CWS 3.0: April 17, 2013

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New Online Staffing Services for Enterprises

Online staffing platform oDesk announced new service offerings that will enable enterprises of any size to scale more effectively using its online labor services.

Until recently, most online staffing services typically involved virtual freelancers providing work in the areas of software development, translation and writing, marketing and design, etc. These workers have primarily been utilized by smaller businesses (including many start-ups) or by ad hoc users in larger enterprises (managers and workers who “put down a credit card” to get help with a project, staff augmentation of sorts).

With this step, oDesk is clearly signaling its intent to grow beyond those segments based on new enterprise-targeted service offerings.

“Online work, or talent on demand, will become critical for enterprises in the future,” says oDesk CEO Gary Swart. “Similar to how Salesforce revolutionized CRM, online work is breaking barriers in how companies access talent and build teams. In the Information Age, there is no reason we shouldn’t access the best talent regardless of where it happens to be. Businesses need to get more work done, and workers want the freedom and flexibility that working via the Internet provides.”

In its press release, the company notes: “Most enterprises are just learning of online work as a complement to traditional staffing models.” To help this process, oDesk has two premium tiers of enterprise offerings: one, which is regarded as “unmanaged” (“self-service”), and another which is a “managed services” tier, which will involve a team of oDesk personnel developing, scaling and managing the online/virtual work resources sourced through the oDesk platform.

These new services have been piloted with a number of companies ranging from some fast-growing start-ups to large corporations. Companies on board are reported to include DropBox, OpenTable, Pinterest, AOL, Unilever, NBC and Panasonic among others.

Staffing Industry Analysts recently released a forecast that the global “online staffing” segment will double from about $1 billion in 2012 to a projected $2 billion in 2014. Some of this growth is expected to come from large players like oDesk and Elance introducing services for larger enterprises as well as from newer entrants.

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