Is gamification a trend or an actual trend that has disrupted software? Gamification in a nutshell pertaining to enterprise software is the using simplification and accessing usability of consumer based apps to make enterprise software easier to use. The evolution of enterprise applications from character-based green screens to now more user-friendly interfaces have utilized gamification to ease the long awaited trend of simplifying enterprise software. From green screen character input and legacy-based systems to clean nice drag and drop functionality, enterprise software has come a long way, although it has been slow to adopt change.
Has gamification gone too far though ? Enterprise software is still complex and it should be for the nature of the operations, tasks and automations it performs. Newer features have simplified complex tasks, eased reporting issues, workflow creations, eased configuration and administration concerns and has increased business agility multi-fold. That being said, we have seen cases where gamification has gone too far and has oversimplified the purpose of the software. This makes the software no as useful as before as there are now “hidden features” that were easily accessible are now buried deep into the settings or architecture. For technology that is supposed to benefit the organization usability and ease of access has actually been diminished. All enterprise softwares are experiencing system overlap by incorporating complimentary functionality that bolster and enhance the core functionality. This confuses organizations as the traditional software categories have evolved to other systems entirely and in some cases creating new software categories altogether.
This is especially apparent in CRM software. Traditional CRM contains the standard sales, customer, supplier information, sales forecasting, marketing automation as previously expected and possibly salesforce management in some advanced CRM software. Enter social capabilities – CRM vendors have oversimplified the core functionality going too far and ruining functionality. Users are left to unscramble what was once easy access has now been hidden in new configuration tabs and extra menus that are totally unnecessary. Simple workflows that may have needed a slight tweak or a slight automation enhancement now involve several steps to get to the required information. We have seen some cases where this has occurred but the social aspect added little value and even complicated tasks. This is more prevalent in B2B software. To make something simple takes thought, understanding by balancing utility and usefulness. To get it to that point, a clean UI that is easy to use and makes sense in order for work to get done is the challenge of gamification. To take a complex software and/or process and simplify it to enhance usability that still adds value and makes sense to users is difficult.
Enterprise software vendors are reimagining their UI’s using gaming principles to ease functionality, integration, configuration and usability concerns. Two enterprise software vendors that have done this extremely well are INFOR (mainly ION, its middleware solution) and UNIT4 – Agresso Business World – Self Driving ERP. While other ERP vendors have updated their GIU’s it is not to the optimum capabilities. A fine balance between usability, utility and usefulness would be ideal for organizations to easily change, manage, update, create new information, define new automations, tweak and create new approvals and workflows may require a complete overhaul of the entire SOA which is not feasible, as solutions will have to be reengineered pretty much from scratch.
Vendors that have achieved this fine balance are excelling within their respective spaces. Enterprise software has achieved an equalization where 73% of functionality is now common among industry leaders. The remaining 27% are the differentiation factors. Whether it is vertical expertise, solution size, strategic solution alignment, localization, support, maintenance, business agility, data security, administration, TCO, ROI, portability, configuration and deployment models are now more areas where organizations are paying closer attention to than previously within the software evaluation process.
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