Technology has transformed how we work and get work done. Companies like Uber and TaskRabbit connect people with workers in real time, based on their expertise, location or availability — making it faster, cheaper and on-demand.
A similar model has emerged in business-to-business (B2B) services. Everyone from global enterprise companies to startups use labor they tap from the cloud, and in the process gain a significant competitive advantage. From marketing to product engineering and human resources to operations, companies are using on-demand workforces to scale smarter and faster while they reduce risk and control costs.
Here are five ways B2B companies are leveraging on-demand workforces:
1. Boost speed and efficiency for routine, repetitive or high-volume work
Optical character recognition (OCR) is used to transcribe invoices, receipts and documents. But software generally can’t read handwriting and sometimes can’t recognize inconsistent fonts, placements, sizes or characters. It takes human intelligence to interpret that unstructured data reliably and accurately.
Many companies in the financial tech space are using on-demand cloud labor to ensure accurate transcription of receipts for post-purchase couponing, expense reports and other bookkeeping tasks. Businesses that provide human resource platforms are also using on-demand workforces to accurately transcribe personnel documentation like insurance forms.
2. Provide an innovative service in a competitive market
Tech companies in the retail intelligence space are using workforces to moderate millions of images from retail settings. Using photographs taken in places like food, drug and liquor stores, cloud-based workers extract key information, such as how high a brand appears on the shelf, its price, number of related brand promotions in the store, and how it compares to competing brands, providing strategic insights for thousands of brands.
3. Introduce new service models and products
On-demand labor makes learning faster and easier for humans and machines alike. Duolingo is a free, online resource with 40 million language learners that uses on-demand, cloud labor to conduct remote proctoring for new language certifications. Facebook is training a virtual assistant for its Messenger application using supervised learning, a process where humans teach its algorithms via repeated trial and error.
4. Cost-effectively expand marketing resources and impact
Automation and other digital tools make it easier for marketing teams to reach target audiences with product messages. But teams still are stretched by lack of staffing, budgeting and time. Companies use on-demand workforces to scrape and aggregate website data to identify potential prospects, or to find talent for specific projects like graphic design, copywriting or social media campaigns.
5. Increase scalability for companies in venture capital portfolios
VCs want their businesses to scale fast so they grow with lower capital requirements and investors get quicker returns. On-demand labor can provide a significant competitive advantage for those scrappy startups that are high on innovation and passion but short on resources. Portfolio companies can leverage a virtually unlimited workforce that can be tapped to scale faster and smarter without the risk of over investing in people too quickly.
To learn more about how businesses can better leverage the on-demand economy, download The On-Demand Blueprint: The Essential Blueprint for Businesses Navigating the On-Demand Economy from CloudFactory today.