Does Open Source Gamification Work At The Enterprise Level?
February 20, 2023
Businesses in the modern day are consistently seeking ways in which they can enhance customer engagement while also driving better employee engagement internally. For the last couple of years, many of these strategies have involved the use of gamification software that adds game mechanics to certain areas of the business. Gamification might be a relatively new term today, but the idea behind it started long ago.
Some reports state that one of the earliest uses of gamification elements was seen in the 1900s, particularly when a popcorn brand decided to add prizes to their bags. Sure, it wasn’t gamification as we know it today, but it still laid out a foundation.
When it comes to implementing gamification for performance management in an enterprise, you need to be careful. While open-source gamification is something that has gained recognition, you need to take several factors into account. In this article, we will consider whether an open-source gamification system is an appropriate move at an enterprise level.
The Role Of Gamification In Various Industries
Several industries have started to look at the use of gamification efforts in order to enhance certain business processes. A gamification solution can be used either internally to help with employee engagement or to get customers to engage with the business externally.
One of the most common industries where we see the use of gamification software includes educational systems. Researchers explain that gamification tools have significantly enhanced progress among students in educational platforms. This does not only include traditional educational elements but can also be useful in providing employee motivation. In this case, it is useful to turn to gamification strategies when providing employee training programs.
Of course, education is not the only industry where we see an increase in gamification software being used to create game mechanics that motivate employees and customers.
In one report, a study found that the education industry makes up around 19% of all gamification software and solutions used in the modern day. Apart from education, several other industries now also use gamification software to assist with performance management, employee performance, customer loyalty, and general business success.
- The marketing industry makes up 20% of enterprise gamification solutions.
- The media industry makes up about 16% of current gamification implementations.
- Even the retail industry is implementing gamification, making up 11% of the market.
- The finance and entertainment markets both hold a 9% contribution to current gamification implementations.
- While healthcare, human resources, transportation, and the food industries are at the lower end here, they still make up 16% of the overall gamification market.
As you can see, most industries have already delved into the use of gamification software for internal and external operations.
These statistics show that gamification solutions are a good idea and definitely here to stay, but when it comes to enterprise gamification, things are often a bit different. You must pay close attention to the goals you have in mind with enterprise gamification. Promoting customer engagement in an enterprise setting is different from harboring better employee engagement. With this said, it is still a good idea to see your industry already utilizing gamification as a way to drive improvements within the enterprise or company.
What Is Open Source Gamification, And How Does It Work?
The term open source has gained a significant amount of traction in a short period of time. Open source generally refers to software or solutions where the code is accessible for modification. Many developers will not charge a fee for access to the app when it comes to open-source software, but this is not always the case. In certain cases, a fee is charged to gain access to the source code.
The major advantage of open-source software is the fact that your developers can easily work on the project, expand it, and make customizations that best fit the needs of your enterprise.
Open-source enterprise gamification is still a somewhat controversial topic, however. Before you look at the concerns and benefits associated with the use of open-source gamification, let’s first consider what it means.
Open source gamification generally refers to software that incorporates these game mechanics in their design. There are many different examples of open-source software that offer gamification elements.
The primary idea behind these software solutions is to give you a platform that you can use in your business, which already comes with certain gamification elements.
Let’s take a look at a few open-source gamification platform features to help you better understand what it all means:
- Docebo: Docebo is an online platform and an excellent example of gamification software that focuses on providing open-source code. This is essentially a learning management system, also known as an LMS for short. It incorporates a variety of different learning modules into a single system, then adds social elements, leaderboards, and more. These are the gamification elements that the software uses in order to improve employee performance and engagement. It also creates friendly competition, which allows sales teams and other employees to complete their training faster.
- AGE: AGE is another example of open-source software that allows your developers to implement gamification elements into your business. The engine is described as an abstract gamification system and is available on GitHub. It uses CoffeeScript as a programming language and allows you to define achievement rules and achievements and specific events.
- Security Belt: When it comes to internal performance management, a good example of open-source gamification implementation is the Security Belt. This is another GitHub-hosted system that focuses not on your standard business objectives. Instead, it provides employee motivation for security factors. Employees are provided with self-assessments on the security procedures they follow and use, then get points based on the answers provided. This is a good example of gamification software that helps to enhance security within a company or enterprise.
- RADGRAD: Yet another example of gamification software in the education industry is RADGRAD. This particular system was developed for STEM students who have not yet graduated. The system uses gamification to help motivate the students to complete their tasks, do homework, and study efficiently.
These are only a handful of examples where gamification software is provided as an open-source system. Now, with this said, you will notice that some of these are free to use and download, whereas others may require a fee. Open source does not necessarily mean free – it simply refers to the fact that you gain access to the source code used to program a gamification software.
Once you get your hands on the source code of the application, then you can start to drive into the gamification software to make it “your own.” There are sometimes specific regulations that you need to adhere to, but with many open-source options, you’ll have the opportunity to change everything from the appearance of the platform to the specific functions that it offers. You can then also choose to create a system that allows customers or employees to connect with mobile apps, for example. This way, they can perform certain actions on a mobile device without the need to first come to the office to check in.
Is Open Source Gamification Enterprise Ready?
Enterprise gamification is on the rise. Companies are using gamification tools to motivate the sales team and to assist with employee performance management.
The question that now remains is whether or not the open-source gamification systems on the market are truly ready for implementation at an enterprise level. This is what we are going to take a closer look at to help you realize whether you can boost employee performance, engage customers, and reach more business objectives through enterprise gamification.
How Does Open Source Gamification Software Work?
We should first consider how exactly this type of software works. This will help you understand what to expect if you decide to take the open-source route in order to implement a gamification platform.
As we have previously mentioned, open source means you gain access to the source code. The source code of gamification software is the programming code that is used to make the platform function. Think of the code as the backend that drives everything you see when you sign into the gamification platform and start to use its features.
There are different programming languages that can be used to develop gamification software. This means you will need to be able to work with the specific programming language a platform uses that you decide to opt for.
In most cases, the business owner will get a software developer or engineer on the job. If the programming language used by the open-source gamification platform is C++, for example, then you need to ensure the programmer you hire for the task is fluent in this language.
Some of the open-source gamification software options come as “plugin” systems. This means you do not get an entire system out of the box. Instead, you get pieces that you can put together in order to create a system – and they often rely on an existing client relationship management or other internal platforms that you already use. You will then essentially extend the platform you already have in your business with these “plugins” – by implementing the code into your system and attaching it to the appropriate existing functions.
As an example, you might want to motivate the sales team to perform better. In this case, you could use a gamification system that awards sales teams based on their effort and achievements. In this case, you already have a system that the sales teams work with. The new integration would then add “achievements” to the system, which employees can obtain when they achieve their goals. You could also use open-source code to implement a leaderboard that shows which employees have the best performance amongst your teams.
Efforts Involved With Open Source Gamification Software
The idea of using an open-source gamification system is enticing. You get a piece of software that already contains the functions you require to boost customer retention or perhaps to enhance the performance of your sales reps. You can simply make adjustments in order to ensure the system complies with your own requirements.
While this is one way to look at it, you also need to focus on the fact that it may take more effort when you approach your gamification solution from this angle.
When you use open-source software, there is often little support provided when it comes to customizing the system. In fact, some companies may also charge you a fee if you want technical support from their side. This means you likely have to get a developer in to set up gamification, implement game rules, and ensure the system is efficient in engaging employees or customers.
Since the system is already coded, some developers may find it difficult to dive into the code and customize the system according to your needs.
There are several reasons why this may happen:
- The developer might have their own coding style, which is not coherent with style used to code the software that you want to use.
- The developer might not be experienced in the specific programming language used by the system. This is especially a concern if the open-source software uses multiple programming languages for the various sections that make up the platform.
- The software itself might have certain limitations that make it difficult to implement features that you require to streamline your business processes.
- Sometimes, even though promoted as “open source,” you only gain access to a specific part of the code. This means some code used in the development of the system is not provided to you – which restricts the level of customization you are able to achieve when working with a development team.
Extending Open-Source Gamification Platforms
Apart from making alterations to the code to meet your business outcomes, there are times when you may want to extend the actual functionality by introducing new features in the platform.
Some of the best gamification software will often provide access to apps on mobile devices. This is a feature that you might want to implement with your gamification strategy – which is often the case when the goal of your solution is to enhance customer loyalty and engagement.
Adding mobile app compatibility to software that does not have this as a default function can be a tedious task. This can make it hard to ensure your goal management strategy stays on track – as you suddenly need to spend more time and money to get a mobile app that would work with the open-source software you decided to opt for.
This particular restriction can sometimes make it tough to improve engagement among your audience or staff effectively. When there is no way to connect the open source software with the new systems that you need, the development may also need to write bridging scripts, or manual data entry may be required by frontline workers to ensure everything goes according to your plans.
Should Enterprise Gamification Look Into Open Source Options?
Now that we have taken a look at a few factors to consider with open-source gamification systems, it is time to provide an answer to this question.
The truth is, there is no straight yes or no answer. This is because every business will need to take a closer look at their internal teams or the target audience they have in mind. You will need to carefully consider your existing product knowledge and know exactly what you expect from gamification software.
You also need to consider factors like security. In the modern day, cyber threats are real and something that an enterprise needs to be especially wary of. Does open-source software offer you the protection and security you need to keep cyber criminals from invading your servers? These are important questions that you need to ask to ensure you do not end up with software that may expose the nongaming contexts of your business or leak customer data. This would make it difficult to maintain happy customers and could even result in legal action against the enterprise.
Setting Up Secure Gamification Frameworks At An Enterprise Level
There are different approaches that an enterprise can take when they want to use gamification to reach their sales goals, boost public recognition, and ensure customers remain happy and satisfied with the products or services they are offered. While open-source software offers a solid foundation, when you need a system that won’t cause headaches, then this might not be the right software for you.
One of the best alternative solutions is to compact a company that specializes in helping enterprises add gamification to their existing systems. These companies are able to comply with the requirements that you have and work not only for enterprises but also for small businesses. The right agency will help you find meaningful ways to implement gamification into the platforms you already use without the need to hire extra developers and find ones with the right skills to work on any backends.
Step 1: Determine Your Gamification Requirements
Before you decide to choose software or contact a company to help with your gamification strategy, you first need to ensure you fully understand the requirements of your business. This will make the process of implementing sales gamification or other types of game elements into your business model much easier.
Start with where you want to implement gamification. This may include gamification for internal teams or for your customers. This particular decision plays a major role in determining the type of gamification platform you need and what it should offer.
Once you know who your gamification system will target (employees vs. customers), you need to consider the type of platform you want.
Here are a few examples of platforms for internal operations:
- A sales dashboard that uses data collection related to sales reps. The system awards the sales reps for their performance and offers a special bonus for the top-ranking reps at the end of each month.
- A dashboard for floor employees that encourages checking in via a mobile app. This helps to ensure you can keep track of the check-in and out times of employees. It also gives you the ability to determine which employees are likely to be late. The system could award an achievement or badge for every day the employee checks in before a specified time, for example.
- A gamification system that tracks real-time analytics among an internal call center. This can promote healthy competition in the workplace and offer bonus rewards to those employees who work hard in order to ensure they meet their goals.
Apart from internal operations, many companies, including enterprises, are looking at ways to engage customers more effectively with the use of gamification. Here is a couple of examples use cases:
- A mobile app that allows the user to scan their loyalty card barcode at a local store every time they shop. With every scan, they are awarded points in the form of a virtual currency, most likely related to the total amount they spend. They can then choose to “cash in” these points for special deals and vouchers.
- A mobile app that accompanies a digital platform you give customers access to. Gamification on the landing page of the mobile app may require a daily login and the completion of such tasks as writing down a comment, checking the user’s calendar, or making new entries in a journal.
These are merely a few examples of how the best gamification software is used to drive better sales outcomes and improve performance metrics among enterprises, as well as smaller businesses. When you know what you expect from the gamification process, it is easier to approach a company and share your requirements with them.
Step 2: Find A Gamification Provider
As the industry and interest in these game elements evolve, many companies have started to become gamification providers. These companies offer software that helps to easily implement gamification in your business. With so many providers out there, however, you will likely have a tough time choosing the right partner for your business.
It is important to start by listing down a number of providers that can help your business adopt a gamification strategy. Once you have a list to work with, it is time to do some research on each agency or software provider. This will allow you to find the pros and cons that each of these companies will offer – and ensure you can make the right choice when picking who to work with.
Some of the factors that you should consider include the following:
- What type of gamification software each of these providers uses? It is always a plus point if you find that the company uses a proprietary in-house gamification platform that they developed themselves. This means the developers at the company are well-educated and understand every aspect related to the platform. This type of knowledge essentially makes it easier for the developers to customize the system internally to offer a better fit for your business process.
- Integrations are particularly important when you are looking at setting up a gamification strategy for your business – both in cases where you focus on internal staff and where customers are given access to the gamified content. The specific integrations you require depend on the systems you already use. For example, you might want to look for integrations with Zapier, HubSpot, SalesForce, Pipedrive, and Slack. These integrations can significantly streamline your internal processes and make it easier to adopt the new gamification elements in your business.
- A demo is always useful – this gives you access to a “demo account” on the system so that you can have a first-hand experience with how the gamification platform works. See if these companies offer a demo of the integrations and gamification programs that they offer. Make sure you thoroughly explore the demo to ensure you know exactly what you get with the system.
Getting a quotation from different sources is also another good idea at this point. Pricing can significantly differ among companies that offer gamification services. Even among those that offer open-source gamification tools, you will often find that you still need to pay a monthly or annual fee if you wish to utilize the full platform. When you have multiple quotations in front of you, you are able to compare the features that each of these software solutions can offer you and compare this to the expenses that it will bring to your company.
Another important step here is to talk to a professional representative or the brand advocates that are involved with the company. These are professionals who are highly experienced in the specific platform that they are selling, so you can ask them important questions that help you shape the right decision for your own enterprise.
Once you sign with a specific provider, you need to ensure they have a full understanding of the requirements your business has. This will ensure the plan that they develop for you is personalized according to what your business needs to make gamification a successful strategy. The initial process may take some time, as the company now needs to work closely with you in order to get everything up and running – but once this initial process is complete, you can immediately start to implement gamification in your business and see how it affects the performance of your employees or the loyalty and engagement presented by your customers.
The Bottom Line
Open-source gamification may seem like a great idea for enterprises, especially since the code can be modified according to your needs. The problem, however, is that there are some security factors that need to be taken into account here. When you want a gamification solution in your business model, it is a good idea to reach out to a company that specializes in this type of system. Spinify can help you understand what gamification features are right for your business and even integrate gamification software with your existing systems. Book a demo today.
Put those insights into practice.
Set your team up for success by improving their performance through gamification.
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