Knowledge Quest Reviewed

Game on!: SAP Executive Board Member Vishal Sikka plays Knowledge Quest (Photo: SAP)

The theme of SAP TechEd 2011 Las Vegas was “gamification,” a term coined for the idea of building business applications with game-like attributes to harness the powerful, positive emotions generated by game play to improve user experience and productivity.  In an exciting pilot program called Knowledge Quest, SAP tested the concept by incorporating a customized game layer into the event.  “This is the first time SAP has ‘gamified’ the major elements of a large-scale, external event,” says Julie Barrier, who created the Knowledge Quest concept and co-led its execution.  “It represents a success story for gamification in the enterprise.”

Jointly developed and implemented by SAP Marketing employees like Barrier and a technology-based team building company called The Go Game, the Knowledge Quest pilot was designed around two major objectives:  enhance learning and create fun, meaningful interactions. “Knowledge Quest was an online, ‘Amazing Race’-style challenge designed exclusively for SAP TechEd attendees – a treasure hunt for tidbits of TechEd knowledge and networking missions,” Barrier says.

All SAP TechEd attendees were invited to play the game, which entailed visiting a web-based game platform using a smart phone, laptop, or other Web-enabled device. On the Knowledge Quest platform, attendees found questions, puzzles, and challenges that, when answered, earned them points toward prizes.  In addition to individual awards, SAP pledged to donate US$10,000 to KaBoom!, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving America’s playgrounds, if players collectively earned a million points.

Knowledge Quest had six categories of play in which attendees tested their knowledge and earned points:

  • Session Quest: Questions on SAP TechEd session content
  • Exhibitor Challenges: Contests issued by event exhibitors
  • Clubhouse Challenges: Rewarded attendees for exploring the SCN Clubhouse
  • The KQ Daily: Head-to-head contests between attendees
  • What Have You?: Quick-fire challenges on SAP and SAP TechEd-related activities like the keynotes and Demo Jam
  • After-Hours: Opportunities to earn points while attendees hit The Strip

According to Barrier, the Knowledge Quest pilot was an overwhelming success. “More so than I could have imagined,” she says.  “It was truly amazing; people loved it!

Nearly 900 SAP TechEd attendees played the game, earning 1,006,957 total points. Ninety-one percent of players surveyed said they hope to see Knowledge Quest at SAP TechEd again next year.  “It validated that there is in fact a need for this type of engagement,” Barrier says.

Individual prizes were awarded to the top 20 players. And since the 1,000,000 point goal was reached, SAP not only kept its commitment to make a charitable donation, but in fact doubled the amount it contributed to KaBoom! to US$20,000.

This year, Knowledge Quest was piloted in Las Vegas only, but Barrier hopes that in 2012 Knowledge Quest will be a part of all the worldwide SAP TechEd events.  “We hope to improve upon what we did in Vegas, and make it even better next year!” she says.

Barrier believes Knowledge Quest is also a great example of a culture change underway at SAP. “Knowledge Quest married business and technology with fun, games, learning, and social networking. It brought people together in new ways, and hopefully inspired them about the company that SAP is becoming: not just a solid, well-respected business software company, but also a company that is people-centric, human, and fun.”   

Knowledge Quest Demo

It’s far from the full experience, but you can get a taste of the game with hands-on access to the customized Knowledge Quest demo platform:

Use these codes to try out the different game elements:

Session Quest: CD300, ALM212, EIM268, BI109, CD106, CD161, PMC222, SCI202, CD162, CD203, CD205, ALM262, BI360, CD210, SCI266, SCI260, SCI261, ALM300

Exhibitor Challenges: luxor6, spade4, spade9, heart0, club0, poker8, nugget8, venice9

Clubhouse Challenges:

  • Technology Innovation Zone: innovate63
  • ASUG Lounge: asug19
  • Sybase Village: village95
  • Services Innovations: service76
  • SAP Solutions for Small and Midsize Companies: solution29
  • SAP Community Network: network38
  • SAP EcoHub and Partner Resources: partner92
  • Innovation from SAP Partners: sap32
  • Hasso Plattner Institute: hasso44

More Information

Knowledge Quest video highlights on YouTube: 

To lean about the genesis on the  Knowledge Quest concept, read this  feature story in the SAP Mentors Quarterly.