your business.
Soon after SaaS, there was Platform as a Service or PaaS (thanks Marc Benioff’s marketing folks). This took SaaS to an entirely new level by giving businesses the ability to build their own custom software applications.
Next came Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS (pioneered by Amazon, Rackspace and others) which made it faster, easier and less expensive for companies to outsource the technological underpinnings of their business – storage, hardware, servers and networking.
The latest incarnation of XaaS (anything as a service) involves not the replacement of a technology or product, but rather skilled professionals who have developed expertise in everything from Big Data classification and verification, to language translation, to testing, to search relevance testing. We call it Business Process Crowdsourcing (BPC) at Lionbridge. But in keeping with the “XaaS” nomenclature, another way of looking at how we are delivering a solution to our clients’ business problems is to characterize it as Talent as a Service or TaaS.
The common denominators in each of these examples are, of course, the cloud and a new business delivery model under which the client – whether they need software, storage, applications, hardware or just plain old intelligence and specialized brainpower – pays on a per-use basis.
For our clients, BPC is an evolved incarnation of TaaS because it satisfies their demands of productivity, flexibility and quality, while also having the all-important positive impact on their bottom line. By its very nature, the TaaS model removes institutional inefficiencies associated with traditional staffing because the client is charged only for the work that is delivered. This eliminates the costly physical infrastructure and inevitable downtime of the traditional full-time employee model.
Our BPC practice takes this efficiency to a new level by pre-qualifying the 100,000 plus members of our virtual crowd, to enable us to easily provide the expertise that clients demand. As we have been leveraging this model for dozens of clients for more than ten years, we have also witnessed – and enabled – a number of exciting new projects for clients who rely upon our global, mobile professionals for many business critical tasks.
An interesting by-product of this dynamic is that working in our private crowd is proving to be attractive to Millennials. Over the years, the demographic make-up of our crowd has continually evolved. The flexibility of this work model is attractive to these younger workers and, as a result, a growing majority of our crowd is under the age of 44.
As “cloud commuting” becomes more prevalent, and big brands continue to embrace highly secure, massively scalable and infinitely flexible TaaS models like the Lionbridge Smart Crowd, leveraging this privately managed, global, mobile crowd to solve new business problems will evolve from an innovative novelty to a key pillar of business strategy. Why hire one person to do ten tasks concurrently, when you can hire ten people to each do one task simultaneously?
The crowd will also allow businesses to more easily infiltrate new markets and glean new insights while also continuing to cultivate and develop new talent from a diverse pool of workers around the globe. As the cloud continues to evolve, it’s the next wave in XaaS advancement.
In this brave new world, where talent acquisition and deployment have disrupted the traditional workforce, that works for us. How will you make it work for you?