We often get asked how CloudFactory is different from crowdsourcing platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk). Simply put, while CloudFactory provides access to a talented workforce, we’re not a pure crowdsourcing model, we provide an enterprise alternative to crowdsourcing that is built to handle critical business processes that need to be done right.
What is crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing is defined as ‘the practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet.’ What this definition leaves out is that the “crowd” in this instance is anonymous and unaccountable to anyone, rendering it inadequate for any business looking to offload enterprise grade work.
What CloudFactory provides, but crowdsourcing does not:
- A vetted and trained workforce
- Sweet relief from the burdens of management
- Accountability for results
- Reliable quality
- Flexibility and scalability
- Clear cost structures
- An easy way to get started...fast
Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these distinctions to better understand why CloudFactory is an essential alternative to mTurk and other crowdsourcing platforms.
1. A vetted and trained workforce
When starting with a crowdsourcing platform, you are responsible for posting your projects, reviewing and selecting candidate submissions, and managing worker relationships. The price for listing a crowdsourcing project may be lower than other options, but you have to factor in your own costs in order to attract, train, and manage a nebulous and disconnected group of workers.
Conversely, CloudFactory manages the hiring process for you. Candidates are extensively vetted before joining our workforce and are hand-selected by CloudFactory’s Delivery team to match workers with the proper skills for the task at hand. Plus, our workforce is professionally trained based on our customer’s exclusive business rules, and on best-practices from our considerable experience handling critical business processes for companies like Expensify, Microsoft, and ibotta.
2. Sweet relief from management burdens
While you may be able to get work done on the cheap through anonymous crowdsourcing, it’s rarely as inexpensive as it seems. Many customers neglect to factor in the cost of their own management burdens to keep work flowing seamlessly. Crowdsourcing may be suitable for one-time tasks, or work that isn’t a core business process. But, for ongoing projects, it’s likely you’ll need to train workers, manage the relationship, and then hope for consistency and continuity.
Alternatively, CloudFactory relieves much of that burden. We already covered the fact that we recruit and train our workforce on behalf of our customers, but there’s much more. If a member of the team is unavailable or misses a shift, it's on us to fill it, not our customer. We focus on motivating our workers by investing in our culture and in their success, so they perform at high levels and provide consistently exceptional results.
3. Accountability for results
Anonymity is a bug, not a feature when it comes to crowdsourcing. Because there is no specific point person or management layer, workers have little accountability for poor results. If you’re unsatisfied with the work, there is no one to rectify the situation. This leaves no option other to send the work through again and again, hoping for a different result. Keep in mind, that each time a task is sent through, costs rack up.
On the other hand, every WorkStream at CloudFactory has a dedicated Team Lead, and the backing of our Customer Success team devoted to ensuring our customers get the results they need. We want every customer to have confidence in our ability to get their work done right, and that means having direct access to a dedicated management team.
4. Quality and consistency
When you use crowdsourcing, you probably won’t work with the same individual workers for long periods of time, which severely undercuts continuity and quality. As workers churn, you’ll have to bring each new person up to speed, creating whole slew of new management burdens. Of course, other questions arise: How do you know deadlines will be met? Can you rely on them to deliver high quality work? What happens when someone else is paying more, or if your workers decide to stop working altogether?
Relying on crowdsourcing presents significant risks if you need to offload a core business process. CloudFactory clients have a dedicated team who are already familiar with our processes and then trained business rules our customers provide. If one person steps out, there are several others that can seamlessly fill their role, while CloudFactory takes on the burden of getting them trained and ready to go.
Unlike crowdsourcing platforms, we give our customers the quality and consistency they need to scale important work. Throughout the relationship, we focus on how to make their processes more efficient and even enforce productivity best-practices like the Pomodoro Effect to maximize capacity.
5. Flexibility and scalability
One of the most important differences between crowdsourcing and CloudFactory is in the ability for our solution to adapt and grow with your business. If you land a big customer, see massive growth, or your workload increases substantially, you need to be able to quickly expand your workforce.
However, crowdsourcing platforms aren’t designed to address seamless scaling, you’re essentially starting from scratch with an expanding group of workers. Therefore, the ramping process falls on the shoulders of the customer.
Not so with CloudFactory. WorkStreams are specifically built for scale and flexibility. Our workforce consists of thousands of talented people that are ready to take on additional work when it arises. We’ll handle the training and then get to work, while using technology to maximize productivity and monitor engagement and results. Over time it’s simple to adjust the hours you need every month and expand (or contract) capacity as needed.
6. Fixed and easy-to-understand cost structure
On the surface, crowdsourcing platforms appear like an inexpensive option. But, beware, there are hidden costs like the management considerations mentioned earlier. Also, if the scope or volume of your business increases, it can be very expensive to build out the necessary capacity on crowdsourcing platforms since you’ll need to recruit, train, and manage your new talent pool.
A particular process may initially sound like a good deal, but the quality of the work submitted may be very low. Sometimes it takes multiple submissions from different workers to get results you can use. In the end, you could wind up spending valuable dollars for subpar work and waste a considerable amount of time doing your own quality control.
It’s incredibly difficult to determine the full cost of a crowdsourced project. Whereas, CloudFactory is based on simple, easy-to-understand hourly rates. The more work that flows through each month, the lower the rate gets. Clients can estimate costs with our easy-to-use pricing calculator. There are no hidden fees for onboarding, training, or anything else. What you see is what you get, allowing you to anticipate costs as you scale.
7. An easier way to get to work
Crowdsourcing tools may take time to learn how to use effectively. Most are designed for short or one-time tasks, so it can be difficult to manage long-term projects and relationships.
There is no learning curve to get started with CloudFactory, and we use technology to make the process fast and simple. With our WorkStream app you can create a WorkStream in minutes. Once started, our WorkStream Channels allow you to collaborate and communicate all in one place.
As you can see, there are significant differences between CloudFactory and anonymous crowdsourcing platforms. We’ve combined the best of all worlds by building a world-class workforce, leveraging technology to make them super efficient, and by providing the professional management needed to get results.This eliminates the risks inherent to anonymous crowdsourcing, while keeping the best part, which is an affordable way to offload routine, data-oriented work to a large community of talented workers.