What businesses can learn from Roblox – ITProPortal

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By published 7 December 21
Let’s explore the world of the Roblox and the lessons that businesses can learn from the online gaming platform
It sounds like a fanciful notion. Business leaders operating across every vertical can ingest all the management strategy self-empowerment books, tutorials and workshops they can get their hands on, but their best bet for a really progressive approach to 21st Century business could come from an online gaming platform.
The collaborative connectivity and almost ubiquitous accessibility offered by Roblox represents a state of consciousness that most commercial organizations can only dream of. But even if they aren’t going to be the next Twitter, TikTok, Facebook or indeed Roblox, there are still many lessons that every business can take away from the way this kind of innovation operates.
Staying with Roblox for a moment and leaving the purely social platforms aside, there is a special level of interactivity and engagement enabled on the platform that firms could, and perhaps should, now aspire to emulate at least to some degree.
For the uninitiated, Roblox is a cloud-native online gaming platform where ‘players’ can move around inside a digital virtual world and gain access to sometimes quite basic games that have been created by other users. 
Similar in form and function to IBM’s Second Life, users don’t have to necessarily ‘do’ anything in particular inside Roblox i.e. if they want to just ‘be’ and exist, then that is fine. But for those who wish to engage, lead, share and create, Roblox offers an exciting world where creativity is rewarded. The games are free, but users can buy Robux (the Roblox currency) to use in games or to buy some accessories for their personal avatar.  
What Roblox represents is disruption. It offers players access to over 40-million online games. This is certainly something of a disruption to the already-established gaming industry in and of itself, but moreover it is a disruption to the status quo of accessibility.
Indeed, applied as a parallel to modern enterprise business, Roblox should be seen as a democratizing force for user empowerment. Anyone can join, anyone can explore, anyone can add, play or leave whenever they want to. This is a cloud-based digital platform that offers an inherent level of adaptability which makes it usable – and, crucially, enjoyable – by anyone.
As enterprises, we now need to evolve our use of software and data architectures to reflect this same kind of democratized accessibility for all. We can see how much functionality is available in something like Roblox and be able to take that same approach to openness and access forwards.
This is all about putting a lot of compute and data integration power at the backend and connecting it to a highly usable front-end interface. This enables us to open the door to different kinds of skill sets and so in terms of enterprise IT, this can help us to significantly reduce the latency factor traditionally associated with the software builds.
When and where users require new application functions and data services, they make the request to the IT department and the process of build, test, integrate, test again, debug and eventual deployment happens. What we are talking about here is a route to enable citizen developers and citizen integration specialists with the tools they need to create functions that can be capitalized upon and monetized… or be given away to the community for wider development. 
Taking the Roblox approach to this kind of enterprise software application development, different users will want to use different parts of the IT stack in different ways. The capability of a platform to be customizable with personalized insights for any company-wide role is just a must-have for today’s users and literally for any type of user.
In Roblox, it is game wins and points, but in business we are talking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and of course profits.
Why should enterprise organizations think about democratized user accessibility, ubiquitous openness and gamified incentivization? Because if they don’t, then it is likely that someone close enough to their market share will.
If we look at how a company is typically disrupted, it is not normally disrupted by a competitor, but by the wider moves of the market or by individuals who solve problems that have existed for a while, but with a new approach to the problem. 
It wasn’t another player in the photographic industry that disrupted Kodak, but new technologies like mobile phones and online sharing of pictures. Blockbuster’s demise was not at the hands of another in the film industry, but an innovative online video-on-demand sharing company.
When someone finds a better way to do things, they will. Inside the world of Roblox, people can experiment, explore, create and share, all of which means that people (by which we mean each and every single person) can look for new ways to do things. 
It is algorithmically and statistically not possible to beat this kind of platform for invention with any single investment in Research & Development (R&D), no matter how large.
In an age where everyone has a computer attached to their hand in the form of a smartphone, digital business is the battlefield that will decide the victors from the vanquished. When a technology becomes mature enough and goes mainstream, any organization that has sat back and rested upon its laurels will ultimately fail.
Roblox logic as a business development principle, ethos, template or methodology might still raise a few eyebrows around the boardroom table, but the wider drive towards this type of platform power cannot be ignored. Just remember, video games used to be low-resolution single-player experiences; now we live in a world where massively multiplayer is the new normal.
If not quite a firm lecture slot on next year’s Harvard Business School syllabus, Roblox theory has a lot to teach us when it comes to gamification, incentivization and democratization. Now is the time to play and get ready for the next wave. Ready player one?
Alessandro Chimera, Director of Digitalization Strategy, TIBCO
Alessandro Chimera is Director of Digitalisation Strategy at TIBCO.
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