2013 Gartner ITO Conference - IT Ops Gamification with ITPA


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This is a presentation I gave at the Gartner IOM conference in Orlando.

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  • Approximately 6MM collective years have been spent playing world of warcraft. To put it in perspective, 6MM years ago the first human ancestors stood up on 2 legs.In just 30 minutes today my goal is to prove to you that IT Ops can be gamified to accomplish some goals that I think you’ll agree are pretty important.We’ll start today by presenting a Problem together with a thesis. We’ll take a quick segway to do a primer on gamification. We’ll then cover our example for how to gamify an IT Ops experience and cover some industry research to help demonstrate the effectiveness of this type of endeavor. Finally we’ll present our conclusion.
  • Every good game needs a monster orvillian.Much like villians in the classic game Gallaga, operational burdens stack up over time and create friction to our forward motion. <***Click****> Within IT while new stuff gets added to improve capabilities or support new business initiatives, the legacy technologies do not get removed. Each of these phenomenon, large or small, adds operational debt. <***Click***>Our villian, we’ll call him Oscar- because he has a bad attitude.. he forces intelligent, self motivated tech workers to perform large amounts of repetitive or low skilled tasks. He doesn’t care if our players have a PHD from stanford or if they’ve eached racked up a thousand hours of cisco certifications. He has no pity for 2a.m. pages and 3 hour bridge calls. To make it interesting today, I’m going to challenge you all to a contest. In the spirit of the topic, we will gamify our talk today. During my presentation, keep track of the # of times you see Oscar and after the session today someone will win a $100 amazon gift card. All you have to do to win is keep track of Oscar.
  • Oscar helps give our gamification experience a purpose. Similarly, foursquare highlights how easy it can be to apply game mechanics to a simple behavior. Foursquare is a subtle application of game mechanics. It is a location-based social networking site that rewards users for reporting their location via GPS. The user who checks in most frequently to a given location is awarded the status of mayor of that location. This looks a little like a game, but isn’t actually a game in itself. It’s more like a game layer imposed on top of an existing behaviour.We can gamify IT Ops to systematically minimize operational debt- overcoming many barriers to necessary behaviors that are otherwise tough to tackle.To start with, individuals deeply want to minimize repetition in their work life – they long for a variety of experience and opportunities to explore new frontiers.
  • The good news is that over time, we learn how to beat Oscar. Each group within IT has their own tools and techniques to address operational debt. And each individual within these groups has their own operational knowledge and experience that informs and supplements these tools and techniques.
  • So our gamification thought experiment today will be focused on the following question: how can we use gamification to encourage players to share their knowledge and their tools, and to create more knowledge and tools than ever before? If we can, we can get and stay ahead of the curve- if we can do that we can beat Oscar. Remember this multi- player twist… it makes our experiment more interesting as we proceed today. <Click> If we model the experience well, we might not shoot for 6MM years of engagement, but engagement will increase.
  • Now that I’ve framed the thesis and the high level approach to our scenario- I want to take a quick segway and cover the current thinking around gamification.. To make sure we’re speaking the same language.
  • Gamification refers to the “gamifying” of traditionally non-game processes and experiences through the purposeful introduction of mechanics that are designed to elicit specific, predictable behaviours, while simultaneously absorbing individuals in the experience by making it engaging and compelling. It is important to make the distinction upfront between what we traditionally mean by “games” (e.g. video games, board games, party games, etc.) and a “gamified” experience. Gamification does not entail the turning of a traditionally serious experience (such as filling out your tax return or a research survey) into a gaudy, frivolous entertainment experience. Instead, it is the identification of the subtle mechanics that make traditional games motivating, rewarding and engaging; and the incorporation of these elements into experiences that currently lack them. The potential value of gamification for business is an increased level of customer or employee engagement.
  •  Real games incorporate:- The idea of competition, against others or one’s previous achievements- “The idea of “play”: when a task, or a set of choices, becomes enjoyable or distracting for its own sake as well as what it’s trying to achieve- The idea of rules – that there’s a ‘game environment’ with artificial and pre-determined things you can and can’t do. It’s the rules and and an element of competition that separates “play” from “game”- The idea of imagination – there’s a creative, fictive component to gameplay which makes it truly engaging. The absence of these kinds of elements means that the experience probably isn’t a compelling game, even if it is decked out in all the trappings of a game
  • FlowThe Holy Grail for most game experiences is the creation of a state of “flow” in its users. ‘Flow’ describes the experience of full submersion in a process, which creates a sense of energized focus and 100% engagement [Csíkszentmihályi, 1991]. Being in a state of flow is often referred to as being “in the zone”, “on the ball”, “in the moment” or “in the groove”. It is the moments while performing a task where we feel totally capable and rewarded for the effort we are putting in. A state of flow can often be a reward in itself as humans find the state incredibly fulfilling and motivating. Flow is induced when performing tasks that are challenging but within our capabilities to complete. If a challenge is beyond our skill it becomes frustrating. If a challenge is too easy, it becomes boring. Inducing a state of flow is an important aspect of a successful game-like experience.
  • Game mechanics which refers to the actual rules and mechanisms that are employed to create the structured experience. We are familiar with these because we’ve all played games. Examples of such mechanics might include what you see here or also: Communal Discovery: “wherein an entire community is rallied to work together to solve a problem or a challenge. These mechanics can be both viral and very fun.Gaming dynamics are related to game mechanics but recognise that different people respond to the same incentives and rewards differently. Whereas game mechanics are static rules put in place to define the shape of an experience, game dynamics adjust the rules and mechanics in response to the player’s performance and the current game state.
  • To defeat Oscar, we will isolate various capabilities of our leading IT Process Automation platform and use them to increase purposeful engagement from across all aspects of the IT organization. We’ll treat this certain set of capabilities as gaming elements and proceed to demonstrate our central thesis.
  • Gaming Elements:Our first gaming element is a players ability to either create new tools or access existing tools that can reduce manual effort in the real world. We can accomplish this in 3 ways. First, the player can access external, existing IT Ops tools through a library of connectors and build business rules around the engagement of those tools. Second the player can write automations to interact with the real world (servers, nework devices, applications, etc.) that model existing work that might be performed manually.Lastly, the player can create custom apps, or if you prefer custom workflow, that guide interactions within or across teams to streamline efforts.Again, all three of the uses of this gaming element will have the effect of reducing manual effort.
  • Gaming Elements:Our second gaming element is that of creating and propagating shared experiences. This gaming element allows for operational knowledge to be created, shared, and collaborated upon. But it also allows the player to create unique pathways to the right operational knowledge- we call this a decision tree. As a supplement to classic search algorithsms, decision trees provide a definitive path to the ‘right’ knowledge for a given context. Imagine a series of questions and answers that guide the player to the right document.All players, regardless of their technical skills can create and share both knowledge and decision trees.
  • Gaming Elements:Our Third gaming element is community. <click> <click>With socialization players can collaborate and share their journeys. We lean heavily on this element to achieve ‘flow’ in the overall experience. Players can combine their efforts and share in the rewards. They can achieve recognition from their peers and from their leadership.
  • Gaming Platform: So our thesis today is that we can translate these gaming elements, which are tools for addressing operational debt, into a gameful experience that increases player participation.We illustrate the point by implementing 2 basic mechanics, a point mechanic and an award mechanic. Our point mechanic will track and measure O-energy and K-points. A unit of O-energy equates to one hour of recovered ‘real time’ per month. That is either an hour that someone, somewhere in the organization was spending on a task that is no longer necessary or an hour that would have to be expended in the real world to accomplish the same thing that we’ve implemented in our platform.A K-point is awarded for contributing and updating knowledge or contributing and updating decision trees. K-points are also awarded for accessing knowledge or decision trees. The theory here is that we need to encourage experienced players to revisit existing knowledge in order to maintain its currency- if they update the knowledge, they get additional points. K-points are awarded based on a sliding scale that balances difficulty with utility. <***Click****>Our Reward mechanic provides players with private spaces for mentoring and teaming- this reward is accomplished through leveling, which is accomplished at set thresholds of O-energy and K-Points. With each new level, you can invite a larger following to participate in your plans and efforts. Levels are achieved based on earned O-energy while awards are redeemed from available O-energy. The single award that can be redeemed for O-energy is computing power- or compute time on the gaming platform used to execute shared tools and process their results.Additionally we can build reward mechanics around contests with real world prizes like ipads or movie tickets.
  • So we have a gameful system that attacks Oscar with some important best practices:
  • But does it really work? To test our thesis we looked for independent research that might verify some of our assumptions and see if indeed gamification works.
  • The first study was conducted to see what effect, in terms of user engagement, the addition of game mechanics can have on an online community.In the experiment, two visually identical online groups were set up, which were both posed with the same question (“What makes the perfect T-shirt”) designed to stimulate conversation. The only difference between the experimental and control group was that the experimental group included game mechanics, while the control group did not. The experimental group’s mechanics included a progress bar, parallel goals, badges, a virtual currency and an appointment dynamic.There were clear differences in engagement levels between the groups. Specifically, the gamified, experimental group… <****CLICK****>…had more members who contributed responses (83% vs. 68% of members) <****CLICK*****>…were more likely to start discussions, as a greater proportion of posts were in response to other members’ answers rather than directly to our structured questions (37% vs. 3% of posts were comments in response to other members’ answers) <****CLICK****>…had a higher average number of posts per participant (2.3 vs. 1.5)
  • Perhaps the best example of gamification being successfully applied to an online community is that executedfor giffgaff, a simcard-only mobile virtual network in the UK. Rather than employing a traditional support team, giffgaff relies on its community members for customer support and other functions. They do not have a call centre. Members are rewarded with “kudos” which elevate their personal reputation and with “Payback Points” once every six months which can be used to pay for their mobile services, exchanged for cash or donated to a charity. Kudos and Payback Points are earned for everything from answering community questions, promoting the company or attracting new members. The implementation was so successful for giffgaff, that the mobile company, which only has 16 full-time staff members, has a customer satisfaction score of 91% - unprecedented for most organizations. Some of the statistics:<***CLICK1***>Over 10,000 questions were asked in the ‘Help’ forums in 2010 and the community responded with over 100,000 answers <****CLICK2****>100% of the questions were answered by the community <****CLICK3****>The average question response time is within three minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week<****CLICK4***>95% of queries are answered within 60 minutesOver 40% of customers contributed to the community in the first six months The giffgaff experience clearly shows the effectiveness of gamifying an experience.
  • Finally, with regards to community curation, website building service, DevHub, launched an updated, gamified version of their. The new site awarded users with points for adding additional elements to their site. As users earn more points, they gain access to new options for customizing their website. They could also fast-track this process by purchasing these features for real money. The gamification approach proved very effective in terms of both increased engagement and revenue:<***CLICK1***>Prior to gamifying the website, users would complete four actions before logging out (perhaps forever). Post-gamification, the average user completed twelve actions during their first session <****CLICK2****>In addition, twice as many new users now post to their blogs (up from 7% to 15%) Purchases also went up
  • So we have a gameful system that attacks Oscar and hopefully you’ve learned something new about gamification. Today we’ve learned that we can take a process and make it gameful to transform users into players. Players become more enthusiastic and if we do a good job, we create a sense of flow in the experience that increases engagement.So let’s try this at home and measure the results in your own organization.
  • And finally, I want to thank you for your time today and encourage you to email or text me your Oscar count and we’ll be in touch on collecting your reward.
  • 2013 Gartner ITO Conference - IT Ops Gamification with ITPA

    1. 1. gen-E: Empowering Human Ingenuity Gamify IT Ops How? Why? 1
    2. 2. Operational Debt Let’s Get Him! 2
    3. 3. We Can Gamify IT Ops 3
    4. 4. Defeating the Monster Knowledge & Tools RUNBOOKS IT Help DeskPlatform Owners (Apps, DBs, Networks,etc) Command Center 4
    5. 5. IT Help DeskPlatform Owners (Apps, DBs, Networks,etc) Command Center Shared Tools, Shared Expertise Shared Knowledge, Shared Experience 5
    7. 7. 7
    8. 8. Key Concepts, Elements of Game Design • Rules • Interesting Choices • Ability to Test and Refine Your Play • Competition • An Interesting Environment • Imagination 8
    9. 9. 9
    10. 10. 10
    11. 11. AN APPROACH 11
    12. 12. Shared Tools 12
    13. 13. Shared Experience 13
    14. 14. Community Combine Efforts Share Rewards Achieve Recognition 14
    15. 15. O-Energy: 1 Unit per hour of recovered ‘real time’ K-Points: Points awarded for contributing content, etc. Private Spaces for Mentoring & Teaming Computing Power Contests & Consideration 1 2 3 15
    16. 16. Clear Mission And Rules Display Progress Show Status Provide Rewards 16
    17. 17. RESEARCH 17
    18. 18. Evly experiment n=30 1.5 2.3 Non-gamified Gamified Ave. no. user posts Non-gamified (control) 83% 17% Contributors Observers 68% 32% Contributors Observers n=25 n=30 User participation Gamified (experiment) 37% 63% Comments Answers 3% 97% Comments Answers n=37 n=68 Community interaction Non-gamified (control) Gamified (experiment) Source: Findlay & Alberts, 2011 18
    19. 19. Awards Nominations Questions (2010) 10,000 Answers (2010) 100,000 Average response time 3mins (24/7) 95% answered in… 60mins (24/7) Source: Lithium Technologies The effect of gamification is pretty astounding and has even surprised us in what it’s able to do in the case of giffgaff” ~ Michael Wu (Principle Scientist of Analytics at Lithium Technologies) “ ”giffgaff 19
    20. 20. 4 12 Pre-gamificationPost-gamification Actions before logging out 7 15 Pre-gamificationPost-gamification % posting to blog Source: TechCrunch Purchases per active user DevHub BONUS LEVEL: How effective is it? 20
    21. 21. CONCLUSION 21
    22. 22. We transform users into players. Players are more enthusiastic. Players ‘in a groove’ are a game changer. Let’s try this at home. 22
    23. 23. THANK YOU! casey.kindiger@gen-e.com 23