The importance of Gamification in Software Development

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 Origins

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).

About Codium

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