May 18, 2021 Executive Strategy: Solving the Technology Talent Shortage with Crowdsourcing

The future holds many opportunities for enterprises to adopt, experiment and scale with gig economy talent. Crowdsourcing and open talent thought-leader John Winsor, of Open Assembly, recently explored the topic in depth with analyst Mukesh Dialani of IDC Research. Mukesh is a Program Director for IDC’s Worldwide Product Engineering and Operational Technology Services research.

Enterprises’ evolving use of the gig economy is the focus of Mukesh’s in-depth report: Topcoder — Leveraging a Crowdsourcing Model to Mitigate the Engineering Talent Challenge. Enjoy this New Work conversation between John and Mukesh, highlighting Mukesh’s research and some of the report’s key findings.

Technology and Talent sourcing

As a global leader at IDC, Mukesh has been on the ground and closely monitoring talent strategies as the industry has shifted. Technology is now a part of everything that’s being built, and it’s also changed very quickly in the past few years. This has impacted everything from how enterprises structure their operations, to how businesses build things internally and for their clients. For instance, IDC has seen a dramatic growth in digital high-tech engineering services required by customers.

To keep up with rapidly increasing demand, talent acquisition has to take place at higher and higher speeds. Many enterprises can’t keep up, or are unable to find the domestic talent they need at the speed that they need it. Time is money, and Mukesh says that these sourcing struggles have a direct correlation to cost.

answering “so What now?” in a post-covid world

Because economic activity originally came to a standstill at the start of COVID-19, many roles were let go or downsized. Yet as we enter a stage of recovery, these roles will obviously need to be filled again. Some economic analysts even predict a surge in demand as economies and businesses leap back into action.

Traditional models of talent sourcing and staffing are struggling to meet this variable demand supply equation. According to Mukesh, “If you go online and look at open engineering or technology positions, you will be amazed at how many open jobs there are today.” Enterprises are finding it difficult to onboard new staff in preparation for the coming surge. 

Companies were already struggling with talent sourcing before COVID. The pandemic has only expedited the need for a paradigm shift. The solution is a blended workforce that mixes FTEs, contractors, and on-demand (crowd) talent.

How do you manage these different economic cycles? Crowdsourcing became a very important part of the play. It enables customers to scale up and down, and it can become an add-on strategy, not a strategy that would replace what they’re doing.” —Mukesh Dialani, IDC Research

Choosing the right Crowdsourcing partner

Some enterprises have concerns about crowdsourcing or using open talent. There might be fears about security, or trepidation around shaking up established structures. Managers and team leaders need to focus on choosing the right crowdsourcing partner. Mukesh recommends the following:

  • Understand the crowdsourcing platform’s business model: How it works, the challenges, the benefits, etc.
  • Start with a portfolio of projects to get processes and expectations in place
  • Work closely with the crowdsourcing partner, being open about your concerns and discussing how the pilot is going.

Keep in mind that using open talent does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Mukesh believes that a hybrid, blended strategy is the future for many firms. For example, say that your enterprise has a role they need to fill that’s difficult to source, very expensive, and not needed long-term. Once you learn the processes of your chosen crowdsourcing partner, you can consider if the role is right for that platform. Strategically and efficiently, you can tap into these high-cost, high-profile roles if and when you need it, as a supplement to your in-house team.

Thank you to Mukesh and John for sharing their insights on how crowdsourcing is the future for enterprise staffing. Click here to read Mukesh’s full research analysis and recommendations for enterprises

“It’s a learning process. You need to go step-by-step. I’ve looked at Topcoder, and I’ve seen that they have all of these processes put in place as they work with their customers.” —Mukesh Dialani, IDC Research

Download the Report

Annika Nagy

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