In March Gartner published a report Use Crowdso

first_imgIn March, Gartner published a report, “Use Crowdsourcing as a Force Multiplier in Application Development,” in which Knipp explores how crowdsourced development applies a cloud operating model to the development and delivery of custom software. Organizations can use platforms including TopCoder and the crowdsourced testing community Applause (formerly uTest) to spin up, develop, test and ship software relatively quickly. A recent partnership between the development and testing platforms takes this a step further by consolidating the customer’s experience through the software development life cycle.“On the other side of it, most enterprise applications are not solving problems for which there’s only one right answer,” Knipp said. “There isn’t necessarily an absolute right way to do something like a workflow or a user interface. You’ve got multiple parties all working against each other to some extent, but still collaborating to solve this problem for you simultaneously. It’s like harnessing the open-source community model and applying it to non-open-source projects. Getting to not just choose between these answers but potentially combine them into something better than you ever imagined, this is something you just don’t get with any other sourcing model.”Building a community from the ground upTopCoder was founded back in 2001 out of a consulting company managing 625 developers, and the site amassed its free market of developer talent slowly. The crowdsourcing platform is founded on the principle of providing developers quantifiable value through incentivized competition without treating them like employees. At the same time, the community forums and a developer rating system allow members to develop a sense of loyalty and ownership in the platform, while of course getting paid for their work.“We spent so much time recruiting and keeping employee morale up than any other part of the [consulting] business, so TopCoder was the answer to that,” said TopCoder general manger Mike Morris. “We realized the Internet gave us access to anybody, so we had to find the best way to identify and engage them. Enterprises are grappling with a rapidly changing IT landscape and not enough in-house developer talent to deal with it. As the explosion of the cloud, Big Data, mobile and connected devices leaves organizations strapped for skills in emerging areas, more and more enterprises are turning to crowdsourced application development.Crowdsourcing development platforms give enterprise organizations access to a free market of developer talent, ready and mobilized to work on an application right away. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, giving enterprises the specific developer skillsets they need to build custom software, and allowing developers to supplement their incomes, choosing their own freelance projects in a collaborative but competitive atmosphere and gaining new programming skills in the process.Platforms such as TopCoder—the largest online crowdsourced developer platform with a community of more than 630,000 developers and designers—open enterprise projects up as competitive challenges, breaking down the software’s components into itemized tasks for developers to complete. The developers, the majority of whom have full-time jobs, monitor the challenge boards for tasks that match their skills and interests, and in a matter of days or weeks code and deliver the software with the goal of receiving a cash prize. Any piece of software the enterprise customer ends up using, including a combination of multiple submissions, the developer gets paid for.“Let’s say you needed to build a mobile front end to some application, and you didn’t have any skill to do that,” said Eric Knipp, managing vice president of application platform strategies at Gartner. “You can go to a digital agency and they’ll charge you an arm and a leg for it. You can try to hire someone with that skill; they probably won’t want to work for you if you’re a traditional enterprise because of the compensation. Or you can go to a crowdsourcing community where you can buy a little slice of their time and get this thing you need relatively quickly.”last_img