Should you crowdsource your data processing work?

Crowdsourcing has been cited as the “next big thing” for everything from solving crimes to ensuring the safety of driverless cars. But for those stuck in people-centric back office enterprise challenges [think: application processing or claims management], the question of whether or not to crowdsource complex data processing tasks remains unclear.

Common questions that arise are:

  • How exactly would it work having an anonymous crowd of workers handling our data?
  • How would we protect that data if we don’t know or don’t employ the workers?
  • Do I need to communicate with these crowd contributors?
  • Wouldn’t they need to be trained?
  • We already have document or business process management systems and software like OpenText, ABBYY, ITESOFT, Paradatec, Hyland, IBM or Kofax. How would crowdsourcing be different? Why would we need it?

However, the benefits of data processing via crowdsourcing are clear: companies gain access to the data they need and are able to utilize that data more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Crowdsourcing can provide pretty much instant access for today’s fast-paced environment.

Common business scenarios that have a need for speed

The 24/7 nature of the global marketplace often leaves companies scrambling to respond to things like:

  • changes in business or business processes (which necessitates immediate access to actionable, accurate data to respond strategically and remain agile);
  • a need to cut costs for repetitive tasks like data entry or data verification;
  • business continuity during unexpected man-made or natural disasters;
  • limitations of OCR, particularly in scenarios where data accuracy is a compliance concern or when there is a large volume of handwritten content; or
  • execution of one-off projects with high data entry or verification requirements, where huge (possibly unexpected) volume spikes or seasonal processing means retaining and training temporary personnel (sometimes at the last minute).

Often, these challenges are not unique to one industry or business process. Access to data is key for decision making, but often hard to get due to lags between when the data arrives to the organization and when it is available to be used. Recent research from MicroStrategy’s The 2020 Global State of Enterprise Analytics indicates that when data is needed to make a business decision, only 3% are able to do it in a matter of seconds. For 60% of those surveyed, it takes hours—if not days.

Quick access to data is not the only item of importance, as the accuracy of available data is critical to ensuring decisions and analysis are based in fact, or preventing automated processes from being slowed down by matching errors. When incorrect information enters an organization, conclusions and outcomes are then skewed, for better or worse.

Checklist: Is crowdsourcing right for your organization?

Perhaps your organization is experiencing this too. Here’s a checklist to help identify whether your particular business challenge is a good candidate for crowdsourcing. Are any of these statements familiar?

  • Our data capture solution struggles to capture all the data we need accurately.
  • We often experience high processing peaks (either ad hoc or seasonally).
  • We are experiencing RPA project failures due to a lack of valid business data.
  • We have a lot of data quality issues that impact business process automation, process flows and compliance.
  • Our OCR or data capture solution isn’t giving us the automation rates we were expecting.
  • Our organization deals with highly sensitive information, and we worry about data privacy when gathering information.
  • Handwritten documents (forms, communications or otherwise) come to our organization in large volumes, and we need to immediately get critical information from those documents.
  • Our business continuity plan doesn’t adequately accommodate shutdowns (governmental, disaster-related or otherwise).

How does our crowdsourcing solution address these data processing issues?

ScaleHub’s crowdsourcing solutions address business process automation and workforce challenges alike. Our instantly scalable, on-demand workforce harnesses the power of 2.3 million smart, global crowd contributors on a 24/7 schedule. Accuracy down to the individual data character level is built into the platform via helpful descriptions and comparative algorithms, offering quality assurance beyond that of traditional data capture and RPA tools. Allowing data to be verified down to the individual character means data privacy can also be ensured, and doesn’t allow any one contributor access to a full set of sensitive information.

Our special sauce is combining traditional data capture with crowd contributors in a win-win fashion, meaning we ensure crowd contributors receive a fair wage while our customers get reliable information in the shortest amount of time possible.

What types of gains are businesses seeing with crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing success often relies on a few key factors: stable and no-lag-time platform infrastructure, clearly defined goals, and ethical work practices for all involved. Customers who have trusted ScaleHub’s proven solutions have seen results such as:

  • 30-50% YOY savings
  • Data accuracy rates higher than 99.x%
  • Document verification time cut by 85%
  • Data privacy mitigation and compliance
  • Customer satisfaction gains, leading to revenue growth and increased profitability
  • Reduced risk with added layer of business continuity protection

Learn more about ScaleHub’s crowdsourcing approach

If you ticked any of the boxes on our checklist above, we encourage you to reach out to us for help. Or take a peek here at how ScaleHub customer Community Brands leveraged the platform to solve its application data capture and document verification processing challenges.

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