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Gamification can provide a competitive edge to help you realize the full potential of your investments in software as a service.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming increasingly popular among a variety of organizations. But many are quickly discovering that one of the advantages to SaaS is also paradoxically one of its biggest challenges—applications change more frequently than most on-premise applications.
Typically, SaaS applications are not deployed in a single “big bang,” but rather through multiple, frequent releases—change comes more frequently than the 12-to-24 month upgrade cycle that accompany traditional applications. In fact, the pace is so fast that many corporate cultures are not prepared to keep up. And their traditional approach to education and communications is often inadequate to accommodate this new—and valuable—kind of application.
That presents a challenge for SaaS users: how can you not only ensure that employees initially learn the application, but also keep up with updates so the application continues to provide value? The answer comes from another aspect of the consumerization of IT: gamification.
To maximize your SaaS investment, you must tackle three key areas:
Rapid initial adoption. Motivate your employees to switch from working with the legacy application to the new system.
Sustained engagement. Drive continuous usage over time so employees form new behaviors and ingrain the application into their daily work.
Data accuracy. Ensure that you enter and update information into the new application regularly.
For SaaS deployments to be successful in each of these areas, enterprises must have a strong change management structure in place. This change-management capability must move beyond the traditional capabilities of dealing with process and technology to accommodate users as well.
The challenges aren’t substantially different from other change management challenges, but accommodating users makes success more imperative. Enterprises must improve their skills in education and communications—traditional techniques may be lacking in the face of rapid change. They must manage the process more efficiently—a centralized training structure may not be agile enough. And they must consider employee motivation. Old-school approaches, including monetary incentives or deterrents, tend to be less effective with the rapid pace of SaaS deployments.
Gamification has become increasingly relevant for today’s workforce, which increasingly comprises Gen Y. For these people, playing video games is the norm. In fact, gamification is nearly taken for granted among anyone born after 1971, the bulk of today’s workforce and our economy’s key spenders.
Enterprises can use gamification to engage users and shape behaviors, particularly with new applications. In doing so, however, they must think about what motivates users in terms of efficient business operations. Traditional gamification techniques include amassing points, posting leaderboards and the arc of missions. But enterprises may need to adapt those concepts to design a meaningful experience that resonates with specific users.
To apply gamification techniques, you must first gain a broad understanding of your audience and what motivates them. For example, sales employees tend to be competitive, self-motivated and independent—but they also crave recognition for their efforts. So fulfill the team’s desire for recognition by awarding points and badges, and by creating leaderboards that publicly display how well individuals are doing against their colleagues. Success stories for these efforts abound: one company experienced a 230 percent increase in new product sales within 30 days. Another achieved a 50 percent increase in sales quotas within six weeks. Another achieved a 15 percent increase in overall sales activities in four to six months.
But gamification isn’t limited to highly competitive sales teams. In a customer service workforce, people tend to be cooperative and collaborative. Here, enterprises can use gaming to emphasize that each customer call an employee takes, no matter how mundane or frustrating, contributes toward the company’s larger vision. Using social media techniques to publicize results in the form of success stories shows how these successes impact the entire enterprise.
November 13, 2013
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