Whether you’re a small startup or a Fortune 500 company, you want quality and predictability from the designers and developers you enlist to create mobile apps, websites and software for your business. Of course, finding those professionals can be time-consuming, and projects don’t always go as planned—leading to delays and bigger-than-budgeted invoices. Unless, that is, you use Topcoder to crowdsource solutions to your technology needs.
RewardExpert spoke with Mike Morris, CEO of Topcoder, about how the growing global community of design, development, and data science experts is delivering affordable digital solutions fast.
Making it Easy to Identify Top Tech Talent
Morris explained that Topcoder was founded in 2001 to make it easier for businesses to identify top technology talent around the world as well as for design and development professionals to showcase their skills in a competitive community environment.
“One of our models for Topcoder was the International Chess Foundation,” Morris said. “It’s basically a worldwide community of people that play chess and are enthusiasts of chess.” Topcoder rates designers and developers in much the same way the International Chess Foundation rates its chess players.
“It’s an indicator of how good they are versus their peers,” Morris continued. “Our community grew to about 10,000 people in the first year and we now have over 1.4 million members.”
Self-Serve and Enterprise Options
Morris said that Topcoder’s customer base falls into several general categories including small businesses, large enterprises and government organizations. “We work with a number of branches within the U.S. government,” he added.
Customers usually come to Topcoder because they need designers and developers to create a website, mobile application or other software. Getting started is as simple as entering the requirements for your project into the Topcoder platform.
“Once you’ve defined your project, you’ll get engaged directly with a copilot from the Topcoder community,” Morris explained. “The copilot is a cross between a project manager and a guide.” Your Topcoder copilot will walk you through the project from getting quotes on delivery prices through project completion. You’ll be able to track your project’s progress on your Topcoder dashboard, and the platform will even send you email notifications when milestones are reached or additional action is required.
Topcoder also offers a subscription—or enterprise—solution. “It’s basically the same delivery model but it’s packaged with consulting,” Morris added. “Topcoder is owned by a company called Wipro, which is a large technology consultancy. Wipro can bring on consulting teams including traditional onsite project managers, business analysts, deployment engineers and integrators.”
The enterprise solution allows organizations to enjoy a “white glove” development experience in which they simply hand the project over to Topcoder’s consulting and project teams and then wait for it to be completed and delivered.
Save Time and Money
Morris said that running design and development projects through Topcoder yields economic benefits that businesses would not get from working with individual freelancers.
“Topcoder is an outcomes-based model,” he explained. “Most freelance models require you to pay an hourly, salary or project rate. You’re typically paying for the effort that goes into the project. With Topcoder, you only pay for completed outcomes, and then only if it meets the requirements and is accepted. There’s no payment for something that’s half-done.”
Because Topcoder is a crowdsourcing platform, multiple developers or designers might engage with your project. However, you’ll only pay the one who has created the outcome you select.
“Topcoder will also compensate the second and third place submitters,” Morris noted. “We make sure that we treat the community fairly. But it does require that they satisfy all the requirements and pass the review and screening criteria before they’re eligible for any sort of prize payment.”
Morris added that Topcoder projects are completed more quickly than projects outsourced to individual freelancers.
“When you have access to an on-demand network for resources that are ready to work, you can get things done a lot faster because you don’t have that traditional overhead of having to staff up resources, train them, onboard them, all which could take months,” Morris said. “In the virtual on-demand model, all of this can be done in minutes.”
Exciting Future Possibilities
Morris said that companies using Topcoder and the professionals who comprise the community can all look forward to new developments this year.