Gamification in Service Management GuideOverview

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Nigel MartinGamification is the application of game mechanics and game design in non-game contexts to solve business problems. It’s not about turning work into a game. It’s about grafting game mechanics onto your existing operations to dovetail work and play together, drive staff engagement, increase productivity and achieve very specific business objectives.

 

Written by Dr Nigel Martin, 20 years of experience in global enterprise software


Gamification is the application of game mechanics and game design in non-game contexts to solve business problems. It’s not about turning work into a game. It’s about grafting game mechanics onto your existing operations to dovetail work and play together, drive staff engagement, increase productivity and achieve very specific business objectives.

 

Global communication means we now live in a truly global market. As a result, competition has never been so intense and the need for engaged employees never so high. Yet engagement is at an all-time low (as few as 13% of employees feel committed to their roles1). This engagement crisis is the root cause of employee apathy, poor performance, excessive staff churn rates and spiraling recruitment costs.

 

Gamification is a powerful tool for reengaging employees, bringing a much needed people-based approach to improving business; and IT Operations is a perfect use case.

 

Gamification isn’t new. Sales managers have been using competition as a motivation tool for decades. What is new is the application of competition and other game mechanics to other areas of the business – IT included. Gamification is behavior hacking. It helps you to adapt people’s work behaviors simply by being clear about what you want from them – and how they’ll be rewarded in return. It works because it’s applied in a positive, mutually beneficial, non-exploitative way. It’s more about dangling the carrot than wielding the stick.

 

Game mechanics play on game dynamics, the basic humandesires of reward, status, achievement, self-expression, competition and altruism. These desires are universal, applying to all ages, genders and cultures. By satisfying these desires, gamification creates a positive and compelling user experience.

 

The objective is to pull people together and activate them to achieve business objectives. In this case, the group is the IT department and the objectives are (at a high level) to improve service quality, increase IT agility, reduce costs, and generally squeeze more business value out of technology.

 

Through gamification, you can add an element of excitement to a normally mundane activity. For example, resolving incidents for end users is repetitive. By dovetailing game mechanics into existing processes, you add a motivation layer and make the process rewarding for the service desk analyst.

 

You can’t do enterprise scale gamification without technology, but many gamification programs fail because they jump forward to a toolset implementation before the foundations are in place. The key to success is to start with the problem you want to solve, identify the behaviors you need to encourage, and apply game mechanics to engage and motivate your staff.

 

What gamification can do for service management

 

  • Increase adherence to processes and establish greater consistency
  • Improve the execution of process stages by encouraging the most effective behaviors
  • Drive collaborative working between teams, departments and sites
  • Improve the capture and re-use of knowledge
  • Encourage end-user adoption of self-logging and self-resolution tools
  • Motivate service desk analysts to close more calls within SLAs
  • Increase response rates for end user satisfaction surveys
  • Support fast-track training programs to ramp up productivity more quickly

 

1Gallup, October 2013

 

 

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The Foundations of Gamifcation