Crowd Sourcing is an interesting pattern that has emerged in the age of ubiquitous internet. While our typical organizational paradigms lead to centralization of responsibilities, crowd sourcing throws open a whole variety of responsibilities to the crowd. I ran into an interesting example of crowd sourcing as I was trying to browse LinkedIn for some news, catching up on my connections etc. I was constantly getting errors loading any page on LinkedIn and I was not sure where the issue was: my computer, my network connection or LinkedIn servers? Even the home page of LinkedIn was not loading, and I was not aware of any place else to go to check if LinkedIn is having problems. And as we are increasingly used to doing in such circumstances I turned to all-knowing Google and simply keyed in Is LinkedIn Down Now? One of the first pages that was thrown up was a site called downrightnow.com … I clicked through and found this nifty site described succinctly by the site creators: “downrightnow monitors the status of your favorite web services, combining user reports and official announcements to tell you when there’s service trouble. You can help! File a report here or on Twitter to let others know when you’ve encountered a bug or outage.”
I could see that LinkedIn was indeed facing problems. I decided to add my own voice to the crowd by clicking the Report an Issue button, and was presented with a simple pop-up. A great example of using Crowd Sourcing and basic Analytics to create a valuable service.
So, here is the question for folks @ Enterprise IT. We have extensive service monitoring set up, and quite often catch issues before users get them. Does it make sense for you to combine your proactive monitoring with empowering tools for the users when the tools fail, or users want to report on issues that the tools currently don’t cover? What are your experiences. Please go ahead and share in the comments box below.