One of the topics of the G2Summit 2014 was that gamification is over. If this is true there is a reason.
The biggest challenge facing gamification is that companies want the results that gamification can bring, but they limit themselves to only adding elements to what they were doing. Gamification done right is about understanding behavior and what drives people to behave in certain ways, Using game elements without behavior drivers will deliver lackluster results..
This is about gamifying a non-game setting (business). Gamification application companies are just as responsible as the business for the lack of stellar results. Some SAAS providers approached the market with a focus on selling licenses. The importance of selling licenses overrode the focus on doing gamification well. Other SAAS providers hired traditional game designers. Game designers may not have the needed grasp on business to effect deliberate behavior change in organizations.
Although the game design process seems simple enough it requires studying the business. That means understanding current drivers and hinderances to user behavior. There needs to be a clear understanding of a company's past efforts and where they have missed their mark and a clear definition of the project's future success. In order for gamification to be susscessful there needs to be a game consultant with a clear understanding of the company, why it is gamifying and a vested interest in the company's success.
The work involved is thoughtful, deliberate, and based on science borrowed from other disciplines (i.e. OD) but the measurement, is pure business ROI.
Success can be stellar when its done right.
It appears that gamification is moves through Forrester's trough of disillusionment. I stand up for my unique position as an experienced designer of games in business setting and give a shout out to companies willing to hire professionals to do gamification right.
Gamification is not a fad. It's a great behavior change tool. The irony is this is a tool who's time has come. But from a viability standpoint--success hinges on skill and experience.