Can gamification contribute to effortless robotic process automation?

game-pieces-and-dice

Robotics and automation have been covered in many articles, but robotics with some sort of game on top? That sounds new and refreshing – utopian, even. What could be better than blending work and games? I’m convinced – and hopefully you will be too by the end of this blog – that in addition to being fun, gamification can accelerate your internal RPA efforts and become a self-evolving automation culture booster.

As you may or may not know, gamification, or “manageable motivation,” is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. Gamification commonly employs game design elements to improve user engagement, organizational productivity, flow, learning, crowdsourcing, employee recruitment and evaluation, ease of use, usefulness of systems, physical exercise, traffic violations, voter apathy and more.

Research suggests that gamification has positive effects on individuals. Gamification can also improve an individual’s ability to comprehend digital content and understand a certain area of study. It usually leverages crowdsourcing, which itself often utilizes gamification to get people more excited and willing to support projects.

Invite people to join the RPA fun

So where do I see a connection to robotics? Well, considering that RPA is not an exclusive IT big-boy club, why not build a company-level framework, define a standard toolkit and gamify the experience of people contributing to automation efforts in their daily jobs?

RPA was created as an easy and approachable way to balance old-school, time-consuming, bureaucratic IT transformation. To become a lightweight RPA developer, you require only a little training, some real-life exercises, lots of goodwill and a willingness to learn something new. That is the secret RPA sauce in an open-to-everyone automation culture.

People in operations have their own stuff to do, I get it, but what if you created a positive, competitive, team-oriented game to get people to spend some time to think about how to automate their daily routines? They can register their ideas in a standard way and then either automate them by themselves or let others automate them on their behalf.

This is all made easier when some kind of reward system is put in place. A point system, badges and tough-to-achieve levels of experience can actually work like a charm on many employees.  People tend to get competitive. They like to be part of a team and will play simply to be on the top of the leaderboard. An RPA game would be open for everyone to see, –so other people, including participants managers, would be able to follow along.

Not enough? You can always put a tasty carrot at the end of the stick: Create a budget, send recognition letters, make game badges, flags or custom trophies or just buy some expensive prizes like tablets or laptops. But trust me, successful gamification is mainly about running the program as a competition and keeping a company scorecard where all eyes can see. Then you can just sit back and watch teams and players compete against each other.

So what is the tangible benefit for an average player here? I bet not everybody in your company is able to share their ideas in one standard place. People have trouble creating a good business case, calculating the benefits, automating simple and more advanced tasks, or just driving submission2completion ideas by your standard RPA Team. This time you — yes You – orchestrate your team’s time and effort and can help contributors succeed.

Money and effort well spent?

I covered the people/players part, but gamification, like any other project, requires leadership and costs money. The company needs to feel that this money and effort are well spent. Fortunately, it is fairly easy to prove that the company itself is the biggest beneficiary of gamification. Corporate life is known to all of you: yearly targets are always challenging, everybody struggles to find resources to complete their planned projects, and on top of that, line managers struggle to get their employees to contribute more, to stay involved and properly motivated, to submit creative ideas to make work easier, simpler and more automated, and to continuously work on their skills, project exposure and leadership experience.

This is exactly where gamification rules! You can extrapolate your automation skills to the gaming effort, invite and involve an army of contributing people and press the “play button” to become more agile, more robust, with faster turnaround times and better net promoter scores. Clients may be sneaking behind the curtain to see how you are able to get results faster than anticipated, faster than anybody else. On top of that, who said you cannot wrap your experienced automation staff and your chubby bag of ideas in a commercial model and sell it outside of your mothership for a big bag of money?

The options are endless if you do it right, so stay tuned for more details and start planning how to use gamification as a powerful new addition to your RPA toolset. Good luck!


Piotr-Osipowicz-headshot-ironman_maskPiotr Osipowicz is a DXC Robotics and Automation Partner and a manager with more than 10 years of experience across several disciplines including Finance and Accounting, Lean, IT Support and PMO. An evangelist, strategist and digital transformation consultant, Peter focuses on empowering business decision-makers to integrate into their processes the new IT opportunities come from industrial revolution 4.

Comments

  1. Piotr! So true! The best way to take the pressure off, but still get the work done for Automation and also upskilled labour is through Gamification! A healthy competition, short term goals, recognition and visibility to management through Gamification will be such effective model.
    Lovely article!

    Like

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