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SAP Business ByDesign is a full featured ERP software as a service (SaaS) solution built for small and midsize companies.  It provides end to end integrated business processes, unified data storage, and a well designed user experience built for the way people work.

While it can make your job a lot easier, maybe there’s a way we can make the ByDesign experience more fun and exciting.

Enter gamification, the theme of this year’s InnoJam competition.  Long story short, gamification adds game dynamics and features to applications in order to encourage user behaviors.  Examples you may be familiar with are awarding points on SDN for blogging or answering forum questions, and earning badges for “mayor” by checking in via social media at your favorite restaurant.  InnoJam participants have been asked to submit their ideas for business scenarios for gamification in advance of the competition via idea place.

This led me to consider how ByDesign might benefit from gamification features.  In theory, any business process that has user behaviors that need to beincentivized could benefit from such an approach.  Obvious examples include encouraging sales reps to enter lead and prospect data into systems early in a sales cycle, or as submitted by Brian O’Neill, encouraging documentation by technicians.

While the sky is the limit in terms of ideas, certain business processes and APIs for SAP Business ByDesign will be easier to implement gamification than others in the current release. 

I prefer to think about this in terms of adding a broad capability to ByDesign for allowing customers to define games for a number of behaviors they want to incent.  To that end, I’m proposing we create a gamification add-on application for ByDesign.  You could imagine this could be posted for sale on the SAP Store if someone were to build it out completely.

So first we have to determine whether we can integrate one of the gamification tools suggested by InnoJam, such as the cloud based Bunchball – Nitro.  Can we handle this as simply as a mashup?  Are there other considerations we need to worry about, such as not sending personal data to another cloud service?  If we determine its not workable, then we will build a native gamification engine directly into the ByD app.  This is important for allowing us to begin determining the data model of the application.  How much can we depend upon a web service, and what do we keep locally, as well as extend from native ByDesign business objects(such as personnel data).

The application would have three major modes:

1)      A games page for all users to see the status of games running

2)      Definition and administration of games

3)      Integrated gameification of the standard business process screens

Modes one and two would exist within a gamification work center and associated views in ByDesign.  The following screenshot illustrates this anatomy of what a work center is like:

 

And below is an example of adding gameification features directly into a business process screen:

 

 

Now a key element of administering these contests is tracking overall improvement of the behavior we are trying to incentivize.  So we will need a means of tracking and measuring a baseline behavior, and then any improvement as a result of running the game.  Maybe this is pie in the sky hoping?

And then to make the contest real, there should be an interface for exchanging points and badges for real world rewards.  This could be something like directing donations to a charity or local school of your choice in the employees name, or even cash rewards – interfacing with accounting / payroll functionality.

OK, so maybe the wish list is way longer than the number of hours we have to program, but if we could demonstrate:

Define a game -> run a game in a business process -> view business improvement and game scoring -> cash in rewards, all running in a ByD system, I think we got a winning InnoJam entry.

Oh ya, and don’t worry.  There are tons of analytics available, and the tooling makes it easy to create a mobile app version.  So we’ll have our gratuitous sexy iPad app that integrates with our cloud solution to show.

If you are interested in joining this scenario, please vote for it at Idea Place.  And if you have your own thoughts how to flesh out this scenario further, feel free to update or comment on the idea.

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