Tag Archives: gamification

Tquila’s Gamification Engine: Under the Hood

Gamification with TquilaAs Iain mentioned in an earlier post, we’ve been busy building a gamification engine on the Salesforce platform for a client.

In this post I dig a little deeper into how the engine works.

Design considerations
Having gathered requirements from the client, we first considered off-the-shelf gamification apps. Looking at what was already available gave us some great additional ideas – but also confirmed that we needed to create a bespoke solution.

As we designed the bespoke app, we kept a few key elements in mind:

  • It had to be flexible: our client’s business embraces change, so the gamification engine had to as well. It should be easy for an admin to modify the rules that award points and badges.
  • It had to deliver in real time: users want instant gratification, so they need immediate notification when they’re awarded new points and badges.
  • It had to be fun and sexy: users expect slick, engaging experiences. In order to successfully drive the end business goal – increased collaboration and productivity – the system has to make users love using it.

How the engine works
The first step is stakeholders deciding which activities they’d like to gamify.

Then an admin user accesses the Gamification Admin Console, and defines the specific actions that will be gamified – for example, “Lead Creation” or “Contact Phone Updates”. The admin then allocates points, based on specific activities and different users’ roles.

The next step is badge and trophy creation: uploading icons for each new badge and trophy, and defining achievement rules and weightings for each group of users.

The rule definition is fairly simple. Using common operators like AND, OR, NOT, SUM, the admin creates functions that include actions and weighting that users must fulfil in order to win an award.

For example: in order to achieve the “Lead-Gen Leader” badge, a user has to create 50 leads and update all the phone numbers for the leads. To set this up the admin would define the rules as:

AND(50″Lead Creation”, 50″Contact Lead Phone Update”).

To keep the evaluation process simple, the functions are compiled into an easy-to-process tree dataset. Using the Composite Pattern, whenever a new badge is created, the dataset is loaded and the evaluation is carried out invoking the same interface on different nodes, whose implementation depends on node types: AND, OR, NOT, SUM, etc.

Keeping users engaged: What they see
Each user has a “Social User Profile”, which acts as their gamification and achievements dashboard. Here they can see which badges and trophies they’ve achieved, future goals, points, trends and their activity timeline.

To simplify navigation and tap into users’ competitive spirit, we created a number of widgets, like friends and rivals.

To support the engaging UI, we added some different kinds of notifications. An element of instant gratification is important, but users don’t want to feel inundated, or suffer from email overload. So we’ve balanced different levels of on-screen notification. We built a nifty javascript framework that collects notifications and displays them in Salesforce – either as subtle animations or full-screen events, depending on the achievement.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Tquila’s approach to gamification, please get in touch! We’ll follow up with a code-centric post soon, which will give you more insight into the structure of our system and design decisions we’ve made.

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We’re building a gamification engine on Salesforce!

Tquila loves gamificationPiow piow! Gamification is so hot right now. In fact it’s probably too hot, with many online services adding badges and a leader-board to their sites without always thinking about the business value. Its popularity means there are also a lot of misconceptions about gamification (How can I make my accounting app more like World Of Warcraft? Can I bring Angry Birds into my sales pipeline?).

So what is gamification? Gamification is about bringing elements of what make games fun, addictive and rewarding in to every-day business applications. Why? Because if you can harness even a part of the energy users put in to games like Plants vs Zombies (yes really), you can super-charge your customer activity and employee performance.

Recently I’ve been working with a team at Tquila on some exciting new gamification features aimed at driving specific user behaviours within Salesforce. We’re not just adding trophies, we’re starting from business goals and working up from there. We’ve pinpointed different behaviours we want to encourage (initially around capturing quality contact data) and have built a bespoke engine to help our clients change their focus over time.

Why didn’t we use one of the myriad of gamification add-ons currently available? Because we spent time understanding our client, and nothing out-of-the-box was going to get them where they wanted to go. Cost was also a factor: why pay a monthly fee per user for something quite generic? Instead, we created a bespoke gamification engine that’s easy for the client to manage – and we’re all really excited with the results.

We’ll continue the rollout in the coming months, and we’re looking forward to sharing the lessons we’ve learned. My colleague Dario has driven the technical design, and is keen to share information on the engine itself. If you’re interested in learning more about gamification, this book by Kevin Werbach came out in October last year, and is an excellent start.

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Chatter + GPS = Tquila Loco for iPhone

Here at Tquila Labs we have a few brand-spanking new mobile apps that we’re showing off, let me whet your appetite by telling you about Tquila Loco for iPhone.

Our team has built an incredible location-based app that lets you check into your Salesforce Accounts, Contacts or Opportunities using Chatter and your iPhone’s GPS – think of it as foursquare for Chatter. We’ve thrown some gamification into the mix too taking user adoption to a nearly addictive level!

Internally we’ve been using the app with enormous success. We have people working all around Europe and now it’s easier than ever for them to know who’s nearby, often letting them draw on the skills and connections of one another. What does this mean for the bigger picture? Sales close quicker and our network of knowledge is better lubricated, business couldn’t be better!

If you’re in or around London and would like a demo just let me know.

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Football Fever & Social Enterprise

Football fever is definitely here in Europe. Strolling down the street, you see many bars, placed TVs on the sidewalk. In front of those flat screens, you see soccer fans glued to UEFA games and chucking down jugs of beers. When their teams score, you hear instantaneous celebrations. It’s simply an awesome experience.


After Germany’s 2:1 win over Denmark last night, I decided checking out football betting sites. According to users, the Spain/Germany (5 to 2)  has the highest odds of facing off in the UEFA 2012 final game. (40% speculation tips that.) Followed next by Germany/Portugal (6 to 1) or !6.67% odds. In the third places, it’s Spain / France, (10 to 1).


Same thing is happening in the IT world, Salesforce has Chatter and bought Radian 6 (social intelligence tool) for $326 million and BuddyMedia (Social Marketing tool) for $689 millions. Oracle bought Virtue (~$300 millions). And, Microsoft bought Yammer for cool $1 billion. Those bets are certainly much bigger than the UEFA pools. :-p

Who shall dominate the social enterprise? This is a very interesting topic? Will it be the one with biggest wallet? Most resources? Most sales channel? The ultimate victor is still to be determined.

According to the gaming theory, the general public loves to participate. Given there are incentives, their participation will be  even more active and may even attempt to sway the outcome. A group of people usually has more knowledge and resource than one individual, and hence can make better prediction and/or influence the outcome.

I am a technologist at heart and naturally interested in programming languages. Over the years, programming languages evolved from Assembly, to Cobol, to Fortran, to C, to C++, to Java, to Python, to Ruby, and now to Node.Js & Clojure. (Not in any specific order.) The process of evolution is ongoing. I have even experimented with non-english construct programming languages like Linotte (http://langagelinotte.free.fr/wordpress/). It is evident that human nature languages are richest way of communication. Programming languages are bridges between human and machines.

I ran into Mark Zuckberg in 2008 and asked him what he saw 5 years into the future. His answer was very simple, “People desire to communicate.” A few months ago, he bought Instagr.am for a cool $1 billion.


I am curious why isn’t there already a programming language that is social by nature? Until now, most software development paradigms are inward focused – Software developers write some application, testers quality check it, and the users validate or invalidate the application. BDD has started looking at the problem from the outside-in approach.

I am curious why can’t we go a step further and develop a truly social programming language. Initially, the development will broadcast expected feature specifications to the public, who can vote up and vote down on those features, and affecting the path of application development. A scenario could be described as following.

1. Specifications are drawn up and broadcasted on Chatter, Twitter, Facebook, or internal social enterprise platform.

2. Expected user population gives their feedback and vote up / down those specification.

3. Application is developed according to user’s feedbacks.

4. Certain features are released; and, receiving more user voting.

5. Modification to features are implemented.

The cycle of development progress according to users’ input. Special prize to user who gives best input or suggestion to the development. (gaming theory).

It’s clearly, this new programming language would provide richer user interaction experience from day one and present a radically different approach of constructing applications. In another word, why couldn’t one have a programming language that utilizes social networks from the onset?

UEFA 2012 is still under way. I don’t like gambling. Hence, my input is muted. But, it’s certainly fun to watch and share my opinions with other spectators.

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Gamification – The Revolution of Work Culture

This thoughtful piece on Gamification was written by one of our excellent consultants at Tquila, namely Benson.

Gamification is the integration of game play mechanics into non-game applications. It is not the conversion of a non-game application into a game but it is a methodology to influence user’s motivation. This technique can encourage people to perform better in their work environment by transforming tasks that may be usually considered plain or boring into interesting game elements.

Why Gamification?

We understand that business is serious work so we assure you once again that Gamification is not the conversion process of your business into a game but rather making a few changes to your business workflow to motivate your employees. Think about employees who have an appetite for achievement and pursue team goals without the manager having to force them to do the same.

In the past few decades we have seen drastic changes in the technology realm, for example the evolution of devices like the radio whose latest avatar is an iPod. We don’t have to list every technology that has evolved – we are in the age of Blue-rays, Plasma, XBox, and GPS. One more evolution which is evident and noteworthy is the employee mindset – yes this is the age of the ‘Gaming Generation’.

Today our offices are filled with MacBooks, iPads and blue-tooth devices. Our technologies are so advanced that we have communication, collaboration and computing solutions on the same platform delivered through any device. Most of us have started our technology journeys by playing Sudoku or some other simple game on our mobile phones. The concept is simple, our mindset about entertainment has evolved parallel to the evolution of technologies we use. Even most of the technologies which we use in our daily lives for collaboration like social media, include game elements which motivate us to engage in those technologies more often. Rating stars, Like buttons, share buttons, Klout ratings, the latest +1 buttons from google and even Google’s news badges are game elements which makes a knowledge worker more interested in his work activity.

Having said all these things, think about a unique collaboration platform which makes work activities more interesting in your enterprise.

We have all dreamt of the feeling you get when you score the winning goal if you are playing for a Top EPL club like Man Utd. Imagine how would it feel assist your team mate score from a winger’s perspective. How would it feel like to be a manager, watching your team collaborate and play to achieve a common goal. Even if you have not been there, this could be exciting and inspiring even when you are watching the game on TV. We are, of course, talking about your enterprise which could collaborate and communicate and perform this way. Every employee inspired and motivated by each other with less stress and more productivity.

Seamless workflow and real-time collaboration using Salesforce

Salesforce implemented in your enterprise is the perfect solution for all your collaboration needs. Salesforce Chatter, the collaboration tool from salesforce.com gives your organisation the capability of leveraging the social aspects of your staff by motivating them to collaborate the fun way. The very interactive features of chatter like User profiles, Groups, Feed monitoring and File sharing allows your users to reduce meeting times and focus on productivity. The recommendations feature helps your employees to follow the right people to get the relevant and accurate information. You could reduce tension and avoid panic by extending chatter even to your employee’s mobile devices. Use analytics for quicker decision making and do even much more.

Success means…

If you are a person who has seen the ins and outs of the business by now you may have a question. Does Gamification really work? Let us be honest with you, when you introduce game dynamics into your enterprise it comes with a warning tag. Amateur implementation of game dynamics over your enterprise could be disastrous. Gamification has to be implemented by using thorough business analysis and by employing comprehensive solutions to leverage every social aspect of the work environment. Hera at Tquila we have Europe’s best architects who understand your business and have in-depth knowledge and understanding about the cutting edge cloud and social enterprise technologies. Delivering unsurpassed and robust solutions that provide real time results to business and employees is our passion.

If you desire a better workflow by implementing our comprehensive yet simple business solution; if you want a cheaper and faster solution for your enterprise; there is only one way of achieving this and now you know what that is!

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