Virtual commerce: Serious gaming is becoming a real business tool

This week IBM introduced Innov8 2.0, the second generation of its serious gaming application. The Web-based application presents users with real-world business scenarios and challenges them to derive solutions that achieve bottom-line results.

05/07/2009


Photo: IBM Innov8 2.0 online game helps businesses educate employees.
IBM Innov8 2.0 , increased student retention rates when used in place of traditional learning methods. See how much, in the story below. On this screen, key performance indicators (satisfaction, call time, and budget) show in the upper right. Dialogue box says, "Mike: Here you can adjust your staffing levels on the high skill and the low skill queues, as well as calibrate the routing of calls across all queues."

Video game aficionados have become a powerful force in the computer industry, with chipmakers constantly striving to create products with the power to make the scenarios simulated in these games ever more realistic.
Manufacturers in particular—have reaped side benefits from this, as faster, more powerful processors accommodate programs that allow for simulating stress tests on product designs or even seeing how well new production lines will operate before they go live.
Now, we’re starting to see serious gaming work its way further into the enterprise.
This week IBM introduced Innov8 2.0 , the second generation of its serious gaming application.
Business scenarios, challenges
The Web-based application presents users with real-world business scenarios and challenges them to come up with solutions that achieve bottom-line results.
Current game scenarios include:



Each of these scenarios was demonstrated at the IBM IMPACT Smart SOA conference, which took place in Las Vegas, the week of May 4.
Pilot project in place for training
Also at the conference, IBM announced that the University of Farmers, Claim, a unit of Farmers Insurance Exchange, is piloting Innov8 2.0 as tool for giving roughly 11,500 employees hands-on experience in processing insurance claims and handling and managing customer service calls.
Sandy Carter, and IBM VP, said the idea for developing a serious application arose roughly two years ago when she was holding a case study seminar with a group of college students, and presented them with the problem of how to educate the market on business process management (BPM) and service-oriented architecture (SOA).
“Every team recommended serious gaming,” she said. “So we developed Innov8 1.0 for universities to pilot.”
Better learning
Carter said roughly 1,100 schools are now using Innov8 1.0 as part of their curriculum and they have found that people experience anywhere from 80 percent to 108 percent better recall when learning through serious gaming as opposed to traditional teaching methods. She also said those numbers convinced a large number of IBM customers and business partners to get serious about gaming as well, and thus came Innov8 2.0, which is geared for customers and partners.
“We see serious gaming as an ideal delivery system for a number of learning opportunities,” said Mike Cuffe, VP of learning at the University of Farmers, Claims. “[The claims processing and call center management scenarios] are just the first two areas in which we plan to deploy this technology.”
The supply chain component of the application currently allows users to work on solutions for three situations:


IBM introduced Innov8 2.0

Scenarios, simulations; try it now

In the latter two scenarios, customers can layout various approaches to solving the problem and then simulate the impact those approaches have on key performance indicators such as: customer satisfaction, environmental impact, and profitability.
If those indicators are not to the company’s linking, a different set of choices can be made to achieve the desired outcome. Anyone wishing try the game can do so now at www.ibm.com/innov8 .
In another MBT example where games enhance learning, see:

Lean beacon: German industrial giant pioneers Toyota-style initiative; SAP integration to follow

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