Gamification – what does it mean for procurement?

It was the gamification summit recently in California (where else)!  It's a horrible word, but actually, an interesting concept.

It means taking some of the ideas and concepts used in computer gaming to drive popularity and usage, and using them in business applications. As the Constellation Research website explains,

Gamification represents another consumer tech innovation entering the enterprise.  Game-like mechanisms can improve engagement and participation in the enterprise for all stakeholders (i.e. employees, customers, partners, and suppliers).

Follow the link to Constellation and there's an excellent chart showing the '5 elements for engagement in enterprise gamification'.  They are intrigue, reward, challenge, community and status.  So how could they be used in 'enterprise' situations in the world of procurement and supply chain technology?

A 'reward' element to encourage users to approve requisitions promptly?  A 'status' recognition to incentivise procurement staff to become e-Sourcing or optimisation 'black belts'?  Developing the internal 'community' to encourage people to enrich the content of the Supplier Information database?

The more you think about it, the less daft it all seems.  I suspect we'll be coming back to this topic.

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Voices (6)

  1. Christine Morton:

    Peter – it’s Friday night – put down the “work” PS3 controller!! 🙂

  2. Peter Smith:

    You cynic!!

    I know what you mean but.. I was talking to a CPO recently who said, “yes, we bought the entire Ariba suite a few years ago.”
    What do you use it for, I said.
    “We’ve done a few auctions” she said.
    And that’s an adoption issue, which in organisations where procurement isn’t all-powerful is a stakeholder acceptance issue. So maybe learning from Gaming… (OK, can see you’re not convinced, so I won’t invite you to out first Spend Matters global gaming procurement systems conference in Las Vegas next year!!)

  3. Christine Morton:

    If you can convince your director of finance that this is a good way to invest corporate resources, you should be in sales, not procurement… Second Life debacle anyone?

  4. Daniel Ball:

    Putting gaming at the heart of the purchasing process will be critical for future user engagement and purchasing compliance. People powered procurement, where purchasing systems are built to leverage users’ personal preferences, has become increasingly important compared to pure functionality. Recent Sand Hill Group research, for example, puts effective user adoption as the absolute best predictor of enterprise software success. 70 percent of those Sand Hill surveyed listed it as the number one factor compared to 1 percent choosing software functionality.

    For readers interested in using gaming in procurement, my article – Let the games begin – from January’s Supply Management may be of interest. Here I cite the recent Harvard Business School book, Total Engagement: Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Change the Way People Work and Businesses Compete. With global competition, employee productivity and engagement becoming more critical to businesses, the book argues that user experience provided by game technology offers a “tantalizing solution”.

    Gaming can give buyers the opportunity to assume a competitive persona with personal scores, rankings and importance in the game hierarchy dependent on their ability to spend wisely, deliver contract best value or reduce administrative burdens. Tapping into the psyche of future generations and embedding gaming technology into web based purchasing will bring new levels of efficiency in the way organisations spend their money.

  5. MarketDojo:

    Great topic to pick up on Peter. We have been paying very close attention to incorporating some of the notions of gaming into our software. There are a few other fantastic templates that games use that eProcurement software can learn from, as well as the 5 elements above.

    One is ease of use. More specifically, easing a user into the experience. Games very rarely immerse you in something really complicated right from the start. They build you up gently. You learn to walk before you run. You learn to point and shoot before you strafe and crouch. The menu system is very simple and typically only allows you to proceed sequentially, rather than at random or tangentially.

    All too often I have come across pieces of software that fails to guide the user and we have really, really tried to learn from that. One recent example was when I used MailChimp. I found the website to be very pretty so I tried it out. Without warning I was at a loss what to do. The menu allowed me to start at the end. I could delete before I created. I could upload before I knew what I was uploading. It was very messy. And yes, I probably am an idiot and yes I should have read the instruction manual. But still, this never stopped me from completing complex games like Call of Duty, the manual of which is still in the cellophane wrapper.

    Community does have a lot to do with it, which is why we have set up CommunityDojo. Crowdsourcing solutions to various problems is a great way of supporting your clients. Sometimes it’s much easier to submit a question on a forum and get several clued-up answers than it is to thumb through a manual.

    I’m still a little surprised this topic has come up, as it’s EXACTLY what we had in mind.

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