Gamification at Work: Designing Engaging Business Software

Gamification is becoming a common buzzword in business these days. In its November 2012 press release, Gartner predicts that "by 2015, 40% of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification as the primary mechanism to transform business operations. In the same report, they also predict that - "by 2014, 80% of current gamified applications will fail to meet business objectives, primarily due to poor design".

What is gamification? Does it belong in the workplace? Are there design best practices that can increase the efficacy of enterprise gamification efforts?

Janaki Kumar and Mario Herger answer these questions and more in this book Gamification @ Work. They caution against taking a "chocolate covered broccoli" approach of simply adding points and badges to business applications and calling them gamified. They outline a methodology called Player Centered Design which is a practical guide for user experience designers, product managers and developers to incorporate the principles of gamification into their business software. Player Centered Design involves the following five steps:

  1. Know your player
  2. Identify the mission
  3. Understand human motivation
  4. Apply mechanics
  5. Manage, monitor and measure

Kumar and Herger provide examples of enterprise gamification, introduce legal and ethical considerations, and provide pointers to other resources to continue your journey in designing gamification that works!

Gamification, Enterprise Gamification, Gamification of business software, enterprise software, business software, User experience design, UX, Design, Engagement, Motivation.

Table of Contents


Janaki Mythily Kumar
Head of Strategic Design Services, America

Janaki Kumar is the Head of Strategic Design Services, America, SAP's Design and Co-Innovation Center. She leads a team of interaction designers, visual designers and user researchers to design innovative solutions for strategic customers. She has extensive experience building and leading high performance user experience teams. She had led globally distributed teams, with UX professionals in the US, India, China and Germany. Janaki has a Masters in Finance from India and a Masters in Information Systems from Boston University. She has filed for 18 and holds 13 patents for innovative user interface concepts. She can be followed on twitter @JanakiKumar and she is a regular contributor to

Mario Herger

Mario Herger is a Senior Innovation Strategist at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, California and Global Head of the Gamification Initiative at SAP. He is ranked at the "Leaderboarded Gamification Gurus"-list under the top 5. In his work as head of the Gamification Initiative at SAP he has encountered and supported gamification efforts in the enterprise from multiple levels and departments, like Sustainability, On Demand, Mobile, HR, Training & Education, and Banking etc. He has driven the awareness around gamification inside and outside SAP by organizing and leading innovation events around this topic, holding full day gamification workshops, working with gamification platform- & service-providers and game studios, and by incorporating gamification into SAP's strategy. He has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Vienna University of Technology and an undergraduate degree in International Business Management from the Vienna University of Economy.

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