Making games of enterprise software
Gamification is an emerging technique of using gaming techniques to better engage software users
IDG News Service - Thanks to computers and the Internet, everyone is playing games these days.
Teenagers rack up hour after hour on "World of Warcraft," as their parents grow crops on Zynga's "Farmville." All in all, about 83 percent of the people living in the U.S. play a video game at least once during the year, according to a 2009 National Gamers Survey.
At first glance, all this game playing may not seem relevant to the enterprise. Deeper inspection, however, reveals that the mechanisms that guide and score online game playing can be used for much more than the keeping tabs on virtual farms.
In fact, the large social networks are already using people's love of gaming to keep users returning. Foursquare has amassed 20 million users who enjoy checking in at various locations, winning coupons and recognition for doing so. Social networks know that, when embedded in software or services, gaming techniques can help motivate users, keep customers loyal, and provide a wealth of data that can be used to analyze and improve operations.
Games have distinct characteristics. They have set goals for their players, as well as rules that specify how to reach these goals. And, perhaps most importantly, they have feedback systems to let the players know how well they doing. Gamification is the process of applying these game-like feedback systems to online, social or work activities.
With gamification, "you are awarding the behavior you want to see people doing," said Tom Richardson, a managing partner at Deloitte.
Most businesses have been constructed to run as efficiently as possible. But what too many organizations leave out is a way to engage with either their customers or with their employees. Gamification addresses this shortcoming by using techniques from online games to motivate and guide people in business environments, said Michael Hugos, author of the book "Enterprise Games: Using Game Mechanics to Build a Better Business," published by O'Reilly Media.
At first glance, a manager may not see the point of adding game controls to enterprise software that is already being used by employees. The employees are paid to use the software, after all.
But money is not the only motivator for people. Think of how interesting a football match would be if no one kept score, nor kept any statistics on the players or teams. Gamification can make a routine business process more enjoyable for both customers and employees, thereby making it more them more likely to interact with your organization.
"People like to play games. That is the way we humans are wired up," Hugos said.
Game-like elements in an enterprise application can take several forms. Levels, or progress bars, allow players to collect points by completing a series of individual tasks. Users can earn badges for completing tasks. An organization can set up a leaderboard, or even facilitate direct interaction between two users, to engender competition in a game of some sort. Or, an organization could award some form of virtual currency, which could be redeemed for gifts, or even real currency.
- Seattle Children's Accelerates Citrix Login Times by 500% with Cross-Tier Insight Seattle Children's is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. With ExtraHop, the IT team at Seattle Children's...
- Data Protection eGuide In this eGuide, CSO and sister publications IDG News Service, Computerworld, and CIO pull together news, trend, and how-to articles about the increasingly...
Best Practices in Enterprise Data Governance
This paper explores the challenges organizations have today in implementing a data
governance program via an actual business case. It highlights SAS technology that
- 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Launching Your DG Program From failing to define data governance, to premature launch, or expecting too much from a sponsor, this white paper explains ten common mistakes...
- The Key to Happiness: Throw out Your Data Warehouse In this webinar, Kerry Reitnauer, Director, Solution Architect at FairPoint Communications will discuss the challenges the data warehouse brought, how they migrated to...
- Building Tomorrow's Data Center with Converged Technologies A number of forces are converging: the cloud, converged infrastructure, big data and fabric architectures to name a few. All Data Center White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!