Strategic insights and thought leadership.
Strategic insights and thought leadership.
Gamification in a nutshell
Gamification is the application of game like principles and features to software in order to increase customer, employee and partner engagement (e.g. these features can include point scoring, achievement levels, competition with peers etc). Such engagement can be essential since, without it, significant resources may otherwise have to be spent to achieve the engagement gamification effortlessly engenders. Gamification intrinsically encourages and motivates application users to explore and repeatedly use application features. An upside is that leadership and management engagement efforts can be conserved / redirected to one more of the other numerous organisation change imperatives likely to exist.
Gamification has been around for decades, ever since being coined by a British-born computer programmer named Nick Pelling (for instance, poker machines have almost perfected its application). But it first gained popularity in early 2010 when a number of organisations began applying it to significantly change their industries. Since then, business managers and software developers have been applying gamification techniques to transform customer, staff and stakeholder engagement with impressive impact on their bottom lines.
What gamification is doing for clients’ software applications
We’re finding gamification to be of most value in client software engagements at 2 levels: the customer and employee levels. At the customer level, the value proposition is to ensure that the customer experience resembles as many of the benefits of a game that the customer would almost be drawn to use the application even if they didn’t have to make a purchase (for example). This in turn is influencing loyalty, repeat purchases and referral rates. At the employee level, the gamification value proposition is similar (i.e. that using the application resembles the best game features so much that employees want to just “play” with the application in work time or personal time). This in turn is driving productivity, increasing morale and improving retention. After employing gamification within our software development team platforms, we’re finding it driving lower error rates at the software testing stage, speedier project delivery times and subsequently reduced development costs. This is providing us with the opportunity to pass on additional savings to clients and further improve our price competitiveness.
Gamification is a particularly great tool to apply in the introduction of new software, especially for non tech savvy end users. Rather than boring them to sleep through lengthy training sessions, game like features within the software motivate such users to explore software features out of their own inclination (e.g. slot machines rarely have user training manuals). An added advantage of gamification is easing absorption and recall of information (e.g. on steps involved in carrying out processes using the software application). We’re not saying every application requires gamification or that every organisation is in a position to incorporate game like features; but that where there is opportunity to incorporate it at the client and employee levels, there is a genuine business case. That is, there is a genuine opportunity to improve cost leadership, differentiation and focus bases of competitiveness).
Codium is one of Australia’s leading providers of custom software development and support services, with a particular focus on Cloud Application Development, Business Process Automation Applications, website development / integration, Database Development and IoT services. Our Clients include ASX listed resources companies, innovative small and medium sized entities across Australia, Federal and State government institutions and community development agencies. From time to time we write about emergent themes and practices from our broad technology engagements across industries, organisation types and value chain activities. Where we have the permission of our clients, we also share case study examples of these themes and practices in action. The most recent of these can be found on our website at codium.com.au
Reaffirming our commitment to quality management in software development with ISO9001 certification
We recently reaffirmed our commitment to quality by becoming ISO9001:2008 certified. While ISO9001 certification does not in and of itself ensure quality, it strengthens the 6th pillar in our software development quality assurance practice: Quality of the integrated organisation wide system for managing quality.
Our 6 pillars of quality assurance (Quality of Explicit and Implicit User Requirements Elicitation, Functional Quality, Code Quality, Reliability, Quality of User Experience and Quality of the Organisation Wide Quality Management System) have evolved through our experience developing applications across software and hardware engagements, technology platforms, industries and value chain activities. This experience has taught us that while quality concerns everything that affects user experience, behind that statement there are many important layers each requiring a structured approach to management for quality. Because we believe quality to be the most pivotal aspect of any software development engagement, we elaborate on our philosophy and practices across each pillar, below.
“It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.“
User Experience (UX) design, if you’ve not previously prioritised it, is concerned with how efficiently, effectively and enjoyably your software application performs the job it is meant to perform for end users. It’s a critical part of your software investment decision since it determines whether you need a large training budget and how much time end users want to voluntarily spend on using your application. This in turn, impacts top line KPIs such as sales revenue, repeat purchases and average spend per transaction as well as bottom line KPIs such as resource productivity and operating margins. With this in mind, whoever you engage to develop your application should be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the importance of User Experience Design and have in-house UX designers or external strategic partners with the specialist UX design competencies.
As disruptive digital technologies continue to emerge at faster and faster rates, the coming years present significant challenges for any business leader seeking not only to adapt and remain relevant but to thrive in the new environment.
From a technology perspective, what will determine the fate of business entities of any size and legal structure is their attitude to, position on and strategic approach to critical digital technology issues. It’s true that the discipline of IT is notorious for specialised terminology, jargon, acronyms and abbreviations. Still, one way or another, the business leaders to survive in their industries need to make sense of it and establish a durable attitude, vision and strategic approach. The business leaders to thrive need to translate that attitude, vision and strategic approach into an executable immediate, medium and long term plan suited to the unique forces and dynamics of their industry as well as their unique business operations.
Since the essence of strategy is being different in a way that matters to customers, we find it curious when prospective clients consider off the shelf software for the business activities that are at the heart of their differentiation. To be clear, we aren’t against off the shelf software (we have subscription software products and a subscription software implementation service that are important parts of our business). But we see off the shelf software being best suited for generic activities the firm doesn’t want to differentiate itself on. For instance, if best practice is good enough for the HR function, then off the shelf solutions like Success Factors and CloudHR can be better than going custom (although this may not be true for firms differentiating on talent). Or if little differentiation can be derived from the Accounting function, then cloud services like Xero or Oracle Financial may make better sense. Using off the shelf software in such situations makes sense because it can lead companies to best practice almost overnight for functions and processes they may have underinvested in or not prioritise for investment in future.
No business leader today can deny that every business is not only becoming more complex but also experiencing an accelerating rate of change in this complexity. New competitors are springing up overnight, the breakthrough products of a few years ago are being rendered obsolete and market disruptions are springing up from the most unexpected areas. It’s true there are plenty of industries where this doesn’t seem to be the case, the industries that have traditionally been afforded the luxury of glacial speeds, stability and certainty. But we’re seeing that even in these industries the change is occurring, although perhaps more insidiously, with gradually increasing instability. Most business leaders recognise, if grudgingly, that they can’t keep doing things the same way and / or at the same speed and continue to prosper in this environment – which has been referred to as the new normal.
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