We have all heard about the computer cloud. And of course most of us use it on a daily basis to store data, run software applications, and work collaboratively. Use of a computer cloud means that an individual computer user can have a machine that is very lean in terms of its hardware capabilities, because the user can now access resources on demand from the cloud, at a pay-per-use kind of model. This creates efficiency at all levels: the individual user can have lean hardware; business and companies can work with limited IT infrastructure; and large cloud service providers can offer best-of-cloud solutions, built at scale, at a very nominal. Covid has now created an opportunity for another kind of cloud-economy: The Human Cloud
Covid has taught us that to run a business or to get work done, it is no longer necessary for everyone in the work-chain to be sitting in one office or at one physical location. Team members, sitting at different physical locations, can collaborate using tools and processes, and deliver an outcome quite similar to the one, if they were all sitting together. And this seems to be across all kinds of business processes that get delivered via an office set-up. If that is true, then it is obviously no longer necessary to hire talent for a “physical location”. One can hire talent from anywhere in the country (or the world) and these physically dispersed teams can perform the business function. Similarly, for an employee, it is no longer necessary to find an employer that is within commute distance of his home. The entire world is now his job market.
In this new labour-economy where physical locations are irrelevant, the only thing that will matter will be a person’s ability, and what does one expect to be compensated for that ability. This is the new “Human Cloud”. Think of this cloud as a vast talent pool, and companies are able to plug into this pool, pretty much on-demand and draw out absolutely relevant talent for the right price. The person providing the service gets market value for his abilities, no longer constrained with physical geography.
Some of the implications of this Human Cloud are:
Over the years, we have seen business process outsourcing move from high cost western countries to low cost Asian countries. We will now see the same phenomena happening, say within a country like India. Work will move from places like Mumbai and Delhi, to relatively low-cost towns and cities. This will bring in employment opportunities and prosperity to these towns and cities.
Companies will start working with a ‘lean staffing’ model. Since there is now talent available on demand due to the Human cloud, companies will hire only key resources on their payroll. And for all other tasks hire people on-demand as per business needs and requirements, from the cloud. And once the job is done, let go of these resources, thereby reducing the need for benches and bringing greater business efficiency.
Finally, the world becomes one large integrated job market. Just like when you put data on a cloud, you don’t really care about the physical location of the cloud, similarly when you hire people, geographical and national boundaries will also become irrelevant.
In summation, the Human Cloud will remove locational-constraints, thereby benefiting both employers and job-seekers. Job seekers will get better remuneration for their abilities. And employers will get access to a much wider and vaster talent pool.