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Planning for immediate adoption

by Jacob Lappa

“If you build it, he will come”.

While this famous quote from the movie “Field of Dreams” might be useful advice for garnering interest in a baseball stadium in rural Iowa, it should be taken with a grain of salt when considering new technology implementation for your business.

Most companies understand the importance of implementing new technologies in the face of a rapidly-changing business scape. However, just as important, or perhaps more so, is the consideration of the organizational change management that needs to take place to ensure adoption of the new tech.

It’s simply not enough to put a new process in place and expect your users to understand how it works. You have to plan for enablement, and that doesn’t mean responding to challenges after the fact. You need to be proactive rather than reactive in the education and training of employees long before your platform or solution goes live. Below are some things to think about when it comes to immediate user adoption in the face of change.

 

Who is being affected?

First and foremost, you should identify the people or departments that are going to be affected by the change. What are the user personas of the groups that will be using the new process or technology? Is it sales? Is it the deal desk? How are different groups of people going to be utilizing the platform?

Work closely with the delivery team and business stakeholders to identify these personas and how they are impacted. Then, you should conduct interviews with those teams to get basic information: how big is the organization? Are the users global or co-located in a single place? How adaptable are they to change? These are the questions that truly drive strategy. This is what is going to give you the level of involvement you will need in adoption efforts. If the group is small, adaptable to change, and the change in process is minimally invasive, a video tutorial or a document might suffice. If you have a large global group on the heels of a massive implementation, you might need more hands-on training over a longer period of time.

 

At what level are they being affected?

Next, you need to take note of the level of change. Is it just turning on technology and their general process still remains the same? Or it going to just be a piece of technology, and putting it into another technology? Do they just need to know how to click the buttons in order to operate efficiently?

Or perhaps the implementation a bit more involved than that. Will there be a significant change to business process on a day-to-day basis? These two scenarios will have vastly different levels of training required.

You need to ensure that you customize your training for each one of those sets of users. It’s not a one size fits all training, unfortunately. Sales might need to just know how to click the buttons in order to successfully use the platform, but someone at the deal desk or someone in order management might need a deeper level of understanding of how their actions affect others both upstream and downstream.

 

Formulate a plan

Once you have solidified the personas and level of change that will take place, you will want to begin formulating a plan of attack for education and training. Work closely with your client on this: what kind of training has been successful for this client in the past? What has not worked? A big component is understanding how their training has evolved.

Let’s take a sales team for example. It sounds efficient to get a team into a room for 6 hours and get the training done in one session. But it doesn’t work like that for sales. They have other priorities. They need to sell. Or perhaps they are on the road constantly and this isn’t even an option. It makes much more sense to block out hour to hour and a half chunks of time and spread it out over the course of time. You can also provide supplemental information like videos and information sheets outside of the training to keep fresh in their heads.

You might make the argument that this course of action could be ineffective as the sales reps might miss out on valuable information over the course of training. But you would want to focus on the high notes—the real meat of the training—that will be integral to basic operations. Then you can add the ancillary pieces of the functionality over the course of time. It’s important to prioritize what you’re teaching them and when you are teaching it to them.

 

Rolling out a new technology or process and leaving your team to figure out the functionality on their own is a guaranteed way to fail in adoption. You need to think proactively as to how you are going to get your users up to speed on the changes. This means identifying user personas, considering the level of change, and formulating a plan for training long before your new technology goes live.

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