The purpose of this paper is to concern the use of analytics as a calculative engine enabling coordination and control for the development process in a creative digital business environment.
This research employs an explorative field study approach, using interview data from professionals working with free-to-play mobile game development. Drawing on the concepts of cycles of accumulation, accounting as an engine and mediating instruments, this study examines how organisational actors using the analytics in a digital business environment participate in the data generation that accumulates knowledge about and new insights into the desired outcome.
The real-time metrics provided the means for organisational actors to continually monitor, visualise and if necessary intervene in the creative “good game” development process. Timely quantification and visualisation of user actions, collected as digital traces, enhanced the cycle of information accumulation. This new knowledge resulted in a desire for improvement and perfection, which directed the actions towards the organisational objectives.
This study furthers our understanding of the performativity of accounting as an engine and the user behavioural data trace as its “fuel” in a digital product development. It highlights the role of analytics as a “fact-generating” device, capable of transforming the raw user behavioural data, the fuel, into powerful explanations through visualisations of ideals. The real-time metrics, understood as mediating instruments, enable the generation of new insights and accumulation of knowledge guiding the further development towards the desired outcome, the “good game”.
The authors acknowledge the financial support from Foundation for Economic Education, Tauno Tönning and KAUTE Foundations for the research reported in this paper. The authors also wish to thank the participants of the 40th Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association and the 11th European Network for Research in Organisational & Accounting Change conference for their helpful comments. The authors are also grateful to Professor Sophie Tessier for her comments that helped in improving the paper.
Lassila, E.M., Moilanen, S. and Järvinen, J.T. (2019), "Visualising a “good game”: analytics as a calculative engine in a digital environment", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 32 No. 7, pp. 2142-2166. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-11-2017-3252Download as .RIS
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