It’s a scenario we’ve seen time and time again:
Organization leaders have gone through the difficult and necessary work to update and evolve internal technology systems. Within a few months, enthusiasm for the new systems has dwindled. Within a year they’ve seen little improvement in their team’s productivity. And within a few years, so many platforms have come and gone, they don’t even know what software and services they’re still paying for, much less using.
It’s not that they didn’t have the best of intentions – foresight to understand a change was needed along with months of discussions before deciding on each and every technology partner – but adoption never reached a critical mass.
Unfortunately the “if you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t work when it comes to technology implementation. Bells and whistles alone are not enough to convince most users to come onboard. And the fear of being left behind may not sway even the most experienced employees.
What other kind of roadblocks do organizations face when it comes to technology adoption?
- Users are overwhelmed with too many technologies and not enough time to learn how to use them effectively. According to Hubspot, marketers alone are using more than 12 different tools on average, and some are using more than 31. When you extrapolate what the rest of the organization is using, that number gets exponentially bigger.
- Users don’t see the benefits of the new system. According to Business.com, while 76% of employees acknowledge that technology has an influence on the way they work, for better or for worse, less than half of them feel that IT decision makers have taken their opinions into consideration when selecting business technology.
- Users are afraid of any additional disruption in their already busy work days. Simply put: The thought of learning a whole new system can be overwhelming in today’s workplace, where employees are already stretched as it is.
But elusive as it might seem, 100% technology adoption is the goal. And it is possible.
Here are 8 tips to help your organization ensure new technologies are not just accepted but see continued engagement over time:
- Understand that “launch” should not be a one-day affair. Include post-launch processes in all of your technology planning. Line up a team that will be in it for the long haul, not just initial deployment. Simply by thinking ahead you will already be on the road to success.
- Have goals in place that tie into your overall business strategy. Users need a reason to adopt a technology in the first place and it will be easier to get them onboard if they understand how the new software will not only improve their work but is also moving the entire organization forward. Set goals for every stage of the deployment, implementation and adoption process and let users know how the changes will impact their day-to-day as well as the overall bottom-line.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. You need to have a schedule and process in place for sending follow-up communications, reminders, training messages, and announcements about any future updates. Think of it as internal marketing – you need to sell your users on the new technology without bugging them. There is always a risk of employees tuning you out so make sure communications get to the point and are delivered in the most effective way possible (most likely a mix of emails, documentation, video, and live webinars that will also live in a “permanent” spot where they can be accessed by everyone at any time).
- Stay on top of system updates/changes. From Forbes: “When severe interruptions happen, they wreak havoc: it can take 23 minutes and 15 seconds to recover and get back to the task at hand. That means the average worker wastes three to five hours of each work day. That’s 40-60% of their work week.” Not only will interruptions to their work affect productivity but it can also turn users away from your chosen technology. Cross your t’s and dot your I’s when it comes to the technical side of things to keep unwelcome surprises to a minimum.
- Make sure you are offering support. If/when they do run into issues, your users should know who to contact and their concerns should be addressed in a timely manner.
- Measure usage. Set up a system for tracking adoption. Ideally this would have factored into your initial technology decision-making process (you wouldn’t want to adopt a new technology that wouldn’t allow you to track and analyze usage to begin with).
- Get feedback and find champions. Per Unboxed, “Reinforce ‘what great looks like’ by having successful early adopters share best practices. Share and celebrate wins team- and organization-wide. This will help others stay focused and motivated.” Conduct short surveys or informal focus groups to learn what’s working (and what’s not) with the new technology – adapt accordingly.
- Lead by example. It’ll be tough to get buy-in from staff if top managers and leaders aren’t practicing what they preach. Have department heads showcase their use of the new technology in team meetings and demonstrate how and why it might have contributed to any recent team wins.
By incorporating these post-launch processes into your strategy from the get-go, you will be well on your way to seeing tangible returns on your technology investments – and that’s something to celebrate.
When was the last time your organization rolled out a new (or updated) tech platform? Do you have any tips to add that would help make the process smooth and seamless for both end users and management? We’d love to hear!