Crowdsourcing and PLM consultant’s future?

plm-consultancy-crowdsourcing

Have you heard about crowdsourcing? If not, do it quickly and now. It was coined back 6-7 years ago. Wikipedia is giving yo a good jumpstart – navigate to the following link. Here is a good wikipedia passage explaining that:

Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.[1] This process is often used to subdivide tedious work or to fund-raise startup companies and charities, and can also occur offline.[2] It combines the efforts of numerous self-identified volunteers or part-time workers, where each contributor of their own initiative adds a small portion to the greater result.

Crowdsourcing is coming in different forms. You probably heard about some of them – crowdfunding, crowdsearching, crowdvoting, crowdmanufacturing, etc. Today, internet becomes of the main driving force behind crowdsourcing activities. I just found an interesing example of new way of crowdsourcing – it is coming to the exclusive space of analyst and consulting business. Before internet, a significant part of analysts work was to provide access to centralized industry information in a very systematic way. For the last decade this role changed – consultants and analysts are playing high profile advisory work. Sort of trusted source and security for the case of failure. You don’t need analysts and advisors to access information – for most of situations, everything is available on the internet.

My attention was caught by a very interesting article – Why This Company Is Crowdsourcing, Gamifying The World’s Most Difficult Problems. It speaks about how future crowdsourcing analytical companies will be using the army of consultants and analysts powered by internet tech and gamification engine. Here is the passage I specially like:

The biggest consultancy firms–the McKinseys and Janeses of the world–make many millions of dollars predicting the future and writing what-if reports for clients. This model is built on the idea that those companies know best–and that information and ideas should be handed down from on high.

Here is how article describes the new model created by Wikistrat company:

But one consulting house, Wikistrat, is upending the model: Instead of using a stable of in-house analysts, the company crowdsources content and pays the crowd for its time. Wikistrat’s hundreds of analysts–primarily consultants, academics, journalists, and retired military personnel–are compensated for participating in what they call “crowdsourced simulations.” In other words, make money for brainstorming.

Now, let’s talk about PLM consulting business. The existing model looks similar to how it explained in the article above. The assumption that McKinseys and other top PLM consultancy companies know the best how to transform manufacturing business using PLM strategy and technologies. There is no crowd here for the moment- big companies rule the business. Now, imagine that change – future PLM consultancy will use the power of hundreds and thousands PLM experts to provide a better prediction reports and opinion about future of PLM business as well as practical business transformation recommendation for manufacturing companies.

What is my conclusion? Disruption is coming everywhere these days. There is a potential that fundamental enterprise software consultancy business will be disrupted by crowdsourcing. Sounds weird from the beginning? For the moment advisors’ business build on top of long term relationships, understanding of company business and many other factors. However, some other technological examples in our everyday life sounded as weird as this one a decade ago. Who knows? Should I godaddy futureplmadvisory.com? What is your take? These are just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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One Response to Crowdsourcing and PLM consultant’s future?

  1. Jos Voskuil says:

    Oleg hi,

    First I thought, based on the title, I finally could become redundant. I have a hard time to believe that PLM consulting and crowdsourcing are related. The case you are referring to is about consultancy companies providing business insights, for which I think crowdsourcing is excellent.

    If you would like to use this approach to PLM, then I think it might work in the Autodesk context, where Autodesk PLM is more a tool for small and medium companies sharing information without performing a business transformation. In that sense, you can learn from experience in the field, assuming these experts emerge in the future.

    When it comes to a business transformation, targeting more the larger companies and richer PLM systems, I think crowdsourcing will not help you to better understand and guide the business. The risk through crowdsourcing is that the wrong conclusions are drawn.

    As I am a believer that real PLM requires a business transformation, company-specific, in order to obtain the true benefits, I still envision a future for consultants. As long as they are experienced and do not jump on a tool from the start.

    I agree the PLM market is ready for disruption as the purpose for PLM is still diffuse, see my post: http://virtualdutchman.com/2013/03/17/plm-at-riskit-does-not-have-a-single-clear-job/

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