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Playing is part of human nature. People spend endless hours playing games like Monopoly or FIFA because they are enormously motivated to improve their scores or to win the game. Within gamification, studies and businesses examine how this motivation can be transferred to work environments. Thereafter, game elements are implemented into work processes in order to increase motivation and performance. Today, gamification is mostly applied in marketing, employee training or hiring processes in big companies. However, few practical examples exist on gamification of management control systems (MCS), which should be of particular interest, since management control is at the core of every business. The problem is that management control is often perceived as pure mathematical exercise without connection to corporate goals. The work of management controllers is misunderstood due to a lack of understanding figures and indistinct communication. The question is, whether gamification could be applied to overcome these hurdles. This study examines opportunities and limitations of gamification of MCS on the basis of small and medium enterprises operating in Germany. Literature review and expert interviews help to understand the relationship of playing games and MCS, to assess issues of MCS that gamification could solve and to evaluate whether game elements are already applied in MCS. The results of this academic work suggest that potential for gamification of MCS exist, especially with regards to visualisations and graphical illustrations, while limitations are for instance difficulties in translating complex processes into game elements.
The Flow-Theory is one of the fundamentals for gamification, describing how games and gamification designs keep increasing difficulty to match the growing skills of a player. Basically, when you play a game for the first time, you don’t know yet the rules and intricacies of the game. That’s why it on-boards you with simple tasks and exposes you to few features. In Angry Birds you just start with one type of birds. But once you become more familiar with the game, it adds new features, more difficult challenges, fiercer enemies. Angry Birds gives you more complex structures to destroy and adds more types of birds.
This is what gamification designers aim at replicating. Instead of exposing a user to all features of let’s say a CRM system right away, users need to show repeatedly that they master those tasks and gradually the CRM system unlocks more features. Sony demonstrated an example with their Sony EvolutionUI for Android phone users.
If you don’t adapt difficulty to a user’s or player’s skills, the system either starts out as frustrating or becomes boring over time.
Brazilian startup Beonpop is taking a refreshing view on how to measure social media influence. Already sporting 300,000 users globally, Beonpop currently harvests data from Facebook (connections to more social networks are planned) and calculates a timeline of POPs - Beonpop's own influencer score - that rank performance and influence. Based on Facebook-typical activities such as Likes, comments, and shares on a users posts the POPs are then used to rank the user against connections.
A newcomer like Beonpop is highly needed, after prominent competitors such as Klout have stalled with their features. Influencer scores have become a criteria for hiring decisions for social media positions, and may indicate to companies to better pay attention to certain influential individuals when there is a complaint about a service or product.
Unlike Klout, Beonpop's score is open ended and not limited to a value between 0 and 100. This fact has led in the past to Justin Bieber showing a higher Klout-score than president Obama, and required Klout to adjust their algorithm.
The HCP Gamification Service is now publicly available on SAP HANA Cloud Platform Trial. It allows to rapidly introduce gamification concepts into applications. The service includes an online development and administration environment for easy implementation. The underlying gamification rule management provides support for sophisticated gamification concepts, covering time constraints, complex nested missions and collaborative games. The service comes even with a subscription to a sample application for easy exploration.
Here is the documentation how to get started with the SAP HCP Gamification Service Trial.