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Gamification as a service : the future of banking?

Posted by Puneet Chhahira (View Profile | View All Posts) at 8:04 AM

Gamification -- the application of gaming principles and mechanics to non-gaming environments -- is not entirely new to the banking industry. Reward points on credit card usage, for example, is an established practice. But in the digital banking era, where the focus is shifting from enabling transactions to creating personalised experiences, gamification has to evolve into a more strategic and enterprise-centric practice.

Although our annual retail banking study conducted jointly with EFMA (European Financial Management Association) shows a progressive increase in the adoption of gamification in the industry, most efforts are nascent, and yet to build sufficient scale. Even so, the innovations deployed thus far serve as an indication of the range and versatility of gamification. Some banks have successfully used gaming mechanics to transition customers to low cost digital channels and bring down processing costs. Rabobank is one such, having used gamification to get customers to complete documentation related to mortgage applications online to the extent possible.

Gamification is also enabling banks to attract younger customers and even open up hitherto untapped markets by leveraging game thinking to educate these segments about the basics of money management. Many banks are also using the goals and rewards principle of gamification to help customers define and accomplish their financial goals. For instance, in India, ICICI Bank has leveraged gamification over the past few years to offer a gamified, socialised deposit product, which allows customers to work towards a set savings goal. At State Bank of India's fully automated digital branches, there are gamification tables to help customers with investment planning. Further, gamification is helping banks revitalise their employee training programmes by using gaming principles to streamline training in critical areas like compliance and security.

Until now, most gamification efforts have largely been discrete and/or experimental. In order to harness its potential at scale, banks need to adopt a more enterprise-centric approach to gamification that embeds gaming principles and mechanics into all customer, employee and partner processes and applications. Gamification needs to be viewed as a key driver of business strategy rather than a tactical tool to achieve short-term goals.

The growth of "as a service" gamification platforms offers banks the opportunity to deploy gamification components relatively easily in their environment. Multi-tenant, multi-application gamification platforms can not only eliminate some of the capital investment and implementation challenges of large-scale deployment but also help reduce the complexities that many banks currently face when it comes to "productionising" their gamification programmes. The "platform as a service" model allows banks to quickly configure gamification principles and structures and deliver them across operating systems, devices and form factors while ensuring a consistent and unified experience for all users.

In a nutshell, the application of gaming principles present a latent opportunity for banks to engage customers and employees better, and accelerate adoption of desirable behaviours.

Published in Deccan Herald.

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