The gamification options available to the SharePoint community have just been expanded. In a press release this morning, the announcement of Badgeville for SharePoint went public, giving organizations an additional toolset to add to their end user adoption strategies. The company is a recognized brand in the community primarily for the work they’ve done with Yammer, but this new offering was designed specifically for SharePoint 2013 – both on-premises and SharePoint Online (part of Office 365) – and it fully integrates into their existing tools for Yammer.
For those who are focused on the success of SharePoint, end user adoption is one of the top concerns – and, arguably, is what is driving many of the productivity and usability feature development activities of the product teams at Microsoft. It is a problem space that affects all knowledge management and portal vendors, not just SharePoint, and the gamification space is beginning to attract a number of vendors and service companies who want to solve this problem.
More from Badgeville’s release:
Companies have invested heavily in SharePoint and are migrating to SharePoint 2013 to facilitate employee and customer collaboration, but many organizations struggle to keep their users engaged. 80% of Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint and there are 150 million users. Yet only 66% of customers will use SharePoint 2013, while 28% will use SharePoint Online by the end of 2014, according to Forrester Research, Inc.¹ Badgeville for SharePoint is designed to leverage the large investments made in SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online by creating an engaging and personalized experience.
Badgeville's newest product offering, Badgeville for SharePoint, is the ideal solution to motivate employees and customers to contribute to SharePoint communities and intranets to improve the quality of conversations and collaboration. With Badgeville, businesses can easily design and reward desired actions to significantly boost engagement and drive business results.
Badgeville for SharePoint features:
- SharePoint Support: Works with SharePoint Server 2013, Office 365/SharePoint Online, Yammer and My Site profiles
- Out-of-the-Box Setup: Simple configuration for common Badgeville gamification use cases including Social Enterprise, Conversation Starter, Forum Expert and Content Creator
- In-depth Customizations: Define points, levels, badges, tracks and missions with custom branding and visuals
- User Insights: View granular user activity by specific action and timeframe
While this new offering is good news for SharePoint champions who are investigating gamification options, their claim that it’s an industry-first solution is simply not true, and I’m disappointed in the claim. I’ve written and presented on this topic for several years now, and have run into a number of vendors who have built custom solutions and commercial products for gamification within SharePoint, including the Beezy (@followbeezy) platform – which was initially built for SharePoint 2010 and has very robust gamification capabilities. My good friend and fellow MVP Jussi Mori (@jussimori) has also written extensively on this topic, and even developed an end user adoption methodology called Gravity to help organizations incorporate gamification into their strategies.
How does gamification impact end user adoption of platforms like SharePoint, you ask? According to the research of gamification pioneer Jane McGonigal:
“The reason humans collectively spend 3 billion hours a week playing games is tied to the psychological effects delivered by game mechanics. The neurological flow of dopamine, triggered by these underlying mechanics, plays a powerful role in creating positive emotion. And when game mechanics are applied to marketing problems, the response is the same. No wonder gamification can elicit such extraordinary behaviors. Turns out, regardless of the context, we’re hardwired to play."
The hard part is not the technology (it never is) but the methodology for deploying the technology so that it fits your business requirements and culture, is measurable, and adapts as your needs change. In call with the Badgeville team yesterday, we talked about their methodology and deployment process, which they recognize is central to the success of their new platform. The “Badgeville Solution Process” is part of the company’s “behavior Lab” and walks a customer from requirements through design, build, verification, and operation steps to ensure that the technology meets the intended goal, and is focused on improving measurable business activities. Some of the specific activities defined and and implemented are in the diagram below:
Badgeville is certainly the biggest name in SharePoint gamification, having participated in the last couple SharePoint conferences and with fairly good brand recognition within the space. As I mentioned, there are other vendors (like France-based EMS Conseil and their Skillisy platform) and experts(small independents, mostly) who can provide similar guidance and work with your chosen gamification vendor (I’ve met folks using Bunchball, for example), but Badgeville appears to have the complete package under one roof with tools for SharePoint and Yammer WITH the methodology to implement.
If you’ve been investigating various methods for improving end user adoption and are considering gamification techniques, its worth taking a look.
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