The article explores the genesis of this outsourcing culture, beginning from outsourcing of IT and business processes as well as offshore outsourcing and finally the human cloud. Outsourcing of IT and business processes mainly involved outsourcing of those none core functions of an organization, while offshore outsourcing involved outsourcing the company’s functions to suppliers overseas in a given location. Human cloud is an advanced concept that uses online middlemen to provide a wide pool of virtual workers who can work on the company’s projects.
Some of the other important concepts used to describe this subject include crowd sourcing and micro sourcing. Crowd sourcing as explained allows for a task that was performed by in-house staff to be transferred to a large usually undefined group of people as is the case with Wikipedia where everyone can contribute. Micro sourcing enables buyers to be able to buy projects or tasks on the internet from small providers. The authors also note that several support providers such as Odesk and eLance have developed several applications that allow even smaller firms to manage their virtual workforce.
The main contribution of this article is to enlighten organizations and business owners on the new technology frontier that is becoming an essential necessity to any organization that intends to reduce costs and increase productivity. The article dissects the whole idea of workforce outsourcing, and provides elaborate examples of organizations that are employing this technology as well as the benefits accruing to such organizations.
Most importantly, the article highlights the challenges that are likely to face an organization that is employing virtual workers as well as suggests ways of ensuring efficiency in the management of such staff. It appreciates that fact that the management must shift their minds from traditional workforce management to more sophisticated methods of managing virtual workforce by for instance utilizing tools provided by the leading online workforce management companies, eLance and oDesk.
Most importantly, the article has provided the different models of human cloud that include the facilitator, the arbitrator, the aggregator as well as the governor model, which a company can use to determine the form of human cloud that can be utilized depending on their nature of business operations. This is helpful to organizations seeking to engage in human cloud outsourcing since they are more informed on the various models of human cloud and which one is best suited for them.
Lastly, the article provides very important information on the management of human cloud initiatives including the various phases of such management. These phases include the architectural phase, the engagement phase, operational initiative, quality control, etc. These management initiatives ensure that for the job assignment, the supplier is well aware of the parameters of the task, as well as the deliverables and this ensures buyer satisfaction as instructions are clear.
Despite the damning contributions of this article, a number of limitations can be drawn. First and foremost, the article is rather quiet as to the cost implications of human capital, in terms of actual costs as well as intrinsic costs due to the fact that it does not make a one on one comparison between hiring in-house staff, or the use of human cloud. This leaves the reader unsure of the actual benefits/savings in regard to these two parameters.
The article fails to note that despite the many benefits that would come with human cloud, relationships are ignored in the whole process. Since the suppliers and buyers are not able to meet one on one, relationships that are quite important in business are forgone as the business operates in a virtual environment.
Lastly, the article fails to provide concrete solutions to the problems that face organizations already using human cloud for their business processes. Additionally, the scope of the article is mainly concentrated on organizations in the US and other western countries where there is internet flow, ignoring the fact that most countries and especially in developing world do not have the basic infrastructure to support this initiative.
Whether the contributions by the authors of this article are useful or not is not a subject of debate. Any organization operating in the modern business environment can bear witness that the operating environment is quite unfavorable, especially given the high costs of hiring permanent staff and therefore any suggestions that can be used to reduce the costs in this front are highly welcome in all organizations that have a vision for growth and efficiency.
First of all, the article has made quite important contribution as far as informing the audience on the operations of human cloud as well as the management of human cloud goes. It also goes further and demystifies the concept of outsourcing in the since that even the very small establishments can also reap big from this technology. Most importantly, the article has managed to explain the various human cloud platforms and this has enlightened individuals and business owners on what form of human cloud is appropriate for them. The article is therefore, not only informative to scholars with interest in the field of outsourcing but also has offered practical ways of benefiting from the global workforce.
The subject of human cloud is still being debated in different parts of the world, and the appropriateness of the same in different business establishments is a subject of continuing discussion. From the article however, we are informed that the various platforms of human cloud are applicable in different scenarios. From the governor to the aggregator to the other platforms, each fits a specific business model. What is for sure is that for the best operation of human cloud, the business must have quite a number of tasks that need to be performed concurrently and therefore the need for the virtual workers. This means that such companies can apply the findings of this article appropriately. Take a company that has various projects that have to be performed at the same time, its only logical that human cloud will come in handy since the virtual workers are able to complete these tasks in real time. Companies that also have strong IT infrastructure are likely to highly benefit from this concept of human cloud.
A country like Kuwait can actually benefit immensely from the adoption of this technology. While the bulk of the country’s economy is financed by oil, there are several companies that operate within the countries territories who have the capacity to benefit from this global talent and workforce occasioned by the concept of human cloud.
This article has been an eye opener to organizations that have struggled with the ever increasing wage bills as well as the difficulties involved in the management of staff in an organization. It opens another technology frontier where productivity and efficiency are key and that allows the organization to operate in very minimal office space as most of the staff are able to be hired virtually, and monitored to complete their tasks in real time.
Massolution (2012) Crowdsourcing Industry report:Enterprise crowdsourcing, Market, provider and work trends,Los Angeles
Howe, J ( 2008) Crowdsourcing:why the power of the crowd is driving the future of business, Crown business, Newyork
Massolution, crowdsourcing industry report
Avgeny Keganer et al (2013) Managing the Human cloud.