The Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) - a leading, global analyst firm focused on the use of contingent workers by businesses - recently released a report on the human cloud.
It's only available to their members.
But since I called them a "leading, global analyst firm" and pitch them again at the end of this article, I'm hoping they'll be OK with me "borrowing" a bit from their report.
They define the human cloud as:
An emerging set of work intermediation models that enable work arrangements of various kinds to be established and completed (including payment of workers) entirely through a digital/online platform. In many cases (though not always), the platform also supports “the enactment and management” of the work (to a lesser or greater degree).
Job boards (like Monster) and social networks (like LinkedIn) do not fall within our definition of human cloud; while those two types of talent exchange platforms may support the sourcing and recruiting part of work arrangements being established, such platforms do not further enable or support work arrangements through to their completion (including payment of workers, tax filings, etc.).
The go on to identify three types of Human Cloud platform models: “crowdsourcing,” “online services” and “online staffing.” The SIA chart below illustrates these.
SIA stresses that these categories are not mutually exclusive and many companies blend their business model and services across the categories.
SIA estimates the total revenue for the Human Cloud industry in 2014 to be between $8.9 - $11.1 billion.
This is transaction value, meaning the gross revenue generated. The companies only get to keep the net revenue. For example Uber keeps about 20% (the net revenue) of the gross revenue generated by their drivers. The drivers get the other 80%.
SIA's top 10 Human Cloud companies are (click to enlarge):
Although long and full of big words, we like the SIA's Human Cloud definition and plan on using it in our work.
For more information on this topic, visit SIA's website. They have a wide range of interesting content and much of it is free.