By Gretchen Opferkew, Director of Education, PowerObjects
In recent years, an interesting trend has emerged in the
implementation of business applications-the focus on driving user adoption by
building in game-like mechanisms to make business systems, well, more fun.
provides a strategy for measuring, rewarding, and encouraging user engagement. With gamification, users of the business
application accumulate points, badges, levels, or other rewards for taking certain
actions in the system.
For those leading an implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM,
measurement of user engagement has always been an extremely valuable factor in identifying
areas where users may need assistance or training to successfully adopt the new
system. Successful gamification strategies may drive more consistent data input
to managers, helping them make business decisions as they roll out a new system
Gamification can also help users understand where they stand
in relationship to their peers, making transparency a tool for onboarding new
employees and introducing competition to keep teams motivated. When new
employees see how others are performing, such as number of interactions with
the customer per day, week or month, it helps them set their own short-term
goals for getting up to speed.
Solutions providing the gamification experience for
Microsoft Dynamics CRM include CRM Gamified, by UruIT; The
Game, developed by Gap Consulting and available on Codeplex; and a solution
developed by Wave Access. CRM Gamified is the most costly solution
but also the most refined and enterprise-ready, especially with the custom
dashboard that integrates leaderboards and social. Both The
Game and Wave Access are
currently free and are easy to configure for an organization's unique needs.
With at least three different gamification solutions for Microsoft
Dynamics CRM on the market, users are contemplating the value gamification can
bring to their unique organizations. Some
critics are concerned that fun waters down the CRM strategy and that employees
should be motivated to use CRM because it's best for customers. Still others see gamification as merely a tool
to help new users get over the learning curve of a new system; they find
gamification loses its sizzle over the long-term. Results-focused advocates see gamification as a learning tool, as well
as a strategy to hold teams accountable for their customer-focused initiatives.
Speaking of strategy, understand that simply plugging a
gamification solution into Microsoft Dynamics CRM will likely fail to yield the
desired results. Solution
owners need to consider the behavior they are trying to drive, how that
behavior can be measured, and how it can be meaningfully rewarded. Since some
job roles may more easily adopt a competitive mindset than others, organizations
should also consider how to best match up teams in a competition. Imbalance in fairness or in the effort to achieve
goals can trivialize the reward system, causing failure.
Some believe gamification will be the wave of the future. Gartner
predicts 40% percent of global 1,000 companies will employ gamification by 2015. Others see gamification as mostly hype, with
an expected drop off in usage due to more failed implementations. It could be that organizations that already have
a strong plan and strategy for how they will implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM
will apply that same diligence to their gamification strategies. And those who plan to "install and go" will
be at higher risk of failing at gamification as well.
Certainly there is room for gamification technology to grow
and provide a deeper and more analytical solution for how to measure engagement
of users. For example, you may get
points for recording a phone call. Do
you record the notes after you make a phone call while the memory is fresh? Or
do you record the notes later in the week? How do you measure quality of
engagement over quantity of touches?
While end user motivation and adoption may continue to
elevate the use of gamification with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, ultimately better analytics
and outcomes will demonstrate its value.
As long as organizations continue to make decisions based on analysis of
CRM data, we can expect that they will leverage every possible end-user
motivation to achieve the desired results-that is, good information.