The uptake of digital badges in industry and education has been even faster than we anticipated when we kicked off this blog series with Will Digital Badges Replace Resumes…and Diplomas. Our survey on the topic has received almost 2,000 responses, with 33% saying that they already use digital badges or plan to in the near future. According to the survey, the most popular usage is with professional development (see figure 1). To date, our series of blogs has delved into the topics of: how digital badges are transforming the way we recognize achievement, the many ways badges are being used in education and across Industries, and what it will take for digital badges to cross the chasm into the mainstream usage.
As a leader in the information technology industry, Extreme Networks stays ahead of major industry trends by adopting them early. This enables us to advise our customers and partners from an experienced user point of view. We did this with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in 2012, when we were the first in
our industry to implement a series of MOOCs related to networking concepts. This past year, we implemented digital badge programs in a number of departments at Extreme to better understand the concept and to take advantage of the benefits that badges have to offer. The departments involved with digital badges include: inside sales, partner and sales training, customer support, and marketing. We have also implemented a badge-based incentive system from Influitive across all departments.
Within our inside sales department, badges provide the team with added motivation, recognition of development, and a means to monitor progress for growth. We use Salesforce.com as our CRM framework and found their badging system, Work.com, to be a convenient resource for this initiative. It enables us to create customized badges and track the various metrics, actions, communications, and efforts that lead to the badge awards. The badge system integrates directly with Salesforce and Chatter, so we can publicly recognize the achievements of our sales team members. We plan to implement Mozilla’s Open Badge Initiative so that the badges can displayed to wider audience through social media.
Here are examples of the types of badges we offer in our inside sales department.
Customer and Partner Training Badges
Extreme Networks provides four technical Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) covering knowledge and skills in fundamental areas of IP data networking, wireless technologies, and security concepts. Our MOOC program is flexible, self-paced, free of charge, and open to students across the globe. As an additional incentive to fully complete the courses, we plan to issue badges in recognition of course achievement. There will be specific badges per subject to signify the different courses, levels, and areas of technical training. Students will be able to utilize their badges for future reference in their careers. Sign up for the courses is through social media accounts, which students can also use to display their earned badges.
The Extreme Networks Global Technical Training program works with thousands of local solution providers including authorized training providers (ATPs) and service providers across the globe. We offer training courses for our partners in product sales, support, and many other specialized industry topics. Our badges for training will recognize course completion and provide details of specific competencies and certification achievement.
The Hub is Extreme Networks’ online community where anyone and everyone can participate in discussions on products, services, and networking know-how. As a means to further reward engagement and knowledge exchange, the community, built on the Get Satisfaction platform, provides stars and badges to active participants. The awards are based on the number of conversations, comments, and likes. Achieving five stars for example, results in receiving an active member badge, twenty stars can earn a guru badge.
We use a platform called AdvocateHub by Influitive to encourage certain types of revenue-generating employee and customer activities, such as referrals, social media posts, reviews, and content generation through gamification techniques. The software automatically rewards active participants with badges as they complete challenges. To simplify the process of bringing our existing customers into the process, Influitive connects to our Salesforce.com data. As participants complete their challenges they advance from Advocate to Evangelist to Rockstar, earning the badges shown in the figure to the right.
It is also very important for us to recognize our customers who contribute to the success of their communities around the world. We work especially closely with the education industry in providing a safe, secure, and reliable network for students and educators in k-12 and higher education. Our Exemplary School award is one of our customer recognitions to school districts that embody the very best in education by facilitating the modern classroom and providing their students with a personalized and engaging mobile learning environment. The Exemplary School award gets people involved and proactive about their education and the technology that improves the quality of education today. Issuing a plaque and digital badge to exemplary school districts is another way of saying thank you and acknowledging the effort of these school districts to provide the future minds of the world with all the resources they need to succeed.