Blog post

Crowdsourcing Enterprise Apps

By Eric Knipp | April 04, 2014 | 3 Comments


Crowdsourcing has become well known because of high-flying concepts like the X Prize and the Netflix Prize. And everybody has heard of Amazon Mechanical Turk. Less well known are coding puzzle sites like Project Euler and HackerRank. Then there are the hidden gems for Application Development organizations – the crowdsourcing AD vendors like [topcoder] and uTest. That Crowdsourcing has appeared in many kinds of work, including application design, architecture, testing, and development, isn’t that surprising. Cutting edge “rocket science” stuff (which the X Prize literally rewards) always seems to make its way into the everyday eventually. What IS surprising is just how much impact Crowdsourcing AD can have on the enterprise today.

In my paper “Use Crowdsourcing as a Force Multiplier in Application Development” (link available to Gartner for Technical Professionals subscribers), I explore how Crowdsourcing maps to three key areas in the SDLC – design, test, and coding. I talk about good practices in applying Crowdsourcing to your own projects, and finally about the rise of the Crowd Curator – a new kind of role that blends the technical aspects of application architecture with sophisticated soft skills in community and project management. There’s no doubt in my mind that Crowdsourcing AD is going to be huge for the enterprise – and those who figure out how to harness it early will enjoy a substantial advantage over their competitors.

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  • Doug Hadden says:

    Enterprise Software vendors focus on multiple markets with different needs. They have been challenged to keep up with changing customer demands. Internal development teams do not have the economies of scale to meet functional product needs while maintaining proprietary application and middleware code.

    It stands to reason that many ERP customers have built similar customized applications or add-ons. So, there has been a duplication of effort that is partly responsible for the high TCO experienced by many customers.

    An app exchange may bring the economies of scale we see in mobile apps. The critical factor, though, is how/if the resulting apps are supported.

  • JMI says:

    Really interesting Eric, thanks​!​

    I think that you would be really interested in some of the most cutting-edge research that I have come across explaining crowds, open innovation, and citizen science.​

    And you may also enjoy this blog about the same too:

    Powerful stuff, no?

  • Eric Knipp says:

    @Doug – If I understand you correctly, you’re suggesting the combination of an app store with a crowdsourcing platform. Sounds like a killer app to me.. if you can get people to flock to it! Another option would be for crowdsourcing platforms to integrate with App Stores.. how about a “one click” workflow to take a winning solution out of a crowdsourcing platform and submit it for approval by one of the aforementioned vendors.. sounds hot. BTW, the high TCO of enormous packaged biz apps is less about duplication and more about bloat and business-specific customization. If you want to avoid customization, well the great thing is that out of the box, packaged biz apps let you have anything you want as long as its the default.

    @JMI – I won’t pretend I’ve spent any more than the most cursory moments glancing at what you’ve recommended here. But it looks interesting and I’ve added several of the papers to my Instapaper. thanks for the tips.