May 4, 2018

Understanding Cloud Labor

[6 Minute Read] 

Technology has transformed the way we do business. People have grown accustomed to, and now expect, flexibility, remote work, instantaneous responses, easily accessible information, and more. All things that weren’t possible till just a few years ago.

To accommodate and facilitate these changes companies are transitioning to the cloud, for the sole reason that you must if you want to keep up. People want to be able to access everything they need from wherever they are. So we rely on programs like Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox which make that possible.

If we communicate through the cloud and access information through the cloud, wouldn’t it make sense to work through the cloud? Cloud labor is the future. It’s an inevitable transition that we can’t (and shouldn’t) resist because it is ultimately a better and more efficient use of your time, effort, and money.

Now when we say cloud labor we’re not talking about sending work overseas or hiring a team of all remote employees. We’re talking about creating a curated network of talent. Nick Heinzmann said it best when he described cloud labor as “a tool that organizes a group of people in one system that can facilitate worker engagement, payment, reporting, dispatching, and more.” 

Cloud labor is often forgotten or dismissed because people think it’s unreliable or inconsistent. Just like the digital cloud though, as long as it’s managed and regulated the outcomes can be incredible. A properly developed cloud labor network will have talent that is higher quality, more convenient, more dependable, and more cost effective. Let’s look at it in more detail.    

High Quality

If you’re going to hire a full-time staff and expect them to come into an office every day you are immediately limiting your potential quality. Why? The best talent might not live close by. Industry experts may have no need for full-time jobs at your organization. Once employed, continuing education is generally either on your dime or it’s non-existent. The list goes on.

Now, there’s a need for an office with full-time employees, part of that need will never go away, but many of the tasks and work that you do doesn’t need to be completed by W2 employees in an office. Contrary to popular belief, being a W2 employee doesn’t indicate superior quality, it merely indicates a tax status.

Click here to see our W2 vs 1099 infographic and learn more about the differences.

With cloud labor, you can actually hire better qualified individuals who will produce higher quality results. When assembling your labor cloud you will screen and vet so that you only select and work with those who meet your criteria and standards. You don't just use them once though, you retain their information and build a network with it. Then, when your criteria vary depending on the job you have an entire pool of pre-approved workers to draw from.

For example, at ASD we occasionally need technicians on a site who are familiar with very old or very new technology. It would be near impossible to have an internal staff that was versed in both. It would also take forever to find a subcontractor, negotiate a rate, screen for licensing requirements, etc. So instead, we turn to our cloud labor AASDI network of licensed and pre-approved installers. From there we're able to select a technician who is already familiar with the unique technologies and get him onsite quickly. Cloud labor gives us access to high quality workers so we can produce high quality results for our clients.



What’s one of the top reasons we love the cloud? It’s convenient. We’re able to pick up exactly where we left off when we’re anywhere in the world. We have access to everything we need at our fingertips. With that kind of power, we're able to accomplish tasks more efficiently than ever before.

Cloud labor can produce the same effects. By developing a large, qualified, network you can have high quality workers anytime, anywhere. This means if you’re on the East Coast and a client on the West Coast wants someone to walk a site you don’t have to put a body on a plane to get a project started. You can tap into your cloud labor network and get someone on site much quicker. 

In construction, work happens in phases so this is especially important. You may need someone to work for two days, then a month could go by before you need them again. If you had to send a full-time employee out you’d want to be “one and done” on your trip. So you’d either have to deal with the coordination headache of sending someone out twice or you’d inconvenience others by trying to get all the work done in one go.


The reason some people are still resisting the switch to the cloud is because they doubt the dependability of it. This will most likely be the biggest hesitation when it comes to cloud labor too. However, by getting the right management and quality assurance practices in place you can ensure that your network is dependable.

This means you can’t hire just anyone. As mentioned before, you must screen and vet your network. They need to have proper licensing, certifications, experience, etc. It’s up to you to determine the relevant and necessary qualifications. After the initial screening, you need to have an ongoing review and reporting process in place. This is a way to measure how well the job was done, not just that it was completed. 

There must also be a management component. This part you’re already familiar with, someone on your team must hold them accountable, submit the reports, and fix the issues as they arise. Just as you would have if they were an internal employee.

This combination of screening, reporting, and managing will ensure that your cloud labor network is dependable and reliable.    

Cost Effective 

At the end of the day, all decisions boil down to one thing: cost. As a business you’re always looking to reduce expenses and make your money go further. Cloud labor will help you accomplish that.

Cloud labor reduces your overhead costs. You won’t have to offer insurance plans, 401(k)s, or stock options. You also won’t have to pay for training, tools, or travel expenses. As you can see, those expenses quickly add up. The opposite is true as well, those savings will quickly add up! Your overhead costs will drastically reduce which in turn improves your bottom line. This saves you and your clients money.    

Incorporating and utilizing cloud labor just makes sense. That’s why Deloitte research found that 66% of companies believe their use of off-balance sheet talent will grow significantly in the next 3-5 years. It’s time to accept a new type of labor in your organization, the sooner you do, the sooner you can reap the benefits. 

Businesses Switching to cloud labor statistic

At ASD we rely on our network of Authorized ASD Installers (or AASDIs) and our project managers to get the job done right. This combination allows us to deliver superior results at a fair market price every time. Click here to learn more about our AASDI program.

About the author 

Abe Fleming

Abe Fleming is the Director of Sales & Marketing at Automated Systems Design, Inc. He a results-oriented business development and technical sales leader with over a decade of progressive experience developing and managing sales teams.

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