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Outing the crowdsourcing demon


Outing the crowdsourcing demon


Here’s where I get my back up!

Designing and developing online and software projects is never a cheap enterprise. We all know this – they take specialists, their expertise and time, right? Well, maybe not so much anymore.

Imagine my dismay when I watched the industry that I work in create a revolution in project development and delivery that is stealing work from our very hands. First it was offshoring and now it’s the new cooler-kissing cousin crowdsourcing that is the culprit.

A perfect storm of technological innovation and a toxic economy has seen the unstoppable rise of crowdsourcing. And while this is a creative, efficient innovation of the higher order of the Web 2.0 era I fear it is a trend that will outlast the downturn and impact the bottom line.

In case you haven’t clocked on to the crowdsourcing phenomena, in a nutshell it is an online pitch of any project to crowds of experts or wannabe experts. Check out www.crowdspring.com, which has attracted a lot of heat and is the online hang out of over 20,000 creatives from around the world. It is borderless, creatively competitive and cheap – even LG recently used it to help design a new handset. It is a great short term fix but where does that leave the long-term sustainability of our local industry?

The only reason an organisation engages an IT supplier is for their expertise and value. But what happens when the supplier gets the deal and then outsources the work offshore to increase their margin? Should the client be told upfront or does it not matter as long as the project is delivered in full, on time and on budget? Who manages the risk, the language barrier/s (in some instances), code control, versioning, interface design and so forth? Crowdsource me that!

While using these innovations is great if it is agreed upon right upfront with your client, but should we allow it to become a default solution? Why wouldn’t a mid to high-tier organisation looking for a specialist, turn to our local talent and have open discussions about budget and expectations? Isn’t that the power of working with your local supplier – real time, localised communication?

Many technology and web-design suppliers can cite stories about a client project that went offshore, cost $X, took longer than expected and was redundant by the time the project was delivered. While, I have recently met with some new start ups that have raised significant capital and used local suppliers because communication and high quality programmers were high on the list. Were definitely seeing a trend of this type but there is still so much outsourcing that is money literally down the drain!

I am passionate about our industry and more passionate about keeping our local talent here and our polo of projects rich, eclectic and dynamic. The only reason why we lose our talent is because some of these outsourced projects leave our country.

What are we doing about this both from an industry and corporate standpoint?

Why don’t we embrace our unbelievable talent, use it and pay for it? Yes, we agree our rates are not $2 per hour, but we can certainly deliver perfect project outcomes and we are confident of doing this.

Tell me you views on crowdsourcing, offshoring and its impact on or local industry.


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