Serious gaming is becoming a real business tool

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 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 ...

05/01/2009


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 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, serious gaming is working its way further into the enterprise.

In May, 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 come up with solutions that achieve bottom-line results.

Current game scenarios include:

  • Managing customer call center problems;

  • Alleviating traffic congestion on urban roadways; and

  • Optimizing a manufacturing supply chain.

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 Claims, a unit of Farmers Insurance Exchange, is piloting Innov8 2.0 as tool for giving its roughly 11,500 employees hands-on experience in processing insurance claims and handling and managing customer service calls.

Sandy Carter, an IBM VP, said the idea for developing a serious gaming 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.

The supply chain component of the application currently allows users to work on solutions for three situations:

  • Streamlining the process for bringing new suppliers onboard;

  • Altering product sourcing and delivery routes in response to an impending hurricane; and

  • Responding to a product recall.

Scenarios, simulations; try it now

In the latter two scenarios, customers can lay out 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 liking, 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 .





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