Gamification or How to win 1 billion Users until 2015
Gamification is a trend that is finally reaching the enterprise. Understanding game mechanics and dynamics and how they engage and empower users and give them a sense of control and productivity is something that must not be left to games. Players in the most successful massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft (WoW) have spent more than 50 billion hours of play since the start of this game in 2004. They have created 250.000 articles in the WoW-Wiki, which is the second largest wiki, only topped by Wikipedia. On average each WoW-player spends 17-21 hours per week playing WoW. If you look at Halo, Farmville, Mafiawars and many other popular online games, you will find the same engagement, hard work and dedication to these games.
Now what exactly makes players so engaged? What makes them work so hard? And how can we leverage this for the real world, like businesses, charities, communities? This has started to puzzle and catch the interest of experts. With a rising number of employees who have grown up with video games, the average age of video gamers being at 33 and the percentage of women playing video games at +40%, the ground for gamifying business software has been prepared. And in fact many gamers are craving to take their time and work from the virtual world to the real world.
That’s where we have a chance to engage with our users. And this is why I want to give you a first overview of what we are doing around this topic. I currently see examples covering three areas: the first area are business processes, the second area are training and education, the third area is from HR who wants to onboard new employees as quickly as possible. In this blog I will mainly deal with the first type – gamifying business applications.
SAP Community Networks
The most prominent example of where we use gamification is the SCN. You put up good blogs and articles, answered questions in the forums and edited Wiki pages. This way you earn points and badges that help you raise in your status and increase your reputation. I don’t have to explain much around that, because many of you have worked hard to earn these points. You collaborate by helping and working on topics together, but you also compete by being top contributor in your topic. Because of your status, you’ve had opportunities to get first hand access to information as SDN mentor, get more projects or have a better position to discuss a salary raise. Hiring managers look at your points. If your CV list SDN points, you land on top of the list of candidates. Participating on the SCN and getting immediate feedback through points, comments, badges and views feels not only empowering, but has a real world impact for you. You are not just an virtual guild master, but a real world SCN expert.
The SCN is also a good example to introduce you to a couple of game mechanics. Points (as “points points”, but also views of your articles/blogs), leaderboards (list of top contributors, but also exposure of you article on the main SDN page), status (mentor badge, gold/silver/bronze medal), social interaction (discussions, meetups).
The next example does not use any of the above mentioned game mechanics, but a different UI. The iPad app is called Lead-in-One and allows a sales manager to assign leads to sales reps by playing a golf game. Instead of fumbling with combo-boxes to assign them you simply drag a golf ball (the lead) onto a golf-hole (the sales rep). Tapping on a little flag on the golf-ball (the lead) you can see detailed information about this lead on a card.
This approach seems radical from a UI-perspective, but it could be effective from two sides: this UI allows actually faster interaction on the iPad than the combo-boxes and it validates the SOA-readiness of our platform. If we cannot connect such a gamified visual UI, we verify our statement that we are SOA.
SAP Future Factory
Another example that uses a very different UI to better visualize a process is from Manufacturing. A 3D rendering of the SAP Future Factory displays machines based on their energy consumption (deployed on web browser, iPad, iPhone, …). Energy consumption is retrieved live from smart meters via middleware for device integration. An avatar helps the user to walk through the factory and have all information live.
A similar topic is approached from a different angle in the application Vampire Hunter. Find the energy suckers in your facility. A blood red and creepy design of the screen highlights the floor plan of your office building and shows the energy consumption of each room. Once you find the blood sucker, you can get him.
Another mobile app rewards employees to live sustainable by awarding seeds (=points) which you can watch grow in a flower pot. The longer you “play”, the larger the plant grows and the more of them you have. This concept extends SAP’s Carbon impact solution. For SAP’s customers, it complements the collection of data (from employees) for tracking and analysis purposes (with data aggrgated and reported in solutions such as Carbon Impact), while encouraging broad employee participation and proactive idea sharing. It’s basically an SAP version of Farmville.
Tipp’ die Opportunity
An example that lets sales reps bet on the chance that an opportunity turns into a deal is “Tipp’ die Opportunity” (“Click the Opportunity”), a concept developed in a thesis. This highly visual example gives not only feedback by applying the collective wisdom of the sales department, but also uses the competitive spirit that is extremely common with sales people.
These examples all covered business processes. The next example is a simulation and lets players simulate a business with ERPSim. Its’not really a gamification example, but a game playing a business process.
These examples are either productive (SCN) or prototypes for an approach to gamify business application. Gamification shall help to empower users and engage them more with the software. While many of the examples focus on very small aspects of a business process, there is a huge potential in making business software better. The next blogs will make suggestions for larger business processes.