Gamification – Are millions of $$ of IT savings in a matter of weeks a ‘fad’?

As 2013 draws to a close, I remain frustrated at attitudes towards and perceptions of the term ‘gamification’. It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the word itself. Scroll back a few blogs and you’ll find my diatribes around that particular topic.

Unfortunately the term ‘gamification’ carries with it much negativity, largely thanks to its proliferation (and poor use) across the B2C market. To many it feels ‘cheap’ and a topic irrelevant to serious business. There also remains confusion around what gamification actually is. Just to be clear – gamification is about applying game elements (the ‘DNA’ of games) to non-game activities. It’s about delivering big benefit by making ‘normal’, day-to-day activities compelling. It can be applied to any goal, process, project or learning objective.

I missed the itSMF UK driven #ITSMbig4 chat last week, but caught up with it later. Powerful stuff which is grounded in reality, and fantastic to see the output of this being driven by members, many of them practitioners. But what did bother me was the references during those discussions to gamification being a ‘fad’ or a ‘trend’.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting that gamification should have been one of the ‘big 4’ itSMF UK topics. However, I don’t want it to be summarily dismissed without people understanding its potential for IT enterprises. Many are too quick to equate gamification with a perceived frivolity or triviality that comes with the word ‘games’. It’s almost considered an unnecessary luxury. Big mistake. Let me explain with an example.

Earlier this year, we engaged with a large global client who was facing a significant technology challenge at the level of the ‘basics’ – to increase productivity while significantly reducing IT consumption and associated (high) spend. We worked closely with the client to develop a ground-breaking web-based gamification application which was designed to achieve the client objectives through a series of gamified ‘quests’. The first quest was to remove all data from an out-of-date storage drive which was costing our client millions of dollars a year to secure and maintain. Participating employees were rewarded in the form of charitable donations, creating a compelling, ‘feel good’ driver for all involved.

The program went live 3 months ago, and delivered incredibly high levels of engagement from the very beginning, with 60% of the target audience engaging and completing their first quest within a 4 week period. Full return on investment for the project was achieved after approximately 2 weeks. 3 months down the line, savings are already estimated at $3.2 million. And quest 1 is only the beginning. Our client is beyond delighted, and is now planning quests well into the future.

“Fad; an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something; especially one that is short lived”

For our clients, gamification is not a fad. Designed well, it is a powerful catalyst for change and serious operational savings. So please – give it the respect and consideration it deserves.

For more information about GAMIFICATION:

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