What Is Gamification and How Can Businesses Benefit From It?

An emerging technological trend, gamification is the process of integrating game dynamics into an online portal, web content, services or campaign. Essentially a brand new concept, it utilizes game mechanics in a non-gaming enterprise, with the purpose of boosting audience engagement and driving brand loyalty.

Also considered as a playful yet intelligent way of solving enterprise problems and achieving desired business results, gamification may consist of the use of badges, progress bars, or virtual prizes. When integrated into an organization's process portfolio, intelligent gamification is expected to change behavior, trigger innovation and alter engagement altitudes, effecting high level of participation.

The term "gamification," is dangled as the next frontier in mobile and web marketing. The concept is based on the principle that the present and younger generation is more attuned to games as compared with the earlier age groups. Currently, gamification is adopted in a broad range of applications, such as employee programs; wellness or personal activities; online shopping; financial services; primary education; project management; extreme sports; as well as loyalty and brand sustainability programs.

A recent Gartner, Inc. report is predicting that by 2014, "gamified services" will become the name of the game for customer retention and marketing of consumer goods. By 2015, over 50 percent of organizations will be routing their business and software strategies toward the gamification of their innovation processes. With over 70 percent of Global 2000 firms having one gamified application at the least, the significance of the concept will be tantamount to that of eBay, Facebook and Amazon.

Discussions during the September 2011 Gamification Summit in New York also ascertained that gamification is used to improve performance of employees. Startups and large businesses that are seeking to attract, train, retain or incentivize employees are increasingly turning to the trend, and are involving virtual badges and rewards as innovative ways of evaluating top-employee performance.

Research firm Upstream Systems found that 78 percent of the 100 London-based companies it polled believe in the merits of utilizing gamification techniques for campaigns, and 64 percent of them were convinced that the tactic will enhance their relationship with customers. However, only 27 percent of these organizations actually utilize gamification in the enterprise, as they are unclear about what it is and what it does.

Pushing for the integration of gamification into companies' business and software strategies, a network of websites representing the largest gamification community created Gamification.org, a website aimed at providing information resources and services regarding the trend. It is set to introduce Gamify.com, a project focusing on the creation of virtual spaces to be discovered and explored to find interesting things and people.

Involving the usage of tools to create playful methods of customer interaction with respect to a brand, gamification is believed to add value to online and international business marketing efforts. It allows businesses to involve customer and crowd source innovation in a much more engaging fashion. In this regard, enterprise architects are increasingly incorporating gamification processes as an essential part of planning for commercial context.

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