Preparing IT for the ‘gig economy’

In the next 10 years, companies will regularly tap into a vast pool of independent contractors on a pay-as-you-go basis, but CIOs need to get much more involved in setting up the secure IT connections to make it work, researchers say.

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In the next 10 years, companies will regularly tap into a vast pool of independent contractors to get work done on a crowdsourced, pay-as-you-go basis, according to research supported by the Society for Information Management’s Advanced Practices Council.

With crowdsourced labor, the enterprise buyer makes detailed work requests at a crowdsourcing platform – such as TopCoder, Upwork, Taskrabbit, uTest, Crowdsource.com, Freelancer.com or Amazon Mechanical Turk – which connects the enterprise to independent contractors working from their homes and offices all over the world. “The size of this labor pool is staggering,” says the report, “Governance of Enterprise Crowdsourcing,” by academics Erran Carmel and Evgeny Kaganer.

Like cloud computing, labor crowdsourcing “offers enterprises the benefit of elasticity, thereby facilitating ramping up and down,” the report says. But the CIO will need to become much more involved in developing the IT infrastructure and APIs for this new labor scenario, the report’s authors say.

“Because the enterprise buyer must create proprietary middleware to provide access and ensure security, the CIO should play a central role. Unfortunately, CIOs have not taken on that role at many of the firms studied,” the report says.

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