July 22 by Patrick Wolf

User Adoption

Although easily overlooked, user adoption is one of the most important aspects to take into account when purchasing new technology solutions. If you cannot facilitate the use of a new technology in your organization, then your purchase will all be for naught. Like any major change, there will be a period of adjustment, this is the time to enforce user adoption and ensure that the incorporation of new technology will go as smoothly as possible.

Where User Adoption Can Fail

User adoption typically fails because of: the lack of an overall plan concerning how to incorporate the new technology, failure to enforce when users are not utilizing the new technology and reverting to their old ways, and a lack of communication on how the technology impacts the business as whole and the benefits it provides. There are clear and obvious indicators on poor user adoption, which once identified can be used to fix the issue, increase user adoption, and give value to the investment in the new solution.

Factors of Poor User Adoption

There are many potential indicators of poor user adoption. The most common, and indicative, are end-user indifference toward the product, ineffective training and communications, and limited accountability.

End-user indifference

Indifference can be one of the biggest challenges when attempting to increase user adoption. The main reason for this being that end-users are the ones who have to engage with the new technology on a day to day basis and incorporate it into their business processes. A resistance to the utilization of the new technology can be the result of various factors including the limited impact of new technology, ineffective training, and limited accountability. Each of these factors directly effects the success of adoption. If there is a limited impact of new capabilities and the KPIs reflect an ineffective solution, or there was a lack of understanding on how the new technology will effect another process in place, this can affect how likely the end-user will use it. If the impact is not apparent or does not work as intended, then the reasons for learning a new technology and then altering your daily tasks become less of a priority for an end user.

End-user indifference
Training and Communication

Training and Communication

Another factor which can effect adoption is ineffective training and communication. Many companies will try a “one size fits all” training, which does not take into account how different users operate or how each end user will be engaging with the new technology. If an end-user does not know how to effectively use or navigate the new technology, they will be unlikely to do so. Segment training, and extend further training over the course of their employment to keep them updated on changes to the technology.

Limited accountability

Lastly, failure to designate proper accountability can be a major factor in poor adoption. If no one is held accountable for the incorporation the new technology, it becomes less and less likely for user adoption to become a priority. There must be someone dedicated to the task, monitoring the progress and measuring KPIs. Without this, there is no way to measure how the investment is effecting the business overall, making the task of iterative improvements more difficult.

4 Tips to Increase User Adoption

To prevent poor user adoption measures can be taken. Laura Stone, Senior Director of Sales Operations from Bazaarvoice, breaks those actions into five simple strategies based off of her own personal experience. Laura’s five steps can ease the process of incorporating a new technology and encourage user adoption to ensure that the investment is worth it are: keep it simple, give users real benefits, tie use of new technology to a critical step in the business process, and begin with an end in mind.

  1. It is important for the end user to keep things simple and easy, the more convenient something is to use the more likely your end users will adapt it to it.
  2. Give users real benefits; if your end user is gaining something from the new technology – whether it’s a faster deal cycle, more time, or some added value – they will be incentivized to discontinue their old system.
  3. Require your end user to utilize the new technology, by tying it to a necessary step, such creating an opportunity.
  4. Start a project with an end in mind, so you are less likely to fall into pitfalls. Know how you want the new technology to work, who will be using it, and how to build a framework that will incorporate the new technology in a manner in which end users are encouraged and required to adopt.

Every year businesses require new technologies updates or purchase new ones to keep pace with the world around them. However, any solution can fail if there is a lack of user adoption, making it key to understand how to encourage and maintain user adoption. Understanding failures of user adoption and following Laura’s five-step strategy can ensure that user adoption.

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