Crowdcast Brings Gaming to Business Intelligence
Size matters--when it comes to business intelligence. The larger the company, the more complicated it can be to harvest the right knowledge from the right people. Crowdsourcing is the obvious answer here, but if you're bored with the usual approach, a solution called Crowdcast aims to shake things up with a gambling-flavored twist. 

Placing Bets on Social BI

Crowdcast is a mixture of business and pleasure. The solution was dreamed up and brought to life by the company's CEO, Mat Fogarty, who in a previous life worked in the financial planning sector at -- surprise, surprise! -- Electronic Arts.

Fogarty's history of finding difficulty in retrieving accurate information about projects lead him to develop a solution that utilizes a wagering system to surface the most relevant information. Basically, the tool enables users to bet on what they perceive as the most probable outcome.

Let's say, for example, that you're under pressure to report when your product will ship. Crowdsource enables you to pose this question directly to your organization:


Naturally, each department will be privy to different information that could affect a product launch, so the tool gives users the option to reflect how confident they are in their estimates by giving them virtual money with which to bet:


All bets are aggregated into a graph called a Crowdcast. These graphs can not only narrow down dates, but also act as early warnings for potential problems.

Moreover, ff a user's guess is the closest to the final result, they hit the virtual jackpot. Over time, if their predictions are the most accurate, they get a prominent place on an internal leaderboard.

Check out this nifty video to see the solution in action:



Enterprise Gaming

Fortunately, virtual money isn't the only kind of currency Crowdcast has going for them. Last week the company raised US$ 6 million from Menlo Ventures, and is receiving a follow-up investment from Alsop-Louie Partners as well.

Why the sudden interest in fun having? Lee Sheldon, an assistant professor from Indiana University's department of telecommunications, claims it's simply the result of younger people applying what they've grown up with to the workforce:

“As the gamer generation moves into the mainstream workforce, they are willing and eager to apply the culture and learning techniques they bring with them from games," he said, adding that managers from older generations would do well to figure out how to educate themselves to this culture.

Crowdsourcing solutions are a dime a dozen. Ideation from Jive Software (news, site), for example, also allows employees to score the ideas of their colleagues. Meanwhile, a solution called Smartsheet integrates with Google Apps and utilizes wikis and spreadsheets for crowdsourcing information from services such as Live Works. 

And yet, as abundant as they may be, there's no denying that Fogarty could be onto something. If you're ready to bet on Crowdcast, now certainly seems like a pretty good time.