It’s a bold prediction, but gaming is creeping into business processes just as the social networking phenomenon before it.
Research firm, Gartner, predicts that by 2014, a ‘gamified’ service for consumer goods marketing and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon, and more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organisations will have at least one gamified application.
It also says that by 2015, more than 50 percent of organisations that manage innovation processes, will employ game mechanics to drive those innovations.
The trend has already begun in the UK and US, with the Department of Work and Pensions in the UK using an innovation game called Idea Street to generate ideas from its 120,000 workforce, and the US military using a video-game recruiting tool called ‘America’s Army’.
The World Bank has also sponsored a game called Evoke, which crowdsources ideas from players globally to solve social challenges.
According to Gartner, gamification achieves “higher levels of engagement, changes behaviours and stimulates innovation”. As a result, the opportunities it creates for business range from having more engaged customers, to crowdsourcing innovation or improving employee performance.
The UK’s Idea Street platform, for example, included game mechanics such as points, leader boards and a ‘buzz index’ and within 18 months had appoximately 4500 users and had generated 1,400 ideas, 63 of which went forward to implementation.
There are four principal means of driving engagement using gamification, says Gartner. It increases the velocity of feedback loops to maintain engagement, it provides clear goals and rules of play, it provides a compelling narrative that engages players to participate and achieve the goals of the activity, and provides employees with short-term, challenging, but achievable goals.
Brian Burke, an analyst at the firm said: “Where games traditionally model the real world, organisations must now take the opportunity for their real world to emulate games. Enterprise architects must be ready to contribute to gamification strategy formulation and should try at least one gaming exercise as part of their enterprise context planning efforts this year.”
Gartner analysts are to explore the impact of gamification on enterprise architecture at a summit in London and San Diego from next month.