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Gamification as Disruptor in Enterprise Technology

By: Phani Kishore Burre

Whoever said that if you love your job, you won’t have to work a single day in your life had underscored the importance of having a sense of engagement at the workplace. Gamification, according to Gartner, is the use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals

Brian Burke, Research VP at Gartner, mentioned in his blog post that the digital aspect makes all the difference. Be it an individual, a team, or an enterprise, gamification has donned the mantle of the silent coach who works behind the scenes to engage, motivate, and spur performance. From e-learning platforms and training programs to workday life, gamification has become the watchword for driving employee performance across the technology industry.

Embrace the Disruptor

Though full-scale adoption of this disruptor has met with some resistance, enterprises are getting caught up with the disruptive wave so much that every project’s performance metrics and quality parameters seem to increasingly weave the constructs of gamification. Gamification pioneer, Yu-kai Chou stated in his book that “Human-focused design” was a better term that emphasizes that humans are not rudimentary cogs in the system as opposed to “function-focused design” that optimizes only functional efficiency.

As managers become coaches, and their subordinates become players on the field of performance, the ensuing productivity gains and motivational spikes are clear for all to see. By the time managers schedule the weekly or quarterly reviews, teams have already brought their A-game to the table.

The synergy from the high-performance of various business units has a compounding impact on the enterprise as a whole. Gamification cuts across multiple business lines to transform production floors into premier league contests with performance scores running real-time on LCD displays.

Individuals are outdoing themselves like players, and teams are outplaying the others as though they’ve reached the finals of the playoffs. It’s real; it’s in action, its game on.

Disruptor in Enterprise Technology

In technology environments that are heavily contingent on human-support, gamification serves to boost the underlying motivation, morale of employees by inducing the game spirit. Production and operation heads are continually scanning their team’s performance metrics to see how they can improvise. It primarily performs miracles on the human factor (breaks monotony and mundanity) of support operations where production managers want their employees to put their best foot forward every day. As managers know who to coach, what to coach, when to coach, the result is an inspired workplace punctuated by competitive and productive employees who want to outperform and grow. The various aspects of gamification work to accelerate the performance curve and promote a culture of continuous learning and self-development.

Outcomes of the Disruptor

Imagine workspaces like sporting arenas with a roster of employees donning the roles of players, teams, and sub-teams who vie for the top-performer spot or “player of the month” recognition. Instead of mundane spreadsheets and usual performance reviews, a game-like ambiance is what evaluates teams against their SLAs, quality metrics, and performance parameters through real-time dashboards and visualizations with the support of digital technologies. Employees are firing on all cylinders thanks to the competitive spirit kindled by a sportive kind of a fixture. To the delight of operations managers, metrics such as CSAT, AHT, CES, CRR, along with customer raves, have improved with the adoption of gamification in the tech landscape.

It seems to have become the most-sought-after enterprise strategy for accelerating players’ performance on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. It recognizes those who top the charts and chalks out improvement tactics for players who have been outplayed by the rest. After all, humans are wired to perform better when they have a sense of validation and growth in what they do. Gamification ushers in a win-win scenario that ultimately leads to better business outcomes.

Going by Gartner’s Hype Cycle report of 2013, its momentum continues until it reaches the Plateau phase somewhere between 2018 and 2023. If ever there was a different twist to the question posed by Theseus in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by William Shakespeare, it would read: “Is there no game to ease the grunt of a working hour?” Yes, there certainly is, and there’s more to it. As a disruptor in enterprise technology, gamification is part of the overarching digital strategy for transforming employee morale and performance.

(The author is Senior Vice President & Global Head – Cloud, Infrastructure & Security Services, CSS Corp and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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