Here’s a great introduction to some of the concepts in enterprise playability (a.k.a. gamification): Is There Value in Enterprise Gamification?. The articles (there are two so far, in what will be a three-part series) touches on the value of enterprise gamification, and also points to a book by Jane McGonigal that would be worth a read.
But the article seems to follow an unfortunate pattern I’m seeing in the industry: There’s an interest in adopting some of the principles of game theory, but it’s a cautious interest, careful not to step into the muddy waters of actual games at work. That pattern is holding back the industry from what could be a powerful change in the way enterprises do business. When we get over the aversion to games themselves, and make enterprise software actually playable, we’ll see an increase in motivation, productivity, and profit.