At some point, all organizations must take the step of embracing new technology. However, it’s not enough to know you need such technology and the reasons why. It isn’t even simply a case of acquiring the technology. That’s because you must also have a user adoption plan for it.
This is important: according to data from a PwC survey, eight in 10 HR and IT leaders still struggle with user adoption of new technology. And there’s little point in investing in a particular technology if its intended users do not make extensive use of it, as is crucial for ensuring the benefits for user productivity and efficiency and your firm’s bottom line.
To investigate the subject of user adoption further, we recently held a webinar involving our Presales Consultant Shereen van Lierop, and Zaidy Ramirez, who is the Director of Engineering and Automation at K2 Partnering Solutions
All webinar participants had insights to share on their own challenges with the user adoption of technology, and what an effective user adoption plan might look like. So, what were three ‘takeaways’ from this event?
1 Make someone responsible within your organization for user adoption
It’s never just the vendor’s responsibility to ensure user adoption – it’s a joint effort between the vendor and the organization taking on the technology, that never actually ends. This was one of the warnings imparted by our own Shereen van Lierop, who added that “even after a successful rollout or user adoption, you want to maintain this by continually keeping users and stakeholders engaged.”
A key part of this is making someone responsible for user adoption within your organization. Someone needs to feel that it’s their job to not only reach a target level of user adoption but also drive the ongoing nurturing process.
After all, even if you quickly reach the target level, you will have a better chance of keeping that target level – or even exceeding it – if there is someone with the specific duty of driving it.
2 Train your personnel who will be using the technology
While studies have shown that the training of users is not the most important factor for user adoption, it is required. To put it in Shereen van Lierop’s words, “a user adoption plan without training will probably not succeed. But solely depending on training to reach the target level will also not work.”
So, what’s the best approach? Different training packages are likely to suit different organizations – but whatever you do, you should strive to get users familiar with the system as shortly as possible after going live. This will allow them to quickly start deriving the maximum value from your new technology investment.
You can help ensure your employees’ readiness to use the system by also training in-house trainers before going live, so that they can then train the end-users as soon as possible. These trainers can also train newcomers during recruitment, in addition to providing ‘refreshment’ training.
It seems that plenty of you agree on the importance of training to user adoption. 86% of people who responded to our webinar poll said they used training as the main way to drive adoption. This was followed in order of preference by adoption assessments and gamification.
3 Get people excited about using the new technology – and nurture that engagement
It’s vital to have a user adoption plan that lets your users know what’s coming, and helps them understand it. No less crucial, however, is getting people excited about the change.
To this end, Shereen van Lierop advised webinar audiences to “make an event out of the launch. Don’t just tell people in the launch campaign or in the adoption plan that ‘Okay, we are looking into a new technology, this will be implemented in three months on X date, and on that date, they log in and see the new system.
“Make sure that it is something that they look forward to. You can make this fun. Customers who let everyone wear t-shirts with the name on it, or make cookies. You can add a gamification element to it, or some incentives. Make it something fun, but make it something exciting to look forward to, because that will motivate them before the launch, but also after it.”
Shereen also emphasized the importance of the ongoing measurement and reinforcement of user adoption. She urged webinar attendees to frequently assess their user adoption levels, to ensure they remain on track. Furthermore, she said, there should be an onboarding plan to make sure newcomers are trained or are aware and educated in the new technology and the related systems, as well as refreshment training for those who have been with the organization for a while.
K2 Partnering Solutions’ Zaidy Ramirez, however, sounded a note of caution on gamification, explaining that “we actually had some metrics for it, and giving badges, and showing how people are improving, like a level 1 badge on recruitment, and going up. We used it for a while, and to be honest, it didn’t give the solution that we wanted. So, we will need to study that again to apply in the 2020s.” This is an important reminder that not all popular methods for driving user adoption necessarily suit all organizations.
A comprehensive, tailored and targeted user adoption strategy is essential
In summary, it’s clear that there’s more to ensuring effective and sustained user adoption than rolling out the new technology and expecting personnel to embrace it. Ensuring accountability for the success of your organization’s user adoption strategy, as well as putting in proper onboarding, training and nurturing arrangements, will help ensure that the next time your organization introduces new technology, engagement levels will be high from the beginning – and stay there.