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June 4, 2011

Gaming Master Data Management, by Peter Perera

by Dan Power
Gamification

Want to improve the quality of business data while increasing enterprise system adoption? Turn MDM into a game.

In recent months, the “gamification” of business applications has become a hot topic. Gamification seeks to incorporate game mechanics into software applications for, say, CRM and ERP. The goal is not to literally make MDM a game but to instead apply game mechanics to MDM and data quality.

Gamifying MDM fosters participation in managing data quality in business applications. People love playing computer games. Few would say the same about entering data or taking care of data quality in CRM and ERP systems.

Online discussions, blogs, webinars, conferences and articles regularly discuss how to get people excited about data quality. Gamfication may be just the cure for curating data on customers, products and parts, suppliers and employees.

Gamification is all about software and data adoption. Naturally, if we are using enterprise software, we’re using the data. If we’re using data, it must reflect reality and so offer value. People like to use applications with high quality data. Someone said “Data quality is about data use. If data is not used, it won’t be any good.” If so, then gamification of MDM is a no-brainer.

Three ways to gamify MDM are

  1. embed gamified MDM gadgets in software
  2. gamify software functions
  3. gamify MDM software itself

With the recent movement towards making applications “MDM-aware,” gamification may be a good way to embed MDM functionality into other enterprise applications.

Here’s how Software Advice envisions an embedded MDM-type dashboard in an SFA application:

Data Quality Dashboard

An MDM dashboard in a CRM application can show the number of duplicates and data completeness by user and even award points based on quality levels. Applying game mechanics can provide real-time data quality levels, show data quality progress and even make managing data more fun.

Directly gamifying business and MDM application functionality are two other ways to accomplish key MDM objectives. A variety of game mechanics are applicable to MDM and data quality.

Achievement levels, points and leaderboards are types of gamification mechanics that can help drive data quality in software. Points can be awarded to users of applications where they can view their rankings and data quality achievement level.

While MDM dashboards employ some game dynamics, operational components of MDM software can also benefit from them.

Multiple-player game dynamics can be used to collaborate on data quality and foster a culture of community data stewardship.

Some are questioning the hullabaloo over gamifying enterprise applications. After all, computer games have been around for a while. Any pinball wizard from the 1970’s can testify that “incentivizing” is not particularly new and innovative. But the application of gamification goals, specifically to engage users of business applications in data quality, is new and promising.

Fear that gamifying software will create a distraction is unwarranted if the game mechanics are well-designed. The goal of MDM gamifcation is to ease, not hinder, participation in attending to data quality.

Gamifying MDM involves understanding what motivates software and data users and mapping those motivations to the game mechanic. MDM gamification can engage software users in initial data capture and ongoing data enrichment, data monitoring and data management.

Peter Perera is the Founder of The Perera Group, a CRM and MDM consulting firm working with organizations to increase customer data usability and value and to profitably boost revenue generating performance.

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