Digitisation – digital transformation – is one of the most important changes for all businesses: digital transformation is real and companies must take the right decisions if they are to avoid making fatal mistakes.
Within this context, gamification acts as a catalyst for the implementation of best practices in the company, for the company’s entire staff.
Although it is often thought that gamification is just about games, leaderboards and winning badges and prizes, it is actually much more than that: gamification can be a very successful methodology.
Not only is it able to act as a catalyst in the process of digitisation, but it will also involve all the players. It is a result which is quite difficult to achieve using other instruments.
But let’s make this point clearer and analyse digitisation, together with its implications, in more detail.
According to the definition given by The Enterprises Project, digitisation is about integrating digital technology into all business areas, in such a way as to radically change the way they create and make consumers use the content.
However, before implementing the digitisation process, it’s essential to focus on the company’s mindset.
In fact, digital transformation is much more than a buzzword or current fashion: it affects the company’s entire team, in every single company in the current economic environment, without any exceptions.
Digitisation is a cultural change: it requires organisations to challenge the status quo, experiment and learn how to feel comfortable with failure. This makes everyone grow.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.”
We often talk about digitisation and ask ourselves what are the best strategies to implement it, especially as far as the big issues are concerned: mobility, social media, big data, clouds and artificial intelligence.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to focus on the right goal.
There are few companies who actually react to the demands of corporate digitisation.
They often evaluate the impact of this technological trend for certain aspects of the business, but end up neglecting the overall picture.
Priorities change completely, the implications – social media, cloud, big data – are considered more important than the main driving force of change: a new leadership mindset.
Company managers are the shareholders who need to promote this necessary change.
In fact, they are able to understand the rules underlying the change and to contextualise them in the business in which they work every day. They can develop functional solutions, which their company really needs.
The managers’ in-depth knowledge and day-to-day supervision of the business are essential for making it work properly through the implementation of innovative solutions, such as growth hacking – which we analysed in depth in the post dedicated to this topic.
Without expert guidance, technical solutions, software and technological applications will certainly support interesting but… unsuccessful search.
The experience of managers who implement innovation
If the success of companies’ digitisation depends on a mindset and not on technologies, we wonder: what are the characteristics that managers should have in order to lead their company to digitisation?
In particular, he should be able to acquire the correct digital mindset in order to create concrete actions, without neglecting any aspect.
In the article “The 5 keys to a digital mindset”, Forbes provided an answer to this question, drawing up a list of the five qualities which a digital-minded leader must aim to have.
- Provide a vision on how the company will digitally evolve but, at the same time, support employees in applying them in their daily routines, let them experiment and learn from their mistakes;
- Give up your control by giving employees the possibility to choose, but at the same time continue to contribute to decisions and achieving objective;
- Combine the old and the new work mindset: mitigate the conflicts between old-fashioned employees – capable of providing the foundations necessary to ensure corporate profitability – and new employees – bearers of innovation, but vulnerable if “assessed” according to classical evaluation models;
- Rely on the data but also follow your own intuitions: data and statistics are fundamental when it comes to making decisions, but on the other hand, we need to make space for intuition, dictated by one’s own experience in the field. This is paramount for predicting the company’s future in such a rapidly changing reality;
- Be both skeptical and open-minded: a digital-minded leader knows how important it is to encourage in-company experimentation, an approach based on ongoing testing and change. However, never lose focus, be pragmatic in evaluating the results obtained.
In short, often the cause of business failure in implementing digitisation is the result of a lack of a real Experience mindset.
According to UX Planet, an Experience mindset implies a more honest and responsible attitude by managers towards their clients.
The target is a long-term relationship based on digital transparency and a social approach, which minimises barriers and intermediaries. The level of competitiveness will be high and consumers’ values will be given the right level of importance.
The real difference compared to the classic mindset is that it does not consider the consumer only as resources to be exploited for economic purposes. As a matter of fact, their value as individuals, with related characteristics and peculiarities, is now recognised.
It is the mindset that makes the difference, especially, but not limited to, the business context in which we live life.
We are now fully experiencing the digital era, therefore we can observe the enormous change in consumers’ behaviour: they are used to products and services with a high standard of quality, thus they have become increasingly selective in their choices.
They expect – even demand – to be understood and satisfied by companies.
Of course, the growth of competitiveness in all commercial sectors makes consumers more selective.
Consumers’ needs are being increasingly anticipated and are being provided with many more opportunities every day.
In this way, their decision-making power increases. At the same time, the level of their loyalty to a single brand decreases.
Technology increases the speed of these changes, and companies need to find ways to keep up, if they want to take advantage of the benefits digitalisation has to offer.
These advantages are listed in “Keeping score: why digital transformation matters”, a study which shows us the real value of digital transformation for a company.
The study was conducted by Coleman Parkes Research on 1770 business and IT managers in 21 countries worldwide (9 of them belonging to EMEA, Italy included) on behalf of Ca Technologies.
The data show the results obtained by companies which have invested in methodological technologies and models (Agile and DevOps in particular) in order to improve their business model or a part of it:
- + 35% of revenues from new activities;
- + 44% in the speed of getting-to-market – the extent to which the company shows itself to be aligned with the needs and expectations of its acquired and potential customers;
- + 69% improvement in the customer experience.
But the value that technology is able to generate for the company will be annulled if there is not a structured corporate strategy to support it.
If the mindset of the company’s staff does not follow the guidelines of the change.
“Il digitale, che è la cosa che ha innestato la trasformazione,
non è l’obiettivo sul quale l’azienda deve focalizzarsi.
Anzi, arriva dopo. Prima le persone.”
Renzo Noceti – cofondatore e Ceo di Simbiosity
The strategy is key to digitisation: implementing the right method can make the difference between business failure and success.
This is confirmed by a study carried out by MIT and Deloitte, “The 2015 Digital Business Global Executive Study”, where it emerges that companies that avoid risks are not able to develop to meet their potential and risk losing their best talent. In fact, employees of all ages prefer to work for companies that are committed to digital progress.
Most of the respondents said they want to collaborate with organisations which are active in the digital environment and looking for the best opportunities in the digital world.
That’s why companies, in order to keep their employees and attract new talent with good potential, must constantly improve and update themselves on digitalisation.
Furthermore, according to survey data, the digital agenda must be guided from above.
According to the majority of employees, they have higher confidence in the success of the implementation of new technologies if managers show that they are mastering the right “digital fluency“.
If leaders have the ability to show how the added value of digital technologies will affect the future success of the company, employees will be more likely to use them.
A digital leader will be able to combine a clear digital strategy with the ability to guide its transformation of the company.
In one question, respondents were asked to indicate the greatest obstacles to achieving digital maturity.
According to more than 50% of employees belonging to young organisations – i.e. in the initial stage of their life cycle – the lack of a digital strategy is the main cause of failure.
While employees of older companies stated that too many business priorities and the fear of poor digital security are the most difficult obstacles to overcome.
In short, the potential of digital technologies – clouds, socials, mobile, analytical, AI – are useless if they are not combined and used together.
However, the research carried out by Accenture Strategy Italy revealed that managers are willing to implement them.
For example, with regard to the role of AI in companies, 70% of Italian managers are convinced that they will play a strategic role, and support their immediate adoption.
The abilities of companies and managers must be demonstrated through their methodology, that is the way in which technologies are integrated into the business and how they benefit employees and customers.
The Agile method and gamification combined to digitise businesses!
Let’s see how merging the Agile methodology and gamification levers provide an infallible tool for digitising companies.
The term Agile methodology, as referring to software development, was introduced in 2001 as part of the Agile Manifesto (more properly called Manifesto for Agile Software Development), edited by Robert C. Martin, Martin Fowler, Kent Beck and others.
The principles on which agile methodology is based are:
- individuals and interactions are more important than processes and tools;
- the functioning of products is more important than comprehensive documentation, it is better to keep it to the minimum necessary;
- collaboration with customers has priority over compliance with the contract negotiation;
- the readiness to respond to change has more value than adherence to previous planning. This means changing priorities which are necessary to reach the final goal.
You may be wondering why this Agile method, which is used for software programming, relates to gamification in the business environment.
This is easy to explain: gamification, thanks to its capacity to create a high level of engagement, is immediately able to obtain high user-friendliness rates.
This allows the company to receive concrete information which, owing to its quantity and quality, provides real answers based on objective data – that is, it is data-driven. In this way, each process will be modelled on the basis of an actual understanding and use of applications by users.
Based on these objective responses, managers’ decisions are formulated, processes and interfaces redesigned, and thus ensure a continuous process of improvement.
Both the Agile method and gamification are based on trust and teamwork for achieving company goals.
An expert leader with a digital mindset will be able to combine these two powerful tools to encourage his team, by providing them with feedback as part of this evolutionary process. This will help in digitising the work environment, thereby achieving improvements and meeting their goals.
At the same time, the adoption of a digital mindset which uses the logic of gamification will be facilitated by the human inclination to play.
This is confirmed by statistics on gamification:
- 61% of CEOs, CFOs and other senior figures say they take breaks every day at work to feel more productive;
- since 2010 more than 350 companies have launched gamification projects;
- the value of the gamification market in 2018 was nearly $6 billion.
Agile gamification and the digitalisation of businesses
When they are implemented in the company, gamification levers build new processes and create a single team made up by employees and collaborators that want to achieve the same objectives.
They also engage the end user, who can play a role in the internal actions performed by employees. This is possible thanks to a network created among people.
Thanks to the recursive processes managed through marketing automation, gamification obtains facilities and processes for the “extension” of the company: call centres, store managers, sales networks and other digital possibilities.
The main consequence of the use of gamification is the generation of implicit data by the users, but deduced from the use of applications, which allows us to implement Agile methodology in an effective way.
The report, “Achieving Greater Agility: The Essential Influence of the C-Suite” produced by Forbes Insights and the Project Management Institute, analysed how companies can implement and make the most of agility.
The survey collected answers given by more than 500 senior global figures on the importance of agility in a company, on the creation of a supporting culture and on the skills needed to adapt to sudden changes in the market.
The data obtained state that:
- 47% of CEOs are urged by the board of directors to make progress on digitisation;
- 84% believe that business agility is essential for successfully implementing digital transformation;
- 41% noticed an increase in profits and/or revenues thanks to the Agile method;
- 50% say that thanks to its agility, the company is at the forefront of the market;
- 47% say that agility helps them make faster decisions;
- 47% say that agility is useful for meeting and fulfilling the expectations of their customers and consumers;
- In financial terms, 31% of companies with a high level of agility increased EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) by 20%, compared to a 1% increase achieved by companies with average agility.
Furthermore, the impact of a correct implementation of the Agile method through gamification levers will have long-lasting effects, triggering a virtuous circle that will last for many years.
The report by McKinsey & Company, “Secrets of successful change implementation” presents interesting data on organisations that have integrated change factors.
It shows how the impact of these changes improves the financial results of companies vis-a-vis those who have a poor record of implementing innovation.
Above all, the positive effect is continuous and increases over time!
The people interviewed included more than 2,000 executive figures belonging to 900 companies in different sectors.
They assessed the performance, skills and practices of their company after 2 years and they detected a further increase in financial benefits, which were twice as high as the previous year.