MB2-717 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics for Sales) – Gamification

As I prepare for my Dynamics 365 certification in sales (MB2-717), I’m creating blog posts based on my revision. I hope that collectively these posts may prove useful to anyone also preparing for the MB2-717 exam. This time I will cover Gamification.

You can see below that in the skills measured statement we need to understand how to improve sales performance. Gamification falls very much under this heading.


You may notice that Gamification isn’t explicitly mentioned in the skills measured statement! (Although it is a key tool in improving sales performance.)

I would like to stress that these are my revision notes!! I haven’t taken the exam yet. So I have no insight into the actual questions. I have seen a reference to Gamification in the Dynamics Learning Portal! So to ensure my revision is comprehensive I have gone over Gamification. If a questions comes up great, I will be prepared. If not, I will still have learnt a cool feature! One I really enjoy using.

What is Gamification?

I turned to Wikipedia for a definition of Gamification, this is what is said ….

Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts. Gamification commonly employs game design elements to improve user engagement, organizational productivity ….. and more. A collection of research on gamification shows that a majority of studies on gamification find it has positive effects on individuals.”

In this context gamification is a Microsoft solution for Dynamics 365 that enables games. The concept is to drive positive results by keeping employees engaged and motivated by them playing games related to their performance. This is achieved with a variety of games that focus on sports.

It is thought that you can deliver better results by providing rewards and encouraging a sense of accomplishment. Not to mention by generating a competitive environment by allowing “players” to see how their performance relates to their colleges.

You can build key performance indicators (KPIs) based on hundreds of metrics. You can then setup these KPIs in a way to help drive behaviour, activity and therefore positive results. The games can be created so that groups of staff can compete in teams, it therefore promotes a team mentality. Gamification is set up so that everyone needs to rely on other members of their teams to reach their goals. Rewards can also be given to recognise top performers.

Ultimately the goal is to make using Dynamics 365 more fun.

Getting Started

Gamification is a solution for Dynamics 365, it may not be installed in your Dynamics 365 instance. Therefore your first task is to install the solution.

I did this within the Office 365 admin portal, navigation to the Dynamics 365 administration centre. Then select the required instance and click the “solutions” icon.

Note: Only system administrators can install Gamification. If you aren’t the system admin for your organisation you will need to ask for help.

Load Microsoft AppSource from the settings area of Dynamics 365. Search for Gamification and use the Get it now button.

You are then required to enter your details and give Microsoft permission to share your data.

Finally you will be able to select the correct organization and commence the install process.

Before you can use Gamification it must be activated. In Dynamics 365 navigate to Gamification can select Gamification Settings.

Tip:
For me this worked best in Chrome.

Once you have accepted the terms and conditions a security key will be generated. You can copy / paste this key into the “security key” text box and then click activate.

Finally you should get confirmation that Gamification has been activated.

Note: The user successfully activating Gamification becomes the first Commissioner in Gamification. Think of a commissioner as the game referee or overall administrator.

During the installation process a security role called “Game Manager” will have been created. You may need to add this role to any users who need to manage games and the KPIs within Gamification settings.

Game Terminology

Before getting started with Gamification it might be important to understand some game terminology.

Commissioners – someone who is considered a referee in Gamification. They can’t participate in games but have the widest access.

Fans – these are employees whose performance isn’t measured with game KPIs.

Game Managers – the managers run games and take care of game admin. Game Managers can only participate in games they don’t administer.

Players – people listed in a game that are working towards a goal. Users can be fans in one game and a player in another.

Gamification offer 3 styles of games;

  • Fantasy TeamsPlayers can draft their individual fantasy sport team with their own team members. (This is the recommended game type and models common sports.)
  • Fixed Teams – A game manager can set which players are included in which team.
  • No Teams – Players compete as individuals. A head to head battle. (Least recommended.)

BAM posts are posts on the “Smack Talk Board” inside the game portal. These might announce a special achievement, new award or promotion.

Game Theory

Draft Schedules – With fantasy games we can set weekly, monthly or one-time draft schedules. These enable players to adjust who is assigned to what positions in their fantasy teams. Weekly is recommended as it allows teams to be adjusted easily if people leave the organisation.

KPIs – these are used to track “success”. Typically games will have numerous KPIs. The KPIs are defined in Dynamics 365 and then assigned to games in the gaming portal. Out of the box you will find a number of KPIs but you may need to create custom ones as required.

Player positions – When games are created players are assigned to positions. In the game these will be positions things like quarterback, goal keeper etc. One approach would be to assign these game positions logically to real positions. For example, your sales staff might be strikers, support staff might be defenders and admin staff might be goal keepers.

Scoring – when games are created KPIs are used to derive scores. For example you made have a KPI for lead generation, in the game you might decide to award 10 points for every lead created.

Prizes – You can define 1st place and additional place prices based on the overall game or on individual KPIs. These prices could actually relate to tangible rewards, like a cash bonus. But often they will be intangible in nature. Maybe the game winner gets a special parking space or gets to leave early on Friday.

Stream TV – Stream TV is a way to stream smack talk and leader boards on an internet connected TV in your office.

Getting Started

Below you can see that Gamification has been added to my ribbon navigation. Notice that I have an option “Gamification Help”, this will link you to loads of useful information.

Below you can see the help page for Gamification, here you will find details that will describe all aspects of Gamification.

Gamification Settings

We have a Gamification settings option that should be showing green as you are now connected. Gamification data will automatically sync from Dynamics periodically. But notice we have an “Refresh Data” button which can usefully be used to manually sync the data as required.

Gamification Portal

Note: Within Dynamics 365 you can see active player and games. But you have no ability to manage these details. All management is done within the Gamification Portal.

Within the gamification portal the commissioner / game managers can create games, manage users, control settings and setup stream TV. Additionally users can monitor their performance and interact with games.

You can access the portal directly from the Gamification option in Dynamics 365 or from the https://gamification.dynamics.com/PlayerStats URL.

Creating Games

Games are created in the game portal by either the commissioner or a game manager.

Note: Game managers can be players in games they haven’t created. Commissioner’s never play in games.

Before actually creating a game you may want to spend time thinking about how it will be advertised internally. Also you may want to give it a delayed start date, to give players time to build their teams. But once you are ready to create a game the process is really simple.

Selecting game setup presents you with an easy to use wizard. Initially you enter a name for your game and select a game model.

If you select a fantasy team model then you’ll additionally select a sports theme. I think it might be worth understanding that the sport theme selected doesn’t really alter the game play. The game theme simply acts as a way of being able to represent players in positions in fantasy games.

In this first stage you will also define your draft logic and game start / end dates.

The next stage of game setup involves defining what KPIs will be used. Often KPIs will be based in “number of”, examples being the number of phone calls made or leads created. But they can also be related to a revenue amount or percentage.

Typically you will want to define multiple KPIs. A game based on one KPI will be pretty boring! It might also make sense to include KPIs significant to various areas of the business, such as cases resolved and opportunities won. That way more people can contribute to the game and also you’ll hopefully drive engagement from more players.

Next you select the players. The approach here will differ depending on the game model selected. Below I have shown a no team game. Meaning I simply list the players. With a fantasy team game you would list the possible players for each position on the pitch.

If you have large teams the Excel options might help. As you can export players into a spreadsheet, edit them in the spreadsheet and the re-import.

Next you define fans. Fans are people who might follow the games or build their own fantasy team for this game. Fans however do not play in the game. A CEO or senior manager might be a fan. Someone who engages in the game but doesn’t play.


Finally you define the awards for this game. These might be for being the most valuable player overall or be connected with specific KPIs.


Once ready you click start game. After which the game will be saved. You can then navigate to your saved games and activate the game when ready.

Tip:
Whilst game setup is simple it can take a little time. There is a useful “clone game” feature, basing a new game on an old can significantly speed the process.

Playing Games

As you would expect all game play is completed in the game portal. When players or fans login they will see the leader boards.

Note: A player (or fan) could engage with more than one game at once. The navigation at the top is first used to pcik the game.

The leader board shows who the leaders are, what points they have achieved so far and any potential prizes.

Smack talk is an area where players and fans and engage in banter about the same.

If running a fantasy team the players will use manage your team option to select which players they want in their team for which positions.

The functionality for fans is pretty much the same as players. Expect a player cannot pick someone else to play the position they are assign to. (You must be part of your own team!)

Players can also see their own profile. This allows them to see details of their own performance and add time off. (Typically used when someone goes on vacation.) The time off feature allows them to flag they aren’t available for certain periods of the game. Fantasy team owners can then select other players.

Emails

Emails can be sent from within Gamification, these might be one-off emails or automated on a weekly scheduled basis. The scheduled emails might be useful to announce awards to remind fantasy team players to draft new players into their teams.

Gamification is a big topic, one that I have only really given an overview of. But hopefully you can see that this is a powerful feature that could really help engage your staff. As part of your preparation for the MB2-717 I suggest you create some games and experiment with the features I have described.

I actually found this was great revision. As playing my game involved logging in as multiple users and repeatedly creating leads, making phone calls, winning opportunities. All of which really helped with many aspects of my revision process.

I hope you enjoy using Gamification as part of your MB2-717 revision!

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