IBM, Samsung & Allstate See High ROI Through Serious Games

Designing Digitally


It is a very exciting time to be in the eLearning industry, as computer and Internet use continues to grow and expand across all age groups & demographics, and businesses of all sizes and shapes are realizing the vast capabilities of eLearning programs for education, training and corporate efficiencies. Serious Games and Gamification – once-arcane concepts that bubbled up only in the Tech and Geek worlds – are now being discussed and utilized for marketing, administrative functions, human resource evaluations, corporate and industrial training programs and more across a broad spectrum of industries.

Serious games are of course the use of computer game-based systems and programs for purposes beyond mere entertainment. As Designing Digitally, Inc. has been trumpeting for quite some time now, younger workers and Internet-savvy individuals of older generations are quite used to computer-based operations and work. The use of computer-based gaming programs that can teach protocols and processes for the workplace as well as educate students of all ages on complex subjects is a natural progression and evolution of video gaming that started way back in the Seventies.

Now, large corporations and Fortune 500 and even 100 companies are embracing gamification for their ease of use, adaptability, fairness & impartiality during evaluations, and safety for on-the-job training. Recent case studies on Samsung, IBM and Allstate help to show the efficacy of these great learning and training tools for the new millennium.

For Allstate, serious games have enabled the insurance giant to receive innovative ideas from its employees around the country, thanks to a gamified social innovation tool from a company called Spigit. Since the employees of any large company are the ones “in the trenches” and doing the work, it makes sense that these individuals would be the ones to understand what is and what is not working in terms of company processes. Allstate wanted to tap into this large, collective awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the company, and serious games helped them do just that.

According to the case study report in PC Advisor, “Allstate has been running blitzes for four years, and has generated more than 5,000 ideas and more than a million visits to the tool. In addition to coming up with the ideas, participating employees can vote other ideas up or down, or add their own comments to existing ideas….One successful blitz resulted in changing the process of how claims are scheduled in an office. ‘It sounds like a mundane process, but leadership didn't recognize how complex it was and how much stress it was causing employees,’ explains Matt Manzella, Allstate's director of technology innovation. ‘Changing the process saved the company $18 million a year in adjusters' time.’”

You can read more about the success of Allstate in enlisting employee suggestions via gamification by following this link

Electronics giant Samsung desired to garner more user-generated content and traffic for its global website – which often go hand-in-hand from an essential search engine optimization perspective for online marketing. The company, like Allstate above, also knew that their product users could have insights on Samsung technology that could help newer customers. To do so, Samsung created a social media-based loyalty program utilizing serious game principles.

As the case study was reported on the Destination CRM website, “Combining work and play might sound counterintuitive, but companies that do so are already noticing real results. Samsung, for instance, mixed frivolity with serious business initiatives when it created…Samsung Nation through behavior platform Badgeville…Fueling competition, the game lets users level up, unlock badges, and gain subsequent rewards and recognition. Samsung, in return, saw 66 percent more users submitting 447 percent more product answers on its global Web site. Even more impressive, the user-generated content prompted 34 percent of users to put 224 percent more items in shopping carts.”

Learn more about the Samsung case study using gamification by clicking on this link.

Lastly, Ignite Social Media has some fascinating coverage of the 8th annual Serious Games Summit (Yes, you read that right!), featuring IBM’s own Serious Games Program Manager, Phaedra Boinodiris. (Yes, you read that right too – IBM has a serious games program manager!) Ms. Boinodiris is a bit of a legend in the video gaming industry, and she presented IBM’s utilization of serious games for marketing purposes that explain business process management to college students and city planning processes to CEOs, presidents, COOs and other leaders.

Quoting from the Ignite coverage, “IBM’s brand is difficult to understand these days. How do you help people understand these complex systems that IBM does? How do you explain something IBM helps with like business process management (BPM) and make sure the information is retained? To Phaedra, the answer was simple: you make a game. Innov8, a serious game created on the Vicious engine, was rolled out as an IBM academic initiative to explain BPM to students across the nation. To this day, over 1,000 universities use it. What does this mean for marketers? It means that IBM has a foot in the door with rising generations. Students going through college and learning about BPM learn it through an IBM product with IBM branding attached to it. This game gives IBM a presence in the schools, making an impression on the future leaders of the world and future potential customers. Moreover, Innov8 became the top brand for IBM within a few days of it going live in 2009. The number one lead generating asset for IBM became a serious game and it happened almost overnight.

Please follow this link to learn more about IBM’s efforts and their success with serious games for marketing purposes.

Clearly, huge enterprise companies are seeing great results by tapping into the creative communication and educational powers vested in serious games. We’re going to keep doing our part to share these successes with our readers, whom we hope will be interested in working with Designing Digitally, Inc. on your own serious games initiatives for your business. The future is here – are you ready to join us?