Ullerup, Ask2; Andreasen, Kristian Emil3; Tambo, Torben4
1 Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 WebDanmark3 Kanda4 Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Gamification is a key notion in shaping of future software experience platforms for consumer and business information systems. Gamification has originated from software in the form of computer games and transcended into a design movement for digital experience. Certain parts of gamification are closely related to online presence in e.g. accessing websites of the gamified software, past scores, levels, settings and earned badges, interaction in multi-player implementations, and a general omnipresent and omniplatform contextual awareness. Features that only can be created in data-intense and heavily networked organisations and environments. Gamification is also pushing substantial data amount back to hosting facilities. Gamification is thus broadly engaging the enterprise farther than just being a game or just being related to user interface (UI) design. Gamification needs a deeper analysis on the core issues of strategy, business and technology. This is also known as Enterprise Architecture (EA). In EA, alignment and coherency between technology and business is closely managed over time. The view of this paper is thus to interpret gamification from the grounds of strategic thinking on technology and business and to develop a set of governing enterprise architecture principles for the gamified enterprise. Gamification must serve a clearly formulated strategic purpose in order to avoid customer dissatisfaction, erroneous spending, secure customer service readiness, and maintain sufficient remedies for rapid change of the gamification expression. From the EA view, technology must be designed and segmented into supporting pace of change, bridging between consumer and enterprise touchpoints, and have traits of flexibility and ruggedness at the same time. This paper is presenting selected case studies related to gamification in learning software and in multi-channel retailing. A case of learning software is presented where national infrastructure of the primary school system is interacting with the learning sessions. The actions, activities and results from the gamified software are stored in the national infrastructure to save teachers from keeping records. At the same time, the national infrastructure is used to control the sequences, levels and badges of students in the gamified software. The software itself is drawing on open software architectures of game components reflecting medieval game sceneries. The case displays gamification as both intensive data consuming and generating. The increased level of adaptability seems to empower at least some user segments. The “automation” of the teacher’s data collection is evident, but is not immediately easy to create strong value from. In retailing, gamification is interesting to attract consumers to online sales channels. Gamification must be seen differently than “simple” advergames intended for typically single player entertainment and production or brand promotion. Gamification must necessarily serve business objectives: As marketing vehicles, as improved e-business, as cross-channel motivators, as constituents of loyalty creation, and as proxies for manual customer interaction. In a case of specialty retailing, gamification was found to be relatively well matching strategic marketing objectives, integration in to existing technology, and channel strategy. The retailer thus realised a high degree of “gamification readiness” and could for its product and customer segment demonstrate gamification as a positive contribution to market positioning. Both the increased level of consumer interaction and the corporate insight gained illustrate gamification as related to a data-centric enterprise architecture. Gamification is characterised by ongoing changes of user interests and game portfolios, and a shallow presentation layer must be supported by a strong layer of user persistence as well as a platform-spanning recording of user activities. The data retrieved from gamification is of value and can for both cases be characterised by automation, actor-awareness, behavioural analysis, and a straightforward application potential of data driven application management and enhancement to further consumer/student experience. The gamified data generation has thus a cyclic character. From the EA view, data need to be structured below products & services as well as goals & initiatives (business); data is above, but related to systems & applications and networks & infrastructure. The technology is Thinking gamification and enterprise architecture jointly is suggesting alignment between the gamification initiatives and business strategy, existing and future technology, and clearly expressed business objectives. Existing systems and processes can through EA be clearly mapped to suggest relevant initiatives and priorities. Future systems and processes can be assessed for process impact, feasibility and governance. The paper demonstrates that the single-most key benefit of gamification is the harvest of data from the situation of the user and the extent to which these data can be brought into business value.