Snakes and ladders in the world of ERP – can you boost ERP efficiency through GAMIFICATION?

Jul, 06. 2015

snakes and ladders

Over the last few weeks we have been looking at the application of social media in ERP and have found it is more around wikis, and blogs rather than tools such as Twitter and Facebook, which are more relevant to CRM and customer-facing applications.  While we were investigating Social ERP, the ability to add gamification features to applications was often cited.  Gamification was billed as one of the hottest trends for B2B in 2011, but nearly 4 years on is it relevant?  And, is it widely adopted?

There are many game mechanics that can be implemented such as awarding points to individuals for achieving goals; leader boards for teams completing assignments on time; or even redemption of points for real-world goods for developing additional skills.  It is also a natural progression from the company-wide analytics functionality that many organisations already use.

Robert Stanley blogged on the application of gamification in business, and discussed how Samsung rewarded users by getting them involved in the community and participating in reviews, Q&As and watching videos.  The users were simply awarded badges as they progressed though levels of achievement but their involvement help Samsung create valuable branded content.

Linking gamification to ERP may appear tricky.  That said, the more you engage users in the activity  – and the more they like the game – the higher the productivity!  For example, by adding gaming to the quote-to-cash process, an employee’s challenge could be to reach targeted goals for entering daily activities at a faster or more accurate rate or to update client records more frequently.  Users get a sense of achievement when they get to the next game level.

Canadian Airline, WestJet have linked Gamification to their ERP system to help employees submit their expenses on time.  The project is initially rolling out to the IT department before it goes company-wide.  Whether adding gamification features by getting employees to collect badges, and rewards will help increase timely expense submissions, will have to be seen.

The main focus is making work enjoyable and increasing the ‘play time’ at work.  In 2013 ERP Focus blogged about 8 features to help boost ERP productivity which included team incentives, workflow improvements, employee engagement and interestingly, competitive gamification.  By being pitched against team mates, employees are more likely to try harder.  Let’s face it, no one wants to be listed last when the league table is published!

Gamification Blogger cites that HR studies have identified that staff who are engaged can be 25-30% more productive.  If making a game out of an operational function that is repetitive (and probably very boring) increases productivity by say just 10%, the bottom line revenue will improve, and ultimately boost the ROI of the ERP investment.

However it is not all plain sailing, Violino in Network World states the three pitfalls of gamification:

  1. Not having clearly defined business objectives
  2. Focusing on the organisational goals rather than player goals
  3. Engaging players at a transactional rather than an emotional level

Gamification is widely embedded in the B2C market, with companies spending huge sums on games to engage the consumer, with positive results.  Within a business, the adoption has been mostly within Human Capital Management (HCM) but Wired’s Anthony James,  thinks HR are just scratching the surface when it comes to applying techniques and methodologies to traditional HR functions.

Within the ERP space, publicised examples are limited so we would love to hear about any gaming features that have been added to an ERP environment.  Are users climbing up to the next level with the business enjoying increased productivity or is it a snake in the grass?



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