Nitro Studio: Gamification As a Tool to Boost Employee Productivity

Inplace #2

In 2007, two years after Rajat Paharia founded Bunchball, the first gamification company, the brains there were in the process of transitioning the company from a primarily social engagement company through gaming to one that focused on it’s core ideology: Consumers as well as employees, across the board, want to be actively engaged and acknowledged through game mechanics in as many facets of their interests as possible, without the need for any gimmicks.

With the launch of their revolutionary and innovative cloud-based, SaaS gamification platform called Nitro, which is monetized via a subscription model, Bunchball brought their core ideology to fruition and has been thriving ever since, with participation from major companies that include IBM, Jive, and Salesforce. They recently launched their fifth and most intuitive version of the software, Nitro Studio, which is leaps and bounds above its predecessor.

As many of their customers know, the former versions of Nitro (above) were highly functional but lacked the modern, intuitive, and sleek interface that the Studio version now has in spades. The clunky formfields of yesteryear have disappeared to be replaced with clean and adaptive tiles that drag and drop, morphing accordingly to the analytic demands of the user. There is simply no comparison between the Studio version and its predecessor.

The overhaul was driven by a noticeable shift in Nitro’s clientele from mostly savvy media and entertainment companies to an enterprise phase, Bunchball identified that their new users of the platform would benefit greatly on a day-to-day basis from an interface redesign. According to Constellation Research, half of all social business initiatives will include an enterprise gamification component by the end of 2013.

“In 2010-2011, we really started selling heavily into the enterprise phase,” said Daniel Katz (pictured), Director of Product Management at Bunchball. “The problem with many enterprise products today [is] they are just hard to use, and with the crowd we were selling into, they were demanding a more easy-to-use and analytics-driven interface, which is why last year we decided take on this massive project of overhauling this interface and really studying our customers behaviors. And that’s where we came out with Nitro Studio.”

Even the name for the software was chosen to reflect the type of environment Bunchball and its users believe the program cultivates: a place to create and analyze your gamification programs, as opposed to just an administrative console as a back-end tool that its predecessors encompassed.

Two landmark features of the upgraded software include its new action and challenges windows and as its expanded search feature. Unique integrative analytics drive all the information, including the global data search, and is easily available to all users at the click of a mouse, with fully customizable specifications and date range, without having to write out any confusing and clunky fill forms.

To create a challenge for your target audience, which is at the heart of incentivization, all you  have to do is follow the provided four-step process and designate what the challenge is about, who the challenge is for, what the rules are for completing it, and what the reward is. From choosing the demographics you want to reach, all the way to what the user receives as a result from carrying it out, whether it be a customizable badge, points, etc., it’s all achieved in real time and uploaded to their servers for instantaneous use. This is a product that your typical business user can implement on a day-to-day basis to drive engagement with little issue. It also helps that  that users will have a very experienced Bunchball consulting team behind them the whole way.

The Nitro platform has been so successful in engaging its user base when used systematically that the base has seen a significant shift from consumer programs to internal programs for employees, which is of little surprise considering the gradual awards and feedback that the program sends regularly as opposed to traditional and often excruciating year-end performance evaluations.

“Between 2007 and 2010, we started to see it shift dramatically from a consumer media base to an  internal employee program base,” said Katz. The current split is about 60/40, he said. with employee programs comprising the majority and continuing to show growth.