Why CIOs Need To Win At Gamification

Who wouldn't want to turn an IT task into a game?
Who wouldn’t want to turn an IT task into a game?
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Nobody ever promised you that the CIO job was going to be fun, right? I can’t make what is a hard job any easier, but I just might be able to help out with that fun thing. CIOs everywhere are discovering that there is a new movement sweeping through IT that is going to change how we do everything. This change has a name: it’s called gamification.

What is Gamification?

One of the best examples of where the concept of gamification can be used has to do with your company’s web site. What does it look like right now? When customers, suppliers, or even employees visit your company’s web site, what is their experience like?

If your web site is like most company’s web sites, it’s a fairly boring place. You’ve got the same set of standard information that everyone else has: what products you offer, who’s running the company, and how to get in touch with you.

The idea behind gamification is to change how users interact with an IT application (like your company’s web site). Gamification, at its heart, is simply the application of game-based psychology and mechanics that are used to get the user of your IT application to act the way that you’d like them to act. How hard could that be?

How Can CIOs Use Gamification to improve their IT departments?

So let’s talk about your company’s web site just a bit more in order to get our heads wrapped around this gamification thing. Forget for a moment what the current user experience with your company’s web site is and think instead for a moment what you would like it to be like.

In an ideal world your company’s web site would draw customers to it. Not only would they visit it, but they would also return over and over again. It wouldn’t be the web site that was drawing back, but rather the experience that would be getting them.

If you were to use gameificaton to enhance the company web site then you could add functionality that would perhaps allow visitors to earn points. They could do this in a number of different ways: buying your products, posting comments, “liking” your company on Facebook, tweeting about the company, etc.

The trick here is that you need to use your CIO position to work with the IT department to make it so that the company’s web site invites its visitors to interact with the site and motivates them to return in order interact more. Gamification is not a set of IT process or procedures, but rather it’s a design approach that transforms a standard IT application into an engrossing user experience.

The challenge here is that we’re still trying to figure out the rules for how to do this. However, the good news for CIOs is that if you can work with your IT department to come up with a way to do this, the you’ll have created something that will allow your company’s IT systems to deliver real value to your customers.

What All Of This Means For You

A CIO who wants to play a role in planning the company’s strategic direction needs to be able to show that they understand the importance of information technology and can use IT to make the company more successful. A new way at looking at how IT can be used to interact with customer has arrived and it’s called gamification.
Gamification is the process by which a CIO can apply game-based psychology and game mechanics to IT tools that will cause people to react in ways that you’d like them to. By taking the time and devoting the IT resources to gamifying an application, a CIO can transform the user experience into something desirable.
No, you are not going to be able to wave your magic gamification wand and suddenly get your customers to fall in love with the company and start to buy more of all of your products. However, with a little help from the CIO, gamification just might make it easier for your company’s customers to find, try, and buy what your company is selling. Finally! IT is doing exactly what everybody has always wanted it to do…!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that there are any customer interactions that are not good candidates for gamification?

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