Is Gamification in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM a gimic?

To answer the question in the title, Microsoft certainly doesn’t think so because they have just acquired FantasySalesTeam.
Microsoft Acquires FantasySalesTeam, an Innovative Sales Gamification Platform, to Help Organizations Increase Productivity
I will warn you this blog post is the Hosk thinking out loud, it doesn’t really go anyway but I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject.  I will add I haven’t used a gamification system yet but there usage is on the rise so maybe it’s a matter of time.
Core CRM
When I think of the core concept of CRM
Customer
Relationship
Management
It strikes me as feeling a bit old fashioned and slow moving when you consider the fast paced world of social media, twitter, instant messaging, the OMNI channel.
some of the benefits of a CRM system is having one source of data which multiples teams and individuals in an organization can use and leverage to effectively do their jobs.
CRM system give workers access to knowledge which can often be tucked away in individuals computers/heads/folders/documents.
CRM system can automate procedures
CRM systems can unify lots of desperate excel spreadsheets, bespoke software, different software all under one new CRM system.
CRM systems are

Information
People
Processes

What is gamification?
Here is a good definition of gamification
Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.[1] Gamification taps into the basic desires and needs of the users impulses which revolve around the idea of Status and Achievement.
The main concept is making parts of process into a game and encourage competitive behaviour.
This sounds fun and funky but at it’s core you are measuring workers contributions with a score based system.  The purpose of the employer is to encourage the competitive instinct of your workers and encourage them to obtain more points.
Monitor
The monitoring and measuring (against co workers) seems a bit mean and possibly sinister but the reality is your bosses already compare your performance against your peers and this is traditional how pay rises are allocated, so it’s nothing new or something to fear.
Teaching
The game elements interest me because when you play any computer games the points system teaches users how to become more effective at the game and how to get more points through action and the award of points.  It encourages innovation of processes and techniques to game (improve) the system and get more points.
Know who is effective rather than feel
One of the beautiful concepts of gamefiction is it can show you who are the most effective workers rather than using the often unscientific and potentially flawed method of opinion.  gamification makes companies assess the processes they go through and add value to those processes, it makes companies analyse what they do.
Fun
Would gamification make work more fun? hmmm I find this hard to believe but badges and points can motivate people in funny ways.
When the Microsoft Dynamics Community brought out new badges the gamer in me was urged to obtain them for seemingly little reward (does anyone care I have most of the badges is anyone impressed?)
Check out the Dynamics leaderboards here
Learn about Dynamics Community Badges here
I’m sure there are many people who have played a computer game on their computer/tablet/games system in order to get a power up, badge or level up, staying up late and depriving themselves of sleep to get it.
Incentives
Gamification tries to tackle the conceptive of incentivisation.  Are your workforce incentivised to work harder.  When I worked on a helpdesk in one of my first jobs, people were not incentivised to work harder and answer more helpdesk queries because

If you solved a query you were rewarded with more queries to solve
No one was measuring how many bugs/queries people solved
no one was rewarded for working harder.

Sales people are usually one of the few areas of the business who are incentivized to work harder due to commission based pay (e.g. you sell more you get more commission).
Games can be gamed
Games can be twisted by players to get more points.  If a company was using this system for dealing with incidents.  It could lead to players waiting for easy incidents to get more points rather than dealing with the incidents from the most important customers or priority cases.  I imagine there is a balance needed to reward the players but get the focus of the game aligned correctly.
Not all tasks are equal
The problem  with gamification is some tasks help everyone but the effect can be hard to calculate, not all tasks are created equal.

setting up shared information
automating processes
delivering letters

If sometimes necessary tasks are worth less points people will be less inclined to do them because of the opportunity cost (e.g. they could be doing a task which could get them more points).
Companies would need to think carefully about the rules of the game and possibly insist on a bit of turn taking.
Facts
Reading the interesting article mentioned at the start of this article
Microsoft Acquires FantasySalesTeam, an Innovative Sales Gamification Platform, to Help Organizations Increase Productivity
The facts quoted are impressive

Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI) recently ran a pilot with 130 sales reps and compared their performance to almost 700 others. Those using FantasySalesTeam on average closed 88% more deals at 213% the average contract value.
Wireless Zone saw a 176% increase in total sales, 35% increase in specific product sales and a 9% increase in profit in the first month they ran FantasySalesTeam.

It would be fascinating to see the stats of the most successful sales people in terms of phone calls, emails, meetings in comparison to the least successful.  What are the more successful sales people doing, implementing gamefiction will not only highlight the most productive but give you a template as to what other workers need to do to emulate them.
Summary
Gamification is looking at the processes of a companies Microsoft Dynamics CRM system and trying to motivate people to use it more effectively.
I’m fairly certain it could make things more fun (who doesn’t like bettering their fellow workers) and reward people who are working effectively.
Interesting and I look forward to seeing how Microsoft will integrate the new company.
If anyone has any experience with Microsoft Dynamics and gamification please leave a comment I would interested to hear your experiences.Filed under: CRM 2011, CRM 2013, CRM 2015

https://community.dynamics.com/crm/b/crmbusiness/archive/2015/08/03/is-gamification-in-a-microsoft-dynamics-crm-a-gimic