Received a newsletter from MEGA, an enterprise architecture tools product company, today. The newsletter emphasized a lot on Gamification. Gamification means applying the mechanics of game to nongame activities to change people's behavior. Of late, its turning to be a powerful strategy for influencing and motivating groups of people. Analyst firm Gartner has been publishing a lots of positive views on this trend. It predicts that by 2016, nearly 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application. By 2016, $2.8 billion will be spent on “gamification” development in the enterprise. MEGA predicts that introducing Gaming concepts in Enterprise Architecture activities can lead to quality content contribution from the entire company.
One of the biggest influencers of Enterprise Applications in the last decade has been the collaboration features. Look at any of the multinational corporations, you will have minimum hundreds of Microsoft Sharepoint Websites, if not Thousands. Next to Outlook/Microsoft Office, Employees are used to lists, discussion forums, document repositories, and quite bit of Web 2.0 flavors -participation/commenting/rating/reviews. These collaboration features have also made inroads into business applications in scenarios such as B2C, B2B, B2E Portal solutions.
Its not just the technical ease at which these Sharepoint sites can be rolled-out alone contributes to massive proliferation, the fact that most of the business processes today are built around unstructured processes and unstructured artifacts also contributes to the adoption.
I believe the next biggest opportunity for Horizontal Portal products is to provide out-of-the-box support to introduce Gaming Mechanics and Dynamics to Collaboration Features. Similar to the way we incorporate workflow features to stitch diversified set of tasks and people to a common process, it should be possible in future to add gaming mechanics to any business process / workflows. Gaming mechanics are the various actions, behaviors and control mechanisms that are used to "gamify" an activity to create an engaging user experience. Gaming Dynamics are the desires and motivations that contribute to the mechanics. The mechanics include Points, levels, Challenges, Virtual Goods (e.g. virtual currencies). The dynamics include Rewards, status, Competition, etc.
While the idea of 'Gamification' is exciting, the use cases for applying Gamification concepts within enterprise applications should be carefully selected. The unstructured processes (like Innovation/ Ideation/ Brainstorming processes in a new product/service creation lifecycle) could be great candidates. In addition, the 'semi-boredom' activities within the company where people are not really motivated to do a good job since the nature of the job is so routine, can also be considered for Gamification.
Here is an interesting case study 'Idea Street' - Gaming mechnics applied to idea generation/development process - from UK Government.
Selecting the right use case, applying the right Gaming mechanics, Incorporating rich user interfaces - all in tandem can contribute to compelling & engaging user experiences. Engaged & Participating stakeholders in an enterprise's ecosystem can help to achieve a variety of business goals.