By Ram Rampalli, August 18, 2011

Should organizations establish a Crowdsourcing Center of Excellence?

When I started the crowdsourcing program within my group, I was planning to implement one or two projects. Within weeks, the number of projects grew to six. In the last year, we have experimented over fifteen different types of projects.

As more and more projects with CrowdFlower graduate to production, different groups (engineering, product management, quality engineering) across the organization are seeing the benefits of crowdsourcing and are keen on embracing this new paradigm.

With so many projects in-flight and so many ideas coming up, would it make sense for organizations to setup a Crowdsourcing Center of Excellence (CCE) much like the PMOs?

I personally think that there are a lot of advantages in doing this. Here are my thoughts:

  • Crowdsourcing is growing fast – new tools and technologies are emerging daily. It would benefit for a centralized team to keep abreast of the developments in this space.
  • Crowdsourcing is an emerging solution, so it is important that everyone in the organization understand what Crowdsourcing can and cannot do. The CCE can evangelize, educate, mentor, and consult with teams and individuals on crowdsourcing.
  • The CCE can design and implement processes and methodologies for the organization. The CCE can also develop tools that can be deployed across the organization.
  • The CCE can serve as the centralized office to evaluate the many vendor options, and select the right one(s).
  • The CCE can design, implement, and help manage metrics and KPIs at a project and program level.

I am intentionally excluding from the charter the responsibility of running individual projects. There are pros and cons of having a centralized (or decentralized) process to implement and manage your individual projects.

I would like to hear from the crowdsourcing community, your thoughts and feedback on the pros and cons of establishing a CCE.

In particular, what do you think about these two specific questions? Thanks in advance for your feedback.

1. Do you think organizations will benefit from establishing a CCE?
2. The CCE will obviously involve cost – to establish and run. Will this investment be justified?