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Crowdsourcing, Collaboration and Enterprise Mobility

by Kevin Benedict

April 24, 2013

I spent time with a company recently that identified one of their strategic initiatives for 2013 as being crowdsourcing.  Are you familiar with the term?  Here is Wikipedia's definition, "Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people."

This company, we'll call ACME Inc., is purposely asking their employees to contribute ideas which are then reviewed, voted on, and the winners identified and rewarded.  I love it!  Now to be sure this is all very new to ACME Inc., but I applaud their thinking!  If employees know their ideas can make a difference and be recognized, and that actual thinking will be rewarded, then the sky is the limit on innovative thinking within a company!  All too often employees think only certain bestowed titles and roles in the company are paid to think, while the rest of the brain power in the company is put on sleep mode. 

I am here to tell you - in the coming months, quarters and years, it's going to take all the brain power a company can muster to stay in front of the millions of competing digital disruptors as author James McQuivey calls them in his book Digital Disruption - read the WSJ review here.

With cloud based SaaS (software as a service) solutions available today, even the smallest companies can use world class CRMs, ERPs, SCMs, workforce management systems, finance and payroll systems on a monthly subscription basis.  This means your competition can appear overnight, unencumbered by your overhead, legacy IT systems, debt load, unionized workforce and benefit burdens.  If your company is going to be competitive in the market of the future, things need to change.

I also spent time with another company this month that had completed a POC (proof of concept) with a social collaboration platform.  I asked how the POC went.  The answer - not much happened.  There were no earth shaking discoveries or results to report.  Upon further questioning, the person shared that the social collaboration platform did not include a mobile app.  STOP the PRESS!  No mobile app?  Can you imagine Facebook or Twitter with no mobile app?  They wouldn't have anywhere close to the number of users as they do today. 

Very few social networking users wait until they sit down and boot-up the desktop or laptop to become social.  Social is about being connected anywhere and everywhere.  You don't want to wait until later to update people and share your thoughts and ideas.  Social is all about immediacy, and immediacy is all about mobile.

Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) Cognizant

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Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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