Guest post by Volker Gaertner, Operations R&D, HP Software and Carsten Schlipf, HP Software Architect
In today's IT Management software, processing IT incidents or events can be a repetitive task. It is also highly optimized, which makes it a boring task for operators.
Repetitive and unexciting means these tasks can lead to demotivated staff and a high fluctuation of operators.
On the other side, administrators who have to optimize IT management often struggle with the overwhelming complexity of the IT environment and with inadequate management tools. The downside of a powerful, but huge, feature set of some toolsets is that they often require significant effort to master their features too. It is even possible that advanced features which could improve or simplify the management of the IT environment are not used, because administrators are not aware of them.
This is in conflict with some of the goals of a CTO or Director of Operations. They usually have these goals:
Reduce total cost of ownership
Maximize return on investment
How can an Operations team achieve these goals while keeping staff motivated? How can they increase the knowledge of the staff?
Increasing engagement with Gamification
We recommend using game dynamics – a process also known as Gamification - to increase staff motivation. The idea here is to take advantage of psychological drivers to motivate users and encourage them to do more by simply letting them know when they have done a great job. Gamification has been proven to be a powerful and successful technique in other domains. When applied to IT management software, game dynamics takes advantage of psychological drivers and increases the user engagement of operators and administrators—and with that the OpsBridge efficiency.
The HP Operations Manager User Engagement add-on for HP Operations Manager i (Omi) offers Gamification features which increases OpsBridge efficiency. Now you can increase your OMi operator and administrator motivation, collaboration, creativity--and their OpsBridge efficiency in return by using this feature.
OMi users receive feedback on their work through short notifications when they earn an achievement and are able to see their progress on a timeline and achievements page.
Let’s have a closer look at the achievements users will get…
There are achievements when a user has completed a simple task.
These are meant as teasers, to get people familiar with the idea of achievements. Here is an example of an achievement an administrator gets after creating his first tool:
Per design we made it very easy for a user to get the first achievements.
But there are also other achievements that are harder to achieve. Here is an example of an achievement badge for operators:
When an operator has closed a certain amount of events in a defined time frame, then he will get an achievement such as this one, telling him that he has done a good job…
And there are also more sophisticated achievements for admins:
This provides a positive feedback mechanism for an administrator to let him know when one of his tools was used multiple times or when an automation rule that he created was triggered, and this increases the intrinsic motivation to create more of these tools in general improving his engagement since he is able to judge the impact of his work.
These notifications will show up only briefly to not distract or disturb the normal workflow – they can even be disabled completely. If disabled, the user will only see their achievements on the timeline and achievements pages.
The timeline shows the history of the achievements, and allows users to see what they achieved today, last week and so on. This is a personal timeline which only the user has access to. It’s not shared with anyone else.
If a user is interested in achieving additional goals, he can look at the achievements page…
…which shows all possible achievements per category.
On this page the user can see—in addition to already completed achievements—all possible achievements and progress bars per achievement and category.
Just looking at this page might cause a user to explore a feature in more detail.
The achievements that appear on the achievements page are configurable. An administrator can activate achievements for users and change the condition that needs to be fulfilled to complete the achievement. They can also be paused or deactivated by an administrator.
The users themselves can also decide whether they want to participate or not. In addition every user has full control over his data and can delete his user engagement history with a single click.
If they participate, then they can decide whether they want to receive notifications or just see their achievements on the timeline.
Now that you have seen the features we have added, you might ask yourself “how should a few notifications here and there improve my operator motivation and the Operations Bridge efficiency”?
Well, it would take too long to explain all the psychology behind this, but let me tell you that the game dynamics that we are using inside the User Engagement feature are dynamics that are already used in various areas with very positive results in various implementations of Gamification.
Studies have shown that all people respond to the one or the other of these game dynamics because people like to be rewarded, they like to collect stuff, they usually want to finish or complete their work, which is why progressions bars lead most people to do more. People also appreciate it very much when they are told how they are performing and all these leads to an increased so-called intrinsic motivation and an increased user engagement.
And as we are also addressing the OMi Administrators and motivate them to use more of the advanced OMi features – things like automations rules, correlation rules, etc. - we are by this also increasing the overall Operations Bridge efficiency.
So to sum this up – we recommend that you try it out yourself – don’t let this opportunity to motivate your OMi users pass-by – because it might turn out to be a very welcome change in what can otherwise be a quite monotonous event management process.
All you need is OMi 9.22 and the so-called OMi Extension Kit - Monitoring Automation & User Engagement. It’s part of the HP Business Service Management 9.20 English SW that you can download it here.