3 Best Practices to Improve User Adoption

Rolling out a new technology solution is an exciting moment for your company. But what happens if no one uses it? You don’t want all of the time and money that you invested in selecting this software to go to waste, so you must get users on board and actively using the system.

User adoption is the process by which end users transition to using a new system, either because they have to or they want to. In an enterprise environment, you might think that leadership can simply require employees to use certain systems, but a business is not a dictatorship, and user adoption is by no means guaranteed. If employees don’t see the value in using a new system, they will gladly revert to using old systems or workarounds. For example, despite having access to SharePoint document libraries, some employees may continue to save files on their desktop and share documents via email. (Looking for tips on how to successfully implement SharePoint? Check out our Microsoft SharePoint Implementation Planning Guide!)

Why is user adoption so challenging?

Put simply, change is hard. People are reluctant to give up their familiar habits and adapt to a new process. According to a survey by Forrester of 414 people about the problems they encountered while implementing a CRM in their organization, 38% of respondents pointed to “people issues,” including slow user adoption, as one of their most pressing challenges. 1 No matter how great the technology is, it will only be effective if employees are willing to use it.

Over the years, Aciron’s consultants have worked with clients to implement a wide range of software solutions for diverse business needs, and we have helped them overcome the challenge of user adoption by focusing on software implementation best practices.

3 ways to increase user adoption:

Choose the right solution

Select a system that aligns with your company’s high-level business and technology goals and that also meets your end users’ needs. If a system doesn’t meet at least 80% of your needs, it should come as no surprise when users express their frustration. From the very beginning of your software selection initiative, determine your must-have features, and include end users in these discussions. By giving end users a voice in this process, you will be able to take into account their needs and make a more informed decision when selecting a technology solution. The users who were involved in the process will also feel more ownership and will be more likely to be champions for the solution among their co-workers.

Implement it correctly from the beginning

First impressions are hard to change. If users have a negative experience with a poorly implemented system, they will get frustrated and write off the system as a lost cause. Perception matters — if employees think that a certain tool actually makes their jobs more difficult, what incentive will they have to use it?

 

To start off on the right foot, plan your implementation process with care, and don’t launch the system before it’s ready. Some initial post-launch hiccups may be inevitable, but strive to resolve any issues right away.

Train your users

When launching your new software, you should bring all of your employees together for an introductory training session where they learn about the new technology, its benefits, and how to use it. But don’t stop there — training must be an on-going activity. After the initial training session, schedule periodic follow-ups to address any issues or lingering questions.

 

You can also share practical tips from users or success stories from various departments/employees, either in monthly newsletters or posts on the company intranet. You should also provide users with self-service resources. If you have implemented a commercial off-the-shelf solution, the software provider may have a bank of help guides, on-demand videos, or webinars that users can refer to as needed. On the other hand, if you are rolling out a custom application, make it a priority to also create a comprehensive user guide.

 

And don’t forget about new hires! When new employees join your team, make sure they receive in-depth training as part of onboarding. Even though they missed out on the initial kick-off, the expectations for how to use the software should be just as clear for the new hires as it is for long-time team members.

By following these 3 guidelines, you will have a much better shot at successfully implementing a new technology solution and achieving a high user adoption rate. If you’re looking for advice tailored to your company’s unique situation, Aciron’s consultants can help. No matter what stage in the process you are at, from initial software evaluation to final implementation, our experienced consultants can make actionable recommendations that will help you achieve your goals. Reach out today to talk to a consultant!

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