Game Mechanics Could Steer BPM Adoption

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In business process management (BPM), fostering an all-on-board attitude within the enterprise is not as simple as it sounds.

Research firm Gartner estimates that one-third of efforts tied to BPM will not reach their full potential because of organizational politics.

Gartner surveyed 157 BPM professionals late last year, with 53 percent of respondents flagging internal politics as the main obstacle to company-wide adoption of BPM initiatives.

"You may have several department leads…responsible for their functional silos, and now you want to…ask them to work together, perhaps sub-optimizing their area in deference to what's going on in another area," says Elise Olding, a research director at Gartner.

Power struggles within a company's culture could occur when authority and power slip away from enterprise silos to more of a holistic state.

The good news, however, is that adoption rates could improve if a company uses gamification techniques, defined as using game mechanics in a non-game environment to motivate individuals and alter behavior, to bridge organizational divides across the enterprise.

"The Gartner Predicts Special Report" indicates that by 2015, 25 percent of all redesigned business processes could incorporate at least one or more gamified components.

"We thrive on the ability to understand how we're doing in relation to 'Are we supporting our corporate initiatives and strategies?' or 'Are we being a good player on a team with the rest of our colleagues?'" Olding says. "You can very surgically and pointedly use [gamification] to increase behaviors, motivation, and adoption."

Expect to see a shift in skill sets when cultivating change and driving BPM adoption rates across the enterprise; organizations will begin to measure effectiveness a little more.

Efficiency is a great measure, but there's only so much efficiency you can drive out of an organization," Olding notes.

Any time change is introduced in an organization, it's important to measure the immediate impact on key stakeholders and the behaviors that will drive long-term, sustainable change, Olding says.

The Gartner report also touched on the BPM technologies that enterprises will use to match an estimated 40 percent increase in unstructured work processes by 2015.

BPM-enabled cloud platforms are expected to support 20 percent of shadow business processes by 2016, which could shed more light on traditionally undisclosed processes. "Shadow processes" were defined by Gartner as hidden, informal work practices that include things like spreadsheets, email, and face-to-face collaboration, often under the umbrella of IT.

Organizations, however, must pay due diligence when implementing rewards, incentives, and other behavioral drivers because it could have the opposite effect.

For instance, currency could change point structures if there is a monetary component to your gamified process; while 1,000 points might be considered substantial in the United States, it might be considerably less so elsewhere.

"There are definitely cultural considerations and different types of personalities…that are going to be drawn to certain types of incentives," Olding adds.

Though technology fundamentally changes the way work is completed, shared, and reviewed in an organization, Olding points out that "it really comes back to the ability of people to be adaptable and flexible" to organizational change and to mold behaviors and patterns to newfound disciplines before additional layers of change are implemented.

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