Gamification for the Enterprise

In my first article on “The new wave of Gamification” I gave an introduction on how gamification can be used to engage customers or employees using game techniques. In this article I’ll highlight in more detail, how gamification can be applied by enterprises to improve their internal solutions and processes. I will discuss applications that use gamification for on-boarding, training as well as general customer engagement.

First of all, gamification isn’t a game that employees can play but rather a set of game mechanics that can be used to encourage certain behaviours. In the enterprise we want to engage and motivate employees in order to achieve business goals. Defining the business goals and understanding the users is therefore key for a successful gamified design.

Typically gamification projects in the enterprise focus on either improving employee performance or encouraging learning to achieve business goals. For both learning and performance improvement, providing training tools and feedback solutions is going to be one of the main focuses of the overall design of the solution. Either way, gamification in the enterprise sets objectives for the employee that are related to corporate goals and a good solution allows employees to see their performance and progress in real-time allowing them to self-correct if necessary.

As we have already seen in the first article, customers engagement is also something businesses can tackle using gamification. In this article I want to discuss three examples of gamification used in the enterprise: on-boarding, training and customer engagement.

On-boarding

On-boarding is a crucial phase for new employees. Big companies usually have on-boarding days, events and meetings where new employees are introduced to, e.g., the company’s mission, products or infrastructure. Since the on-boarding process requires a lot of learning it could benefit from a gamified solution where employees can get a better understanding of their progress in terms of tasks to accomplish and how the company works.

One interesting on-boarding example is the “Discover SAP” project where users are asked to navigate a 3D maze and answer trivia questions in order to learn about SAP products and how customers are using them. By answering the trivia questions correctly, employees get hints on how to traverse the maze and progress to new areas. This approach can be much more engaging to users than reading a long documentation or having to listen to a presentation. The idea of traversing a maze and having to solve trivia question to progress makes the whole experience feel like a game where users can learn at their own pace, receiving immediate performance feedback while doing it.

 

source: https://blogs.sap.com/2011/06/27/oink-oink-welcome-to-the-sap-gamification-cup/

The ‘Discover SAP’ project (source: https://blogs.sap.com/2011/06/27/oink-oink-welcome-to-the-sap-gamification-cup/)

Training

A great example of gamified training is Microsoft’s “Ribbon Hero” where users learned to use the Microsoft Office suite by playing a game. The game featured interactive tasks that taught users how to use programs like Office or Excel while at the same time offering feedback on how they were doing. Examples of the interactive tasks involved having to edit an open document by learning how to change text, add images, create graphs and so on. The application gave a sense of progression by showing how well users were doing, thanks to points and statistics. The game also got a sequel featuring the well known Office assistant “Clippy”. This gamified approach is very different than a classic top-down documentation because it engages users at a deeper level and provides a more tailored learning experience compared to a classic instructions book.

 

ribbon_hero

The ‘Ribbon Hero’ interface (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribbon_Hero)

 

Customers engagement

Gamification in the enterprise can be used to improve the user experience of a corporate website and allow greater user engagement. A great example of this concept is what Samsung did with “Samsung Nation”, a social loyalty program where users can earn points and badges as they engage with the company’s website by, e.g., watching videos, commenting articles or tweeting products. Because users engagement with the website increased noticeably (products reviews increased “hundreds of percent per month“) the whole support and Q&A sections of the company benefited from users helping each other and Samsung being able to better understand their core audience and how they were using the website.

 

source: https://goo.gl/Edz8Tc

The ‘Samsung Nation’ leaderboard (source: https://goo.gl/Edz8Tc)

Conclusion

In this article we have seen some examples of how enterprises have integrated gamification into their business. The general ideas seen above can be applied to a variety of different applications. The way to successfully use those ideas consists of defining the goals of the application, understanding who the users are and then finding which game techniques can best inform the design of the solution. As a result, companies can improve users experience, foster greater engagement and therefore achieve their business goals better.