“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” – Steve Jobs
When you create online gamified learning environments, that is exactly what you do—you engage people. Once you identify your stakeholders’ wants, needs, and interests, you work back toward the technology.
The same is true when you implement your programs; it always comes back to people. What experience do you want to create within your organization, and how do you execute the program so it supports that? It’s always people first with technology in a strong supporting role. This makes a strategic Operations Plan a must.
Implementing an Operations Plan
A gamified learning environment enables you to interact with stakeholders in new—and powerful—ways. At the same time, these programs impact more than your customer or prospect relationships. They impact your standard operating procedures, your daily routines, and your usual processes. They impact people.
This is the reality. It’s a positive reality, but one that nonetheless requires some adjustment. To that end, there must be a proper operating plan that encompasses:
1. How to use the system. If you implement an Employee Education Portal, for example, you need to know how to add employees to it. You need to know how to check dashboards for point totals and to see who is learning. You need to know how to add badges when you want to reward an employee for achievements. There are a variety of “you need to knows,” and your Operations Plan should guide you through each one.
2. What daily, weekly, monthly (and even beyond) routines need to be added or altered in order to operate the program optimally. Your Operations Plan should also cover how you will operate with the program in place. To use our Employee Education Portal example from above: what kinds of badges make sense? Which behavior will each incent? How do you use a certification system and communicate that throughout your organization? How do you use the portal to boost your insight into the interests of employees and into the engagement of recruits?
Beyond that, how is the program going to fit into your operations and organization as a whole? Who is going to be involved, and how? What insights do you need to gather?
This part of the plan addresses the adjustments and alterations you may need to make in order to realize the full value of your program.
As you can see, we’ve started with your stakeholder experience and worked back toward the technology to create your program. Whether it is an Employee Education Portal or a Customer Engagement Portal, the solution is designed to meet your organization’s goals, to address the needs of your stakeholders, and to enhance your ability to share your knowledge with them and provide more engaging services.
Now that the technology has been built, we circle back to people—to you. What do you need to make this program work for you? How will you execute it? By when, and with whom? The Operations Plan answers those questions and empowers you to implement your solutions with confidence—and more importantly, exceptional results.
An Operations Plan Partner
Your Operations Plan is twofold: how do you use the actual tool, and what do you need to do as an organization to operate the program effectively? You must devise a plan to support you and check in regularly (e.g. weekly) to ensure that the changes necessary for the program to work as envisioned are being made.
Lastly, your plan should include a measurement component with carefully selected key performance metrics that enable you to track your progress and ensure your program is achieving the desired outcomes. Using both user interaction insights and as analytics (engagement, time spent in portal, etc.), you will be able to optimize the program itself to enhance results.
The specifics of your Operations Plan changes dramatically based on the nature of your program, your needs, and your resources. What does not change is the focus: goals, knowledge, and of course, stakeholders. Your programs are built on this solid foundation; an Operations Plan ensures that your implementation and ongoing use is as firmly grounded.