In the world of risk management, it’s all about probability. But often, it takes considerable time to get an answer to important questions. But as of late, risk management is seeing a transformation, in most part fueled by the advent of real-time communication.

The most recent example comes from Crowdcast, which has entered into a partnership with SAP’s risk management group.

Crowdcast is a service that provides real-time capabilities for understanding the collective intelligence of an organization. At first look, the service seems a bit gimmicky. To get answers to questions, a group inside the enterprise is targeted with specific questions. The respondents then give their answers, placing bets on what they view as the probable outcome. But the betting forces the respondents to look at an issue, apply logic to the issue, judge the different factors and make a decision.

For example, as Crowdcast points out, let’s say that SAP’s Governance and Risk Compliance group is working with a pharmaceutical company. The pharmaceutical company faces a delay in a drug launch. The drug is highly anticipated in the market and any delay can be costly. It’s calculated that it costs $10,000 for every minute the drug is late to the market.

Managers need to make decisions but any misjudgments will be costly. Now is the time to go to the community and ask for answers. The community is given “play money,” to make a bet about the drug’s launch. If the respondent is accurate in their bet then they receive more play money.

The chief risk officer gets access to the bets that people make. Using that data, the risk officer may conclude that 70 percent of the respondents believe the product will be two weeks late to market.

Crowdcast is one of a number of crowdsourcing services that have entered the market. Two in particular come to mind:

Jive Software recenty launched what it calls “Ideation,” (a perfectly awful product name) that allows employees to offer ideas across different groups, allowing people to comment and collaborate. Ideas may be voted up or down, filtered or scored. Like Crowdcast, the service has a rewards component.

Smartsheet provides a way to use wikis and spreadsheets for crowdsourcing information from services like Mechanical Turk and Live Works. Smartsheet integrates with Google Apps. Clients can work from Google Apps to crowdsource information through Smartsheet.

Crowdsourcing makes sense in our social world. Decisions no longer need to be only made by a few. The tools are there to filter out the wisdom of the crowds.