Home / Business / A Different Kind of Cloud – The Human Cloud


ServiceLive is at the forefront of Cloud technology, in fact, our service is delivered over the cloud and we connect thousands of people daily. However, I am talking about a different cloud today, the Human Cloud.  The Human Cloud is an emerging market place centered on connecting a pool of virtual workers that can be tapped into on demand to provide a whole array of services and solutions.

The Human Cloud is a natural evolution of outsourcing activities offshore, but is much more significant and powerful.  The Human Cloud will reshape established business practices, reshape organizational structures, and profoundly change economic labor models.  The Human Could incorporates outsourcing, crowdsourcing, microsourcing, and marketplaces into an integrated and seamless connection between people and technology.

Much has been written in recent years about the developing cloud platform and business models, but most have missed the point.  They all focus on the features of the providers and lump them into categories like Governor, Aggregator, Arbitrator, or Facilitator models.  The poster child’s for this movement are certainly innovative and growing companies like: oDesk, Elance, crowdSPRING, Freelancer, TopCoder, MTurk, and even ServiceLive.

Where the academia’s miss the real point is quite simple, it is the very connection itself, not the tools that will drive the adoption.  There are really Three types of models evolving in the field:

1) Throw it Over the Fence – Here the buyer of the service just wants a result.  They are not interested in getting reports, reviewing milestones, participating in hack a thons, etc.  They have a requirement and they want that requirement met or exceeded.  Plain and simple.

2) Platform – Here the buyer wants access to the Human Could and wants the platform to provide all the needed tools to conceptualize, develop requirements, architect, initiate, procure, manage, test, deploy, and pay.

3) Hybrid – Here the buyer wants to augment their existing work force for a particular reason.  It could be load management, a required skill, seasonal demand, or what have you.  They may bring their own network, their own platforms, etc., but they want to tap the power of the Human Cloud for pieces of their model when they choose.

Why is it important to make these distinctions, It is important because this lack of focus on the ecosystem participants has been a big reason the slow adoption of the Human Cloud with Fortune 500 Companies.  There are still a few big fears; 1) Will there be someone there when I really need them? 2) Will timelines be met with quality deliverables? 3) Will my intellectual property be protected?

As a result, many large organizations enter the Human Cloud for only small non critical projects.  As the Human Cloud evolves over the next few years you will see these barriers and obstacles be eliminated or greatly reduced.  Of course, large buyers always seem to have a bias for large suppliers.  The old adage……  “Nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM” still rings true in corporate America today.  With that said, I believe the Human Cloud is dependent and will thrive because the small providers collapsing the long neglected long tail of sourcing globally.  The Human Cloud will change the business landscape every bit as much as the computing cloud has changed technology.  At ServiceLive, we have focused on making connections in the services marketplace.  We believe the key to success in the Human Cloud is eliminating complexity, creating transparency and alignment, and obsessing over your customers.  We continue to drive change and innovation and are very excited at the level of transformation we are bringing to the market.

Dennis Stemmle, President – ServiceLive

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About the author: Dennis Stemmle



  1. Based on MIT Sloan Management Review article, “Managing the Human Cloud” by Evgeny Kaganer, Erran Carmel, Rudy Hirschheim and Timothy Olsen, the human cloud is growing rapidly. Year-over-year growth in the global revenue of human cloud platforms was 53% for 2010 and 74% for 2011. The number of platforms and middlemen has also skyrocketed. Using a narrow definition, there are more than 100 active platforms in 2012, up from perhaps 40 in 2011.

  2. ServiceLive is a great example of how technology can work for you… maximum exposure with minimal effort.

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