Gamification in the Enterprise

Mario Herger thinks you should have more fun at work- a LOT more fun. As a gamification evangelist at SAP, his team measures the impact of integrating video game mechanics into work processes. “Even the most simplistic gamification approach shows double digit improvements in productivity”. Now fun in the workplace has become very serious business. m2 Research predicts enterprise gamification software will achieve $100 million dollars in revenue this year while  Gartner forecasts that within two years 40% of the Global 100 will use gamfication as the primary vehicle to transform business operations. 


 Reality is simply not that interesting. Consider that 97% of consumers under age 21 played a video or computer game in the last three months and the majority of gamers are female. Now companies, charities and even the Israeli Defense Force want in on “the game” ( 


Gamification is NOT making a game.  It is business software that integrates game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences. Real-world game platform company SCVNGR created a list of 47 core attributes for effective game design: 





“I compare this to social media in the enterprise 5-6 years ago. People had to evangelize it, there were inflated expectations, immense uncertainty and inevitably many failures”. For example, one common misconception is the role of competition. According to the Theory of Player Types developed by Professor Richard Bartle, University of Essex, competition should be de-emphasized: 80% of players are Socializers, 10% are Explorers, 10% are Achievers and less than 1% are Killers. You can take your own Bartle Player Type selftest here 


Mario says “simply slapping badges, points and leaderboards onto existing processes is likely to fail. Organizations need to evaluate the way people interact with the system, with a dedicated Game Master constantly evaluating which behaviors to enhance or discourage”. Some interesting examples at SAP include SAP Road Warrior, which gamifies sales training, as well as the open SAP Community Network, with more than 2 million external members. A recognition program awards points for blogging, answering questions in forums, contributing to the wiki pages, submitting whitepapers and documents, etc. “Personally, I am thrilled about Big Data and gamification making the lives of employees more enjoyable and effective”.


Israel has its own gamification start-ups, including Gigya, TierX, Your Move, Gameffective and The Start-up Game. These and other companies will take part in the upcoming Socialize12 conference, December 4th and Workshop on Dec 5th in Israel.


One enterprise gamification success story is RAMP by cloud storage company EMC. The Recognition, Award and Motivation Program was launched in May and increased employee engagement by more than 20%. RAMP co-creator Tyler Altrup recommends four steps for implementing a corporate gamification program: “Sell what you know, start small, find the idea executive and sell him the idea, then execute, execute, execute”.




Gamification represents a tool for change management- including with your customers. For example SessionM is helping mobile application developers to increase engagement and retention. Badgeville, which has raised more than $40 million dollars at a reported $300 million valuation, brought social leaderboards and game mechanics to their online customer community site Samsung Nation. Answer submissions increased by 10x, comments rose by 5x while 47% more visitors transitioned from Anonymous to registered users.  According to Esteban Contreras, Samsung Social Media Manager, “anyone can unlock badges, earn points, level up and have fun discovering everything has to offer”. 




Not everyone has drunk the collective gamification Kool-Aid. A survey in May of top tech experts by the Pew Research Center found experts evenly split about the long-term, transformative impact of gamification in the enterprise. We will leave the last word to Gabe Zichermann, the author of several books about gamification. “The reason why gamification is so hot is that most people’s jobs are really freaking boring”.