By Chris Barbin (@c_barbin)
both excitement and, not surprisingly, a fair bit of skepticism.
Since that day, CloudSpokes has turned even some of the biggest skeptics into believers. Today CloudSpokes has more than 70,000 developers and design specialists across 100+ countries. Some of the leading pure-play cloud providers - from Salesforce.com and Amazon, to Box and Docusign - are already using CloudSpokes in some way.
When we started Appirio, we knew with cloud services, the services industry was ripe for disruption. In our original thesis, Services 2.0 in April 2007 we actually stated:
“In Services 2.0, micro-projects and use of extensive social networks such as open source communities...dramatically shortens cycle times and increases the reach for talent outside a single GSI.”
So when we created CloudSpokes, we knew it had the potential to be disruptive. Disruptive to the traditional systems integration firms that have to hire, train and ultimately bill their clients for the hundreds of consultants it takes to deliver on large projects. Disruptive to the vendors who until now had to spend extensive time and money to build out their own developer ecosystems. And even disruptive to our own team and business model. Just like SaaS solutions themselves, we believe the cost and value of our services should get better every year.
Today, a large number of our consultants are using CloudSpokes day in and day out to deliver innovative solutions to our customers - as proof of concepts in the sales process, to find specialized talent that may not be immediately available, or to simply find creative solutions to tough problems. Enterprises and ISVs are using CloudSpokes to extend their own internal teams, deliver results faster and for a fraction of the cost. It’s become routine to see cases where a project has been delivered 3x as fast for half the cost that a previous project was delivered.
The CloudSpokes community has created 500+ assets, mobile applications, components and even delivered entire projects on behalf of some of the most demanding customers in the world. It has been a huge differentiator for Appirio and is creating an even bigger impact as an independent community. Universities, ISVs and some of the largest companies in the world are using CloudSpokes to find and train talent, build products and solutions, and more.
Developers are benefiting too - I love hearing stories from individuals who are using the platform to learn new skills or escape the boredom of traditional enterprise development. Those who are using their winning to buy a new car or start their own dream business. There are some we’ve heard from who have turned down jobs at some very well known brands to focus on their participation in CloudSpokes.
Crowdsourcing and platforms like CloudSpokes are the ‘multi-tenancy ‘ of consulting services and will be for the coming decades. Traditional GSI’s like Accenture, Deloitte, and even IBM have 200,000+ employees and I believe will struggle under their own weight to add an equivalent number in order to grow. Their attachment to their current business model is no different than on-premise software companies’ attachment to license revenue.
The freelance workforce, enabled by the internet, open source and the readily available tools and APIs that every up-and-coming SaaS, PaaS and IaaS provider delivers ‘out of the box’, is changing consulting and development forever.
While there may be many skeptics out there questioning things like quality, capacity, security and the like – these are the same skeptics that close to 20 years ago doubted offshoring …. what some consider a $300B market opportunity today. Twenty years from now, crowdsourcing will be as common a word, but instead of it being just developers in India and China, it will also be your kids, and their kids, delivering innovation and applications in the comfort of their own homes – and vacation homes – from around the world.