Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu has introduced Deloitte Pixel, a new service that leverages “crowdsourcing” technology to allow outside people to help the firm develop new services and projects for Deloitte and its clients.

Deloitte Pixel will enable Deloitte teams and clients around the world to access difficult-to-find expertise in specific areas. They can collaborate to develop new products or ideas, and design, build and test new assets and technology for the firm and its clients.

“This is something we’ve been working on for about three years,” Deloitte Global Consulting CEO Jim Moffatt told Accounting Today. “It’s a business platform we’ve created that works across all varieties of projects. Part of the reason why we waited as long as we did to release it is we wanted to get enough real-world experiences on a variety of project types. We can use this for high-end strategy projects. We can use it as part of larger transformation efforts with technology implications. We started this centered around our consulting and advisory business, but we also see it having broad applicability across all of our businesses.”

While Deloitte initially created Pixel for client projects, it is now being used for internal projects at the firm as well. Crowdsourcing can be useful for projects such as testing marketing strategy and computer coding.

“We’ve done some high-end work in market entry strategy efforts,” said Moffatt. “There’s actually some pretty significant crowdsourcing capability to get real-world perspectives on different markets or micro markets. There are also elements of large transformations. There could be some significant coding elements that can be parceled off and, if tightly managed, lend themselves directly to that. There are also some high-level analytical projects where access to a crowd data scientist for one specific algorithm or aspect is possible. We’ve done some things on the creative side to get different ideas around creative aspects of positioning a different piece of the client. If you think about the variety of crowds that are out there and what can be cultivated, there’s a multitude of uses.”

Deloitte is working with a number of other crowdsourcing vendors on Pixel, including Topcoder, 10EQS, Wikistrat and InCrowd. But Moffatt sees Deloitte helping bring some maturity to the crowdsourcing space.

“One of the issues around this is that it’s been a bit of the Wild, Wild West,” said Moffatt. “You want to go do it, but when you do it, you really don’t know which crowd to cultivate. You don’t know which part of the project is best suited to it, and it’s really hard for companies on their own, if they’re doing one or two projects a year, to get that kind of experience. You think about a partner like us, given the variety and number of things we do, it really gives us an opportunity to leverage the platform holistically and bring it to maturity much faster.”

Deloitte sees a great deal of potential in crowdsourcing. “This is something that we started focusing on about five or six years ago in the context of what we saw happening more broadly around disruption and some of the emerging exponential technology implications around business and business models, including our own,” said Moffatt. “As part of that trend, we really started to tap into different ecosystems and fundamentally believe this is an evolution in the marketplace that’s going to accelerate over time. We passionately believe for our clients as well as ourselves that this is something that we needed to get out in front of. That’s what really drove it.”

Crowdsourcing could also have major implications on the recruitment side for Deloitte. “We’re in the talent business,” said Moffatt. “You think about the evolution of the demographics. Seventy-five percent of our employees today are Millennials, and in parts of our practice 90 percent are Millennials. How the Millennials engage, how they think about their careers, the type of thing they want to do, is very different, and there’s a natural overlay to that and to the evolution of this, to open talent models and other ways in which you deliver projects. There’s a broader framing and trend here. We thought it was critically important to lead in this, both for how we serve our clients and also how we evolve our business. It has tremendous implications for our talent models and our long-term thinking about talent going forward.”

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