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BTS offers way to be virtual boss

Friday, March 13, 2009 | Category :
    • In the News

Baseball, basketball and football come to mind when thinking of team sports, but now a company that has its U.S. base in Stamford is translating the excitement of team competition to the business arena.

BTS, a developer of customized business-simulation software, is launching BTS Tournaments in the United States.

The technology was developed by Finland-based Business Game Factory, which BTS bought in 2003.

Now, companies can pit teams of three to five in these tournaments, as they simulate running multinational companies over four years. The games provide a cost-effective way for managers to apply business skills, according to Rommin Adl, executive vice president of BTS USA Inc. The first tournament is next month.

"BTS Tournaments is truly a unique offering in the e-learning, virtual learning space. We have been successfully offering this in Europe and other parts of the world for several years," Adl said, touting the games' usefulness in a tough economy. BTS has been spreading the word to its 125,000 North American clients, saying the games help build skills in strategic and systems thinking, finance, customer focus, marketing and competition.

"Throughout its 12-year history, BGF has served more than 30,000 participants in 65 countries, including teams from Accenture, Ericsson and Nokia. Participants give the experience extremely positive reviews," Adl said.

Rommin Adl, executive vice president of BTS USA Inc., stands in the company's office at First Stamford Place in 2004. BTS, a developer of customized business-simulation software, is launching BTS Tournaments in the United States next month.

Tournaments are held over eight weeks with four to 10 teams.

"Our new tournament portfolio is built based on excitement and engaging learning with a variety of customization options. We believe the competitive nature of our concept will be received with great enthusiasm," said BTS Senior Vice President Taavi Thiel.

Businesses increasingly see the value of serious gaming, said Lisa Mercurio, director of the Fairfield County Information Exchange at The Business Council of Fairfield County.

"Many now in the workplace have been raised on simulation gaming -- to take that platform into the global marketplace to train and strengthen distributed work forces makes sense," she said. "Competition can be a great teacher, particularly in challenging economic times.

"The future for serious gaming is strong as people adopt technology and "Millenials" -- those born from 1977 to 2000 -- enter the workplace, but companies must see benefits, said Thomas Keitt, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc.

Developers of online training games pitch them as cost-efficient, Keitt said, and that may be the case in a disaster simulation.

"Things get squishy when you talk about business training -- custom games can cost between $300,000 and $1 million," he said. "Over the long haul, these games might save the company money if they use the game over and over, but it can be a great upfront investment."


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