The Wisdom of Corporate Crowds

Michael Vizard

There's a lot of relevant information flowing through any organization that never really surfaces in a timely or relevant way. But a new approach that leverages the concept of "crowdsourcing " on the Web is now being applied within the walls of the enterprise.

SAP announced at its SAP GRC Insider Conference in Orlando that it is partnering with Crowdcast, a provider of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application that makes a game of asking employees what they think of the probability of certain events, such as whether a product will ship on time or if a new competitor will enter a certain market segment by a certain period of time.

According to Crowdcast CEO Mat Fogarty, this approach makes it easier for senior managers to identify potential risks to the business while also marshalling the collective intelligence of the employees. In addition, the Crowdcast application has the potential to boost employee morale while applying a bottom-up approach to managing corporate risk, added Ranga Bodla, SAP senior director for enterprise performance and governance, risk and compliance. That's because employees are given points that they use to wager on certain outcomes, which provides some incentive to contribute their knowledge to the crowdsourcing initiative.



At the moment, SAP has no plans to integrate its applications directly with Crowdcast, but the company's is highlighting Crowdcast on its EcoHub portal of third-party applications.

It remains to be seen whether crowdsourcing works as a tool within the enterprise as well as it seems to work on the Web for judging consumer sentiment. But given the usual gulf between the views of employees who deal with customers every day and senior management teams that spend their time looking at spreadsheets, chances are crowdsourcing might provide some interesting revelations.

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