Globally, we are witnessing a steady rise in the pace of digital transformation with enterprises leading the charge. Gartner, Inc. projects worldwide IT spending to total $3.7 trillion in 2018 and notes that enterprise software continues to exhibit robust growth, thanks to the rise in the number of businesses actively investing in digital technologies to enhance their products and services. This is great news for markets like Sri Lanka that have identified ICT / BPM as a thrust sector for economic development.
However, enterprise engagements aren’t based on cost arbitrage alone, anymore. On-demand, real-time service delivery is becoming the norm across sectors and millennial consumers are seeking similar experiences in every interaction. As they begin to dominate the workplace and the marketplace, businesses are looking to entice them through gamified engagement efforts.
In the digital realm, the task of shaping these engagement platforms falls on solution developers. They need to comprehend and account for the lifestyle choices of millennial end-users before embarking on any digital transformation project. Often, they tend to draw from their weekend gaming experiences to relate to how and why these Gen Yers do what they do.
A group of 15 young software engineers going by the name Virtusa Game Development Special Interest Group (GDSIG) have been involved in similar endeavors at Virtusa’s Advanced Technology Center in Colombo since 2006. It was initially envisaged as an informal platform that would allow them to challenge likeminded colleagues in friendly bouts of gaming while exchanging views on the subject.
Ramesh Maddegoda, architect – Technology at Virtusa was among the small group which founded the Virtusa GDSIG. At that time “video gaming” was not a popular idea in the Sri Lankan corporate world. So Ramesh and the team had to come up with creative ways to promote the positive aspects of video game development and drive this initiative.
“Our shared passion for gaming brought us together,” says Ramesh. “In our discussions, we identified that there was an opportunity for Sri Lanka to tap into the game development industry. The soaring revenues generated by the big names in gaming, with some titles grossing as much as Hollywood blockbusters, caught our attention. Armed with basic game development skills, we sought to bring some of this work to Sri Lankan shores,” he reminisces.
The starry-eyed team got their first break in the form of an interactive storybook development project for a global education solutions provider. And they haven’t looked back since then. Today, the unit includes Virtusans from different functions, practices and even geographies. They work closely with teams from around Virtusa on a diverse set of enterprise engagements wherein clients are looking to create game like interactive experiences.
“We are currently exploring the potential of using augmented reality tags to provide information on off-the-shelf medication for pharmacists and patients,” says Ramindu Deshapriya, senior consultant – Technology.
Elaborating on this project for a Fortune 500 healthcare services company, Ramindu said, “Augmented reality overlay on a mobile app would provide a way for users to view the details regarding a particular medicine right at the drug store.”
Chipping in about their work in promoting medication adherence, Thuan Preena, engineer – Technology at Virtusa says, “Aging populations bring with them the challenges associated with caring for the elderly, especially those with medical conditions that require them to take medications regularly.”
“We developed an IoT based solution that rewards users with points when they take their medicines on time and allowed them to use these points to contribute to a charity of their choice. And we were delighted to see a marked improvement in medication adherence,” Thuan added.
“While these might seem like the obvious routes anyone should and would take in hindsight, we wouldn’t have been able to come up with such ideas had we adopted a traditional approach to solution development,” underscores Kavinda Karunanayake, senior consultant – Technology at Virtusa.
He added, “We had the opportunity to experience the power of gamified work environments first hand thanks to V+, our proprietary internal social business platform that helps drive collaboration and engagement amongst Virtusans. Our interactions with and through V+ guided us to take the gamification path. We also had the privilege of being mentored by members of our leadership team who continue to inspire us.”
Scaling greater heights with their gamified approach to enterprise solution development, Virtusa’s Game Development Special Interest Group presents a strong business case for reimagining our digital worlds through gamification. While they continue to contribute to business projects, it is not all work and no play for the GDSIG.
As avid gamers they have been organizing the Virtusa LAN Challenge, a gaming contest for their fellow Virtusans, since 2010. It started off as a low key internal team building initiative and has now grown into a mainstay event in Virtusa’s calendar with teams from several leading local universities taking part in this year’s tournament. The GDSIG team works together with the company’s technology leadership and members of the Virtusa Campus Reach Initiative on this annual event.
They also seek to instill their passion for gaming and game development in the next generation of IT professionals. Partnering with the Virtusa Campus Reach Initiative, team members can often be found delivering tech talks at universities around the island where they share insights on game development, opportunities available and more.