Crowdsource Your Data!

Three Benefits of Putting People in Charge of Their Own Data

Most new users of PureCloud start setting up their account by filling out their own profile. Data includes education, skills, certifications, interests, workplace location and more. All of that profile data becomes part of your company database of searchable terms to help coworkers connect with each other

Out of the box, PureCloud lets each person control the information on their own profile page except for a handful of fields like name, email and department. You can adjust permissions to restrict editing access if you want, but I’m here to tell you why you should let users control their own data.


1. Promote Trust within the Organization

Giving people control of their own information gives them a sense of empowerment, a feeling that they can provide something of benefit to the company and that they’re trusted with this responsibility.

The more empowered people feel, the more likely they’ll put in even more good data. Diverse tagging allows for more useful search results and drives further tag entry when users see coworkers show up with new and interesting skills.

This is called a “virtuous circle” in user experience: behavior is rewarded in multiple ways – more good behavior results and people see leveraged benefits (network economics) – a positive spiral.


2. Getting More Data = Getting Better Data

Some managers have hard-learned concerns about noisy data — information with variations or information that isn’t core to work tasks. This is a real concern with traditional data systems and limited resources, but modern cloud-based systems can handle “long-tail” data easily. Big data analysis ‘stems’ automatically, so for a search there is no difference between verb forms, plurals and common abbreviations.

Also, research in crowdsourcing behavior shows that when you allow people to easily add data from their own perspective, they will enter much more interesting and complete information. Imagine the difference between a locked skills tagging system where a user may not find the first few tags they attempt to add and then quickly give up — compared with an open system where a user can easily create new tags while tags from other users are suggested, all in the same field.

Human behavior has a lot of variation, but we have many more similarities. If you let a group of people add whatever tags they want, you end up with a bell curve of data.

Crowdsource Your Data - access curveIn the center you have a rich amount of useful data like specialties, educational emphasis, certifications and more that are shared by many people. In the thinner tails of the curve, you’ll have some unusual data. Maybe someone adds a skill tag for making pistachio ice cream and it’s unlikely anyone is going to search for it.

But while that user was creating a tag for ice cream, they probably also added several other tags that are useful, and far more skills listed than they would’ve entered otherwise. Since storage is cheap, it doesn’t hurt anything to let making pistachio ice cream be in a list of tags in exchange for more and better data we can search.

PureCloud reinforces center bell curve behavior by letting your employees easily create their own skills tags and then tracking what people in your organization search for the most. We suggest popular searches when typing in keywords, so tags like making pistachio ice cream cause no interference when no one is searching for it.

Since storage is cheap, it doesn’t hurt anything to let
making pistachio ice cream” be in a list of tags
in exchange for more and better data you can search.

On the other hand, maybe you have a great new product idea in your company for an ice cream delivery service — and then that outlier tag for making pistachio ice cream might be very interesting!


3. Leave the Data Updating to the Experts: Your People

Employees are more concerned about the accuracy of their data than their employers, and no one is more qualified to make those updates than they are. No one knows where Helen lives better than Helen does, and when she moves she wants HR to have the latest information so that her W-2 form goes to the right house.

Similarly, no one knows more about creating tags for accounting expertise than the accountants who possess that expertise. Accountants know their terminology and how other accountants will search for it, so it makes sense to let them create search targets for people looking to collaborate.

By allowing employees to edit their information in a company system, you put the responsibility of updating their data on employees instead of HR and IT. Those departments are too often serving as relay points for other people’s data, creating an unnecessary step and expanding the margin for error (and they’d rather be doing something more interesting than making those updates anyway).



You can get more out of PureCloud by letting people be in charge of their own data because:

  • People feel trusted to contribute something that benefits everyone they work with.
  • You end up with a rich store of content specific to your organization.
  • Information is always coming straight from the source with no intermediaries required.


Interactive Intelligence PureCloudSM is our latest microservice-based customer engagement cloud platform, a subscription-based scalable system that also helps the rest of your business stay in touch through a rich corporate directory, ‘big data’ search, ad hoc and rules-based groups, chat, video chat, and document sharing features.

Randolph Carter

Randolph Carter

An industrial designer gone bad from years of UX architecture wrangling, Randy Carter is senior marketing content architect for Interactive Intelligence. He never stops thinking about how to help customers make their systems more understandable, more polite, and more useful.

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