Four secrets to driving user adoption for digital transformation

Enterprises today understand the requirement to combat slow and low end-user adoption, especially when the solutions are intended to transform the way people work, as with new communications and collaboration tools.

For years, Softchoice has been offering end-to-end, turnkey adoption services, helping businesses across North America unlock more value, quickly, from their key collaboration investments. As a result, we’ve picked up a few key lessons about how to design the best possible user enablement program.

Why we start with “why”

Change gets a really bad rep. You’ve probably heard several times that “no one likes change”, but that’s not exactly true. We humans love change; we thrive on it. What we don’t like is being forced to do something uncomfortable for no good reason.

“We choose to go to the moon, not because it’s easy.”

If you tell your employees they need to stop using email and start using Microsoft Teams, and that’s all… you can guess what happens next. But, if you show them how making this change will contribute to something larger and will make a real difference… now you’re onto something.

The secret of starting with why is motivation, making change worthwhile and exciting. The tricky part, of course, is figuring out a convincing and compelling “why.” You can’t fake this part. It takes a bit of work and higher-level thinking, across business lines and with leadership. Maybe your industry is being disrupted. Maybe you are the ones causing the disruption. Maybe the more productive your team, the better people’s lives will get. Figure out the why and then make that your North Star. Do that, and change comes a lot easier.

A day in their shoes… 

Deeply understanding how a new technology will work, who will be using it and when, is nearly as important as the why. You are building technology for people, so the way it’s implemented must reflect their reality.

Once again, you can’t achieve this task in isolation. You need real people, giving real feedback, about real problems and solutions. You need to get your hands dirty and walk a few miles in a few dozen pairs of shoes. This is why we create personas. We are developing a clear understanding of a “day in the life” of our users. What kind of apps do they already use to get their job done? Why do they do it that way? What roadblocks do they face? What would they transform with a magic wand? What do they think about the proposed new solution?

The outcome will be a set of use cases to inform your collaboration strategy. What you discover might be surprising. And it will almost certainly be crucial to creating a solution ripe for adoption. It will also give you plenty of rich, detailed anecdotes to use in your communications, training and education strategies. This will further strengthen your rollout with concrete use cases that speak directly to the experience of your users.

It’s a process, not a session

Adoption is a process designed to reflect how people actually learn over time. You can’t rest your entire rollout on a few jam-packed training sessions, where users are presented hundreds of slides in a matter of minutes, only to forget everything they learned as soon as it’s over.

You need to think about it differently. While training is key, you also need “super users,” or champions, who will actually lend a helping hand after the sessions are over. You need the buy in from leadership, including managers and the C-suite, so it feels like a total culture change. You need resource hubs, with videos, articles and wikis, constantly updated to reflect issues and fixes as they arise. Users need to know exactly where to go, who to ask, and how to get help when they need it.

Working out the kinks…before, during, and after

What’s the point of driving up excitement for a brand-new technology if it fails to launch on day one? That’s why every adoption program needs to be supported by a well-executed technology implementation. This is a process that begins long before the rollout and continues after the last user is onboarded.

To start, your IT team will need to ensure you have the right infrastructure and resources in place. Can your network handle the bandwidth of new videoconferencing calls? Is your IT team ready and able to respond to new support tickets and help out?

You will also want to strategize the rollout – doing it in a phased, controlled approach to learn as you go. Finally, you’ll need a way to follow up and monitor adoption. You will want to have a clear understanding of what success looks like, selecting a few key metrics, or KPI’s. You will regularly check in with users and track these metrics to find out what is working, what isn’t, and why. These are details your team needs to know to ensure adoption is happening, as smoothly and effectively as possible.

The bottom line

We’ve come a long way with our understanding of digital transformation. Enterprises know, at heart, that user adoption comes down to getting the “people factor” right. They can do so by focusing on the why to make change easier; developing a deep understanding of the user’s daily lives to customize solutions and communications; rethinking what it means to train to provide constant, evolving support; and ensuring a robust technology foundation is there to support, not hinder, long term adoption.

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About Karen Bader

Passionate about creating and delivering great client experiences, Karen, is our IEF Program Manager and will help you with any questions you may have.