We often mistake these two workforce as equivalent. Crowdsourcing and outsourcing offer the same important service to businesses: taking over baseline work that you would otherwise have to do in-house. However, there are major differences between the two that need to be realized before you move forward with either option.
Outsourcing allocates work to a defined organizational entity whereas Crowdsourcing allocates work to an unorganized collection of individuals. Here are other major differences between them:
- Best used for tasks that require a level of subjectivity and decision making like customer service. It works better for data security and when jobs involve nuances and qualitative answers.
- You pay for hours of human labor regardless of outcome.
- Outsourcing companies ensure higher quality. Outsourcers are able to oversee the work being done, and assure quality internally.
- Outsourcing involves a captive audience and therefore, changes can be communicated faster. Outsourced vendors can train their workers on a face-to-face basis. Eventually these workers can become experts in a specific type of task and can be trusted to perform the work without supervision. In addition, because many of the workers are employees of the vendor and work in a closed physical environment, the vendor can sign an NDA for data security.
- Best-suited for work that can be taught in 3-5 minutes and require little-to-no subjectivity. It is great for tasks that are well-defined enough so that anyone can walk in and do the task.
- You pay for outputs. Enterprises pay only for successful completion of a given task.
- When crowdsourcing, sometimes it’s hard to ensure the highest quality because it’s hard to hold crowd sourced staff accountable.
- The beauty of crowdsourcing is it’s a flexible model that can be leveraged to address virtually any business task. Crowdsourcing may be the answer for organizations that are struggling to complete enterprise-level tasks with variable volumes, or require highly-skilled and knowledgeable workers that can quickly and efficiently accomplish work in a secure manner. It does so by delivering results and managing communities without restrictions or barriers – no language barriers that need to be broken, no timelines that need to be crossed or even flights booked.
Outsourcing is staff augmentation while Crowdsourcing can be force multiplication. One allows you to get a certain percentage of your work done with possible cost savings. And one enables you to get a lot more work done in a massively parallel fashion. It’s important to know the differences in order to know which one fits your needs best.