At this year’s Worldwide Partner Conference, my colleague Neeti Gupta hosted a session on Gamification and the Next Wave of Loyalty Programs. In this session, Neeti discussed how, through gamification, you can motivate your employees and customers and drive high-value behavior and true loyalty. The session panel talked about how Microsoft partners and customers are using game mechanics to drive readiness consumption and community engagement. (Conference attendees can view Neeti’s session on demand, via Connect.)
“Gamification” is a buzz word in business, as are “loyalty” and “rewards.” Chances are, as a consumer, you’ve engaged with several gamification platforms – perhaps without even realizing it. That coveted Starbucks Gold Card in your wallet? It’s a form of gamification. So are loyalty and rewards memberships from grocery stores, and check-ins via apps like Facebook and Instagram. There are also more complex, isolated game environments used to help you achieve certain goals.
What is gamification?
Gamification doesn’t just mean games; it means using game mechanics (reward, satisfaction, challenge, competition, status/recognition) and game design techniques in non-game contexts to design behaviors, develop skills, or to engage people in innovation. Humans are drawn to the dynamics of games – they  satisfy our intrinsic needs, including desire for rewards, satisfaction, challenge, competition, and status. Simply put, people like to win and be recognized for it.
Effective gamification is about changing behaviors – moving from where we are today to where we want to be tomorrow. As we embark on this process, we must always think of the key question: “what is the bigger business objective?”
What MPN is doing
One business objective that gamification is very successful at achieving is training users on new products and systems. At the recent Worldwide Partner Conference, we released several new online readiness platform games. These efforts focus on the individual within a partner organization – giving players the option to learn in a fun and engaging way.
    1. Partner Profitability Challenge (PPC) can help you get trained on cloud solutions, particularly in tracks like Cloud SureStep, Cloud Transformation, and Driving Profitability. Learn to set benchmarks, identify options, drive adoption, and maximize profitability.

Play PPC if

      : you want to identify new opportunities and expand your profitability in the cloud.
    1. Application Builder Challenge (ABC). You’ve been assigned a mission: add IP services to your portfolio, then plan your business transformation to leverage your unique offerings.

Take the ABC if

      : you want to learn to take apps and business to the cloud. ABC training can help you build, market, and sell cloud applications. Also, learn to leverage your partnership with Microsoft!
    1. Building Trust in the Cloud. Learn about the Microsoft Trusted Cloud and how to communicate that trust to customers. Review mock sales conversations and scenarios so you’re ready for customer conversations about security.

Play the Building Trust in the Cloud game if

    : your customers are seeking assurance about the security of their data in the Microsoft cloud. Want to be comfortable in conversations about security, privacy and control, transparency, and compliance? This game will help.
To learn more about implementing a gamification platform in your own business, there is a great online course from Coursera. Through this course, you can study how gamification adoption is being implemented in businesses to help motivate, team-build, enhance productivity, and more.
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