Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Power of Crowdsourcing

Bio: Ram Rampalli is a hands-on product manager working on large scale data projects for @WalmartLabs and Walmart eCommerce. A true believer in crowdsourcing, Ram has spent the past five years of his career leading and supporting initiatives that use the power of the crowd to help solve problems for consumers and the Walmart eCommerce business. 

Most of us know the saying “many hands make light work,” meaning that the more people who work on something together, the easier and faster it is to complete. This simple saying defines the concept and the appeal of crowdsourcing in today’s digital world.  At a global company like Walmart, tapping into the crowd around the world for online crowdsourcing helps us achieve things more efficiently than we ever thought possible.

What does crowdsourcing at Walmart mean? It means we’re working with people all over the world to help us with tasks like quality evaluation and product data collection. We need this data to help make sure the products on Walmart.com are easy to find and that searches on the site deliver the best results. It also means that tasks that once took weeks to complete are now ready in days. I rely on people all over the world every day to help me solve global business problems like this and more.

You can imagine how having a huge online crowd to help with this is driving all retail companies to work faster and smarter. At Walmart, it is helping us take a localized approach to solving global issues, too, since we can work with crowds all over the world to address needs in specific locations.

Our @WalmartLabs team uses crowdsourcing all the time. The Get on the Shelf program encourages creative minds to submit product ideas, helping the team tap into this audience to uncover the next big items to hit Walmart’s shelves. They rely on crowdsourcing to test enhancements to walmart.com, help classify products correctly and more. These are just a few ways the team uses people across the globe in their everyday work.

Looking ahead, I see crowdsourcing becoming an even bigger part of the work we do @WalmartLabs and in retail. As eCommerce software becomes more complex and global, we will rely even more on the crowd to help us with things like product classification in multiple markets. For instance, we’ll need crowds in Europe to help us find or validate EAN numbers rather than UPC’s that we use in the U.S.  

I believe crowdsourcing is a better way of getting things done. By using the many hands – and knowledge – of the crowd, we can work faster and smarter to benefit customers everywhere. Learn more about crowdsourcing and the other work we do @WalmartLabs on our website.