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The Human Cloud – The Next Big Thing?

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Virtual offices, mobile computing, and instantaneous communication mean access to human talent is no longer limited by geographical proximity. The ever-flattening business environment gives companies access to diverse talent pools that disrupt workforce management models and transform the way tasks get assigned, performed, managed, and implemented.

Procuring and empowering workers with advanced skills through the human cloud allows organizations to tap into specialized expertise when they need it and pay for premier performers only when they are contributing directly to the mission. Delivering project inputs and components digitally through the human talent cloud also makes workers more creative and focused, and therefore, more valuable. They can command high fees and still save their clients’ money, time, and other resources. The cloud facilitates collaboration, so businesses can more efficiently break projects into micro-tasks. That guards against the loss of intellectual property, ensures on-time and on-budget project successes, and otherwise reduces performance risk. Engaging freelancers, consultants, and independent contractors digitally also automates data collection. Armed with data-backed benchmarks on market rates for specific tasks, worker qualifications, performance evaluations, and more, firms can better estimate the cost and create budgets for proposed initiatives to ensure acceptable return on investment before they green light projects.

Adapting to the human cloud paradigm

The gig economy will continue to expand, making it more critical than ever for companies to adopt or build platforms for coordinating their contingent workforce management operations. Competence in recruiting top workers through the human cloud and executing projects through digital interaction, information sharing, and delivery are imperative for firms to close the talent gap and meet the needs of their customers and the demands of these valuable human assets

The human cloud is an extension of the contingent or agile workforce. Specifically, it’s a network of digital talent marketplaces that act as clearinghouses to introduce workers to the organizations that seek their services. Worldwide spend in these markets is rapidly approaching $100 billion per year, which includes menial tasks such as data entry and simple internet data scraping, to creative tasks such as writing white papers, to technical projects like coding mobile apps and drawing network blueprints. The platforms generally include payment portals, public reviews of work performed, and modes for sharing information and virtually managing teams. By aligning their external labor procurement procedures with prospects' preferred ways of working and engaging, firms establish themselves as amenable to workers' sensibilities, increase their visibility, and create customized relationships with the best workers in their class. Organizations that can initiate and manage operations through the human cloud open another front in the war for talent, giving it an additional path to procure mission-critical skills and outperform their competition.

Benefits of the human cloud

Today's business climate shifts at blinding speed. Building in the workforce flexibility to pivot on a dime enables enterprises to anticipate and react quickly to market opportunities, economic risks, and consumer demands. The digital technology undergirding the human cloud automates much of the talent procurement process. Sophisticated algorithms can accommodate any business's contingent labor policies and work rules. Web-based platforms can be customized to instantly generate requisitions for workers based on minimum qualifications, pay rates, and other variables. The infrastructure can ensure diverse suppliers and candidates are given a fair chance to win contracts. The cloud's digital environment is conducive to promulgating hiring requirements efficiently, evaluating proposals and candidates automatically, and ranking candidates based on templates created through analysis of first- and third-party data. This reduces hiring errors and streamlines onboarding and data sharing. Project teams are formed more quickly, so important collaborations start on time and go online more quickly.

Implementing the human cloud

The potential of the human cloud as it relates to contingent labor is vast, but many unknowns remain. Metasys is taking steps to tap the cloud’s vast potential, and it is recommended that organizations that rely on specialized talent do the same.

Sketch out an outline of how the human cloud might solve your talent acquisition and management needs. Then you can decide the structure of your cloud, which kind of supplier relationships will be most profitable, and what safeguards to install to ensure the program complies with labor, taxation, and government regulations, as well as in-house workflow and procurement values. You will need to assess several variables:

  • Goals – How will you know your human cloud-based contingent workforce management program is a success? It could be measured by cost savings among specific categories of hires or tasks performed, time-to-hire, return on investment, performance evaluations, or some other metric.
  • Structure – The form your cloud strategy will take should be based on several industry factors, such as the number and variety of workers, suppliers, and platforms available to procure talent. Structure also will depend on how much project control you can and want to exercise. A single supplier may be preferable if you need very strict adherence to functional and performance requirements. For simple tasks like data mining and data entry, a single supplier may be able to source dozens of workers to complete the job more quickly. Multiple suppliers, on the other hand, can by useful if you need several possible solutions or want to compare results. Engaging multiple suppliers can also minimize the chance of intellectual property falling into the wrong hands. By parceling out tasks to teams from different suppliers, no one person or group can ascertain the nature of the project.
  • Partners – Choosing your specific supplier partner(s) is imperative for assuring the work you contract for is completed with the quality and timeliness you expect. They could be selected through a traditional low-bid process, or they could be assigned by a platform or managed service provider (MSP) you have selected to oversee your temporary talent needs. Depending on the tasks you need completed, you could even allow contractors to self-select. In this workforce model, you offer a non-negotiable rate, and contractors can “take it, or leave it.”
  • Management – With the form and function of your human cloud program in place, the operation and execution of the plan takes center stage. Whether you work directly with suppliers and/or contractors or with an MSP, communication and interaction are paramount. Whether this give-and-tack needs to be formalized, constant, and coordinated depends on the complexity of the task and the cloud model chosen.

Metasys offers comprehensive workforce management solutions, including human cloud management and engagement. We believe talent is where you find it, whether through online platforms or through more traditional channels. We find that our proprietary system, advanced technology, and ingrained industry knowledge translate well to the human cloud, empowering us to help our clients achieve complete workforce solutions.

We would love to have a conversation with you about how Metasys can bundle automation, scheduling, talent demand forecasting, real-time information sharing, and more to configure a customized human cloud component to your contingent labor workflow. Click here, and let's talk!


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