Gamification can help solve that problem. Vendors that offer software as a service, for example, could gather data on how people use their software and where they get stuck, which will help those vendors improve their products or offer better training, says Lusher.
The technique can also help companies assess their workers' competencies. "Gamification generates a tremendous amount of data on your employees' skill levels," points out Mario Herger, who worked on gamification at SAP until founding his own consulting company, Enterprise Gamification, in April of 2013. "If you gamified every system and every interaction in your corporation, you'd know exactly what each person does and at what level of skill."
Even without that degree of penetration, gamified enterprise systems have the potential to help companies easily zero in on employees with especially valuable knowledge and skills, says Herger. "This is potentially the largest and most valuable data cluster in the corporation."
Wanda Meloni, founder and principal analyst at M2 Research, estimates that consumer-facing gamification will make up just over 50% of the 2013 market, but by 2016 the enterprise will be responsible for 62% of that market share.
To find out how companies are using gamification and what benefits they are receiving, Computerworld talked to a handful of early adopters. Here, we highlight the three most interesting applications we found.
NTT Data Inc.
Headquarters (U.S.): Plano, TX
Number of employees: 60,000 total; 18,000 in North America
Number of IT employees: Everyone, with the exception of "a couple of thousand support personnel," says CTO Imran Sayeed. "IT is our business."
NTT Data started experimenting with gamification in 2011 as a way to encourage participation in its internal social network, which is called Socially. The company launched the social network to develop faster and better solutions to customer problems and spark innovative ideas, says Sayeed.
There was just one problem: When the company first launched Socially, only 400 out of the 7,000 employees in Sayeed's division (Application Development and Management) joined the networking platform. So Sayeed added what he called "karma points" for logging in, posting content and performing other activities on the platform. Each month the person with the highest number of points earned a prize, such as an Apple iPad. Within five months, participation had jumped to 4,000, he says.
The collaboration that gamification helped stimulate has led the company to create two new centers of excellence that are developing new products and services, says Sayeed.
Both centers — one that addresses regulatory reports used in insurance, the other focused on mobile testing services — came about after employees collaborating on Socially realized a custom service they were developing for one client would be of interest to other NTT Data customers.
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