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Gamification is not only for techies

Dear all,

As a former ERP Project Manager with a technical background, I often had to run back and forth between the developer’s team and the functional consultants…..endlessly (ever seen Forest Gump, with a beard, on the road ? well that was me!)

Now please let me try to do the same.


To prepare for Innojam, there is a topic on Idea Place dedicated to its subject, which is Gamification. As Innojam is very much techies-oriented, I doubt a lot of BPX experts will go there, don’t you think?

And it is a pity, because gamification is VERY interesting for the Functional experts too !


Not knowing anything about gamification, I have read all the beginner’s guide given in the Wiki (please follow the arrow -> ).

In so many words, gamification is about giving an extra layer on top of the business aspects. This layer uses games mechanisms (points, rewards, levels, medals…if you know SCN, it should sound familiar to you) to improve the user’s experience and give him an extra purpose (earn more points!).


So what ? We all know that a key factor to an ERP project’s success is change management / user acceptance. And even if SAP has done a lot of work on its interfaces to become more user-friendly, it can still be a challenge.


Example ? A few weeks ago, I had a Warehouse Manager attending a SAP ERP Training. He complained that his team didn’t trust SAP, and didn’t enter the stock movements when they were in a hurry, because “they had real work to do “… So the Manager had to enjoy spending hours to enter correcting movements in the system every day…


Now let’s try to Gamify this a little bit !

Let’s say that everyone has a score and a corresponding level (padawan, jedi, master…you name it) automatically calculated by the system (Nb of mistakes, nb of movements, time spent on each transaction….).

Don’t you think everyone would become involved a bit more? If needed, you can also have rewards, leaderboards….to give a continuous feedback


Gamification is about user motivation, so I don’t think it is a purely technical subject  (in fact it has given me many ideas, that I’ll try to propose on Idea place)

What do you think ?

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  • <Smile>  Not really.  I just had to comment because I loved this blog.  We do small gamification things like that every day at work.  Maybe with little to no success.  Something as small as a card that says "I caught you doing a good job" is great.<br/><br/>I just go a little deeper than that.  I think big - someone's going to have to help me shrink it down.  I think of the games we love to play.  When I was little I loved pong.  It was a letter l that went up and down the screen to bounce a dot in different directions.  I loved it. I played with it for hours.  I've graduated a little since pong.  So would I like to come into work and think that it is a fun day to play the game?  YES!  Is that technical or functional or business or...  Is that just all of us that have to go in everyday and do our jobs.  Or even better - be able to log on remotely to play the game!  Very cool.  I think we all play a working game.  Sometime - well sometime you hate the game you are playing.  Let's design something that's FUN!<br/><br/>This InnoJam should be a blast!<br/><br/>Michelle<br/>

  • Gamification has been used by businesses outside of entering data in their ERP system to drive behavior.  Classic examples are:

    -- Sales Contests that generate bonus or rewards based on how much someone sells
    -- Safety Contests that provide rewards for meeting safety goals.
    -- Environmental Contests - office that recycles or reduces waste the most is rewarded

    In all of these "games" behavior is rewarded that improves the overall bottomline of the business.  I think the challenge from the BPX perspective is why we always need manually figure out who is winning these contests when most of the data is already in our core systems.

    I sometimes get the feeling that innovation focus is about making/selling new things or making them faster rather than looking at how to fundamentally improve core processes.

    Take care,


    • Stephen,
      I agre with what you say. completely !
      Gamification is not actually completely new: it's a new wording that explains, clarifies, what already existed without a proper name.

      BUT what I describe is ( as you mentioned ) not just giving a name to something already done outside of the system. It's understanding what we already do, and try to integrate it INTO the system. And yes, it might make things go faster and more efficiently !

      Sales contest => instead of calculating your bonus on an excel spreadsheet, you would have a real-time leader board ! faster, and it generates competition (which is quite the point in sales teams, no ?)

      What I think about is also to gamify processes where no such things existed: stock management, invoicing,...there it would bring a goal, a purpose ("be the best") to people who did not really use SAP ERP properly, because they did not  understand fully the way it works (see my other answers int the comments)

      Best regards


  • Eric,

    Your suggestion of having the system award points to encourage its correct use is certainly intriguing, and perhaps this is just my own lack of experience in gamification, but for me the challenge will be to encourage desired behaviors without the users "gaming" the system.

    My area is security and compliance; behaviors that are desirable could include activities such as periodic review of your own user master data (SU3)and update as needed, but the last thing we want to do is to reward users for changing their phone number record every week in their quest to achieve the next game level or nifty badge. In compliance, it is desirable to have timely completion of the periodic user access reviews, but we don't want to reward managers for racing through it just to get extra credit. This is not going to be as simple as it might have sounded, to create an application with gamification elements without overdoing it. I hope we have a great turnout and exciting results from this year's event. 

    Thanks for getting me even more excited about InnoJam!


    • Gretchen,
      Thank you very much for the point of view which forced me to think again about what I wrote !
      In my experience the trouble is more often people under-doing thing....
      When change management hasn't been very effective (which is very often), some users tend to use SAP ERP ONLY when they have to.
      The "I have urgent things to do in the real world" sounds very familiar to a lot of managers, sometime. The result being that a lot of work has to be done afterwards to enter or correct the data in the system.

      But you are totally right : the game/reward system has to be very selective and should differentiate between real productive work and point-chasing (worst case : I make mistakes and I correct them afterwards to earn points...).

      Correct me if I am wrong, but to be compliant, people who enter the data should not be the same as the ones who cancel or correct these data, right ? That might make things easier.

      The actual situations where I imagine this gamification based on the correct use of the system could be :
      - billing transactions
      - stock entry and stock movements
      - scrap management in manufacturing....
      These are situations where I've seen people postponing their tasks in SAP, and I can imagine that in all theses cases a simple separation between roles would simplify the 'overdoing syndrom', no ?

      Just thinking.....will continue at SAP TechEd I guess 😉

      Best regards


  • Yes, you get rewards for behaviors and usually you know what they are and how to get them.  But a game is beyond the rewards.  What kind of reward do you get for playing chess?  Baseball?  Monopoly?Beyond a developer - well I would hope everyone has played a game in his or her life.  What did you like about it?  What about those games you hated?

    • Michelle,

      thx a lot for your comments !

      I did play video games quite a bit ....
      now that I am old and wise, I'm helping my daughter's beat the bosses at Mario !!

      I don't really succeed in seing my actual work as a game....too different, no ?

      But being a gamer helps me to bring video game concepts (RPG games classes , auto-leveling,...) INTO the working environment. I have submitted the ideas in Idea Place, with little succes.. I am not sure it means anything to non-gamers ?!

      So maybe the first task is to explain that games is not only for children, it's not dirty  (have you seen the great video "Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world" ? the reactions of the audience ? )

      I hope we'll have time to discuss this in 2 weeks 🙂

      Best regards


      • OK -

        In a way I agree with what you are saying.  I hear and I understand.  A good way to promote games we already play.  I'm just trying to jump out of the box.  Yes, work, and pretty much whatever else you do is a game.  Sometimes you play to win sometimes judt to have fun.  Think about those side tasks you do just because XYZ was always great to work with.

        It would be cool if we could create something outside the box.  Look at Mark Finnern's idea on idea space, now that is cool.

        As I sit here and type I wonder - do I want to encourage competitiveness in my team?  To a point.  I want them and myself reaching for the best possible outcome.  Let's justify ourselves.

        So I think of something like RPM, HCM...  Where you put the skills in and it spits out the possible specialist to play the game - project with you.

        Still thinking while typing so it's kind of a train of thought thing.  In order to be good at the game I have to have a higher status.  When I'm new to the game most of my statuses are down.  Except I may know something useful that my other team members do not my skill level is high there.   Again this is part of SAP now.  RPM, HCM...

        So we have a way of putting in details.  This will make up our characters.  We will have managers - upgraded by campaign - projects.  Upgraded by how their employees do.  scores go up and down with the overtime employees work to make dates.  Up and down with missed dates.

        This seems futuristic to me - but it sure would help come bonus, raise time, even review.

        Is it something we already has in our system?  Yes, but instead of boring badges, boring graphics.  Let's make this fun!

        A project could have a bunch of space invaders - they are added to if the scope expands.  If the time line doesn't expand with the scope - you lose.  They space guys have gotten to the bottom.

        You are an asset on a project.  you have dates - each date is a ticking time bomb.  You can add more time if you have scope increase, fires to put out etc.  But you have to justify moving that time out.  You lose when the bomb explodes!  To see what that does to a project the bomb can cause a chain reaction.

        Just some interesting thoughts.  We do play games every day at work.  Some are good at it -not me.  Some are better.

        But I truly can think up a game for each position with a job description.  "Mini" games to the large battle - your companies goals.

        See ya at innojam!


        • Michelle,
          If I understand correctly, you need to 'play' with the SAP system, no ?
          So I have an idea (just thinking, too) : what about changing all the menus into a SIM-like virtual world, where transactions and system would be represented by buildings, rooms, walls ? you would move your avatar on the screen to move from one system to another

          -> I want to check my reports, I move my 3D character into the living room, and I have several painting s on the wall, all being different reports. I want to see the details , I point at the painting and go into the standard transaction

          -> I want to buy something -> go to the store (with self-procurement system)

          -> shop floor would be the garage

          -> etc....the list goes on

          what do you think about my game 🙂  ?


          • YES!  That's exactly what I was thinking.  And now it makes it so we work together.  Perfect.   Of course, that's a large project too.   Maybe bring the scope down to just a couple of things.

            It would be easy to incorporate mobile devices.

            I like your game!


            Can you add it to the idea list?  🙂  I would thumbs up it.

    • YESS !! very good game-that-doesn't-look-but-is-stil-a-game movie.
      I hope it is not really about 'life gamification' because it would be scary, no ?
  • Hi Eric,  Just to give you a tiny bit of perspecitve, the Innojam is actually a kind of  descendant of one of my own "children" which was originally called the BPX Process Design Slam.  It was created for the BPX community AND for their technical counterparts.  It was run concurrently to the "Hacker Nite" that Craig Cmehil created but begged the techies to come and visit the process design thinkers and to collaborate with them.  After two years of begging to combine Hacker Nite with a process expert event and have REAL business cases to work on with real business owners, UI designers, process experts, architects and buisness analysts, the Innovation Weekend was created/born (last year).  Guess what?  There were quite a number of NON-techie folks there.  Now the concept of the Innovation Weekends as well as the Innojams are owned by the Technology Innovation Platform team.  And guess what?  Their sponsor (the owner of the Innojams, Anne Hardy) believes in inclusion, diversity, collaboration across skill sets.  So I would like to believe that the gamification event flavor of the innojam will NOT lose its inclusive flavor.  But I could be wrong.  We might have driven away all the process thinkers...but somehow, I rather doubt that :-).  Take a look at the idea place and you might find some interesting design/process conversations brewing there.  If not, seed them quickly please.
  • What fun we had.  Functionals vs. technical vs...  Inclusion, that was the ticket.  I hope future Techeds the functionals will go!

    Eric was amazing.  I can't wait to write up my follow up blog to Innojam.  We won!  No not the voting, and not to go up on stage at Demo Jam.  We won, because I met great people, play with the new technology, and look at some of the things Eric was doing.  He created the configuration for DMS on the fly as we were talking about it, he had it done.  Amazing.

    The team that won, I believe, but am not sure there was a "functional" / BPX type person on their team.  I know their were BPX type people on the second place team. 

    So - BPX, ABAP, Web based, BOBJ, BI/BW... OK everyone this is a great event to attend.  And trust me, your team will use all of your skills.  That's how we get such an array of prototypes.

    Eric - I hope to get to see you next year!  I never know if I can attend and I know this was all out of your own pocket!  Another can you believe it?  This guy paid for all his expenses to Teched, and that includes Innojam!

    What fun it was working with him, and all the other people on our team!  OK - I'm starting to write a blog - just wait, I'm going to post one 🙂


    This blog was actually written by Eric prior to Innojam!  Now an after one - I'm going for it.  Eric I challenge you (gamification) to write one too!  Or post your link if I missed it.