IBM’s social software platform for businesses, Connections, is bursting with new features and add-ons. Now there’s one more, with the announcement this week by gamification vendor Bunchball of its first Nitro for IBM Connections.
As with other gamification products, this Nitro’s central purpose is to employ game play for Connections as a way to encourage user adoption and usage. The company said that, “by applying the same principles that inspire people to play games,” such as achievements, status and rewards, employees can be encouraged to fully engage with Connections and therefore help social collaboration efforts reach their potential.
Game Mechanics in Communities
Delivered as a turnkey product, Bunchball Nitro for IBM Connections provides ready-to-use game mechanics, such as pre-populated onboarding challenges, as well as an achievement center where users can see their performance and achievements in the communities they've joined.
The company said there are hundreds of different activities to design missions and assemble user rewards, and personalization tools allow each of the platform’s communities to participate in a unique experience.
Managers can configure missions, rewards and communities, measure and track various campaigns, and analyze data through the use of an administrative console.
Bunchball said that Nitro for Connections is the latest in its integrated solutions that utilize a common interface and come ready-to-go. Recently, for instance, the company released a new Nitro for Salesforce, which expanded the features of earlier Nitro versions that brought gamification to the Salesforce Sales Cloud by adding gamification for service, support and help desk teams.
The Jury Is Conflicted on Gamification
Game-playing techniques are breaking out all over, with the idea that they can increase motivation, enthusiasm, participation and retention among both employees and consumers in many business processes. The techniques build on experiences with military and business simulations, video games, and situational awareness training such as those for police.
But is gamification worthwhile in business? The jury seems conflicted. Last September, for instance, research firm Gartner released a report that predicted one quarter of all redesigned business processes will utilize gamification practices by 2015. In November, however, Gartner analysts contended that 80 percent of gamified applications will fail to meet their objectives because of poor game design.
Unlike a random game that you can pick up and leave on the spur of the moment, Gartner's September report recommended that a comprehensive strategy be developed by businesses before diving into the fun. This includes defining objectives, metrics and outcomes, assigning values to tasks and measuring results.