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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. Therefore, 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. 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.

Why user adoption is so challenging

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 regarding their problems while implementing a CRM, 38% of respondents pointed to “people issues.” Slow user adoption was one of their most pressing challenges. 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 workflows. We have helped them overcome the challenge of user adoption. How? Most importantly, by focusing on software implementation best practices.

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3 ways to increase user adoption:

Choose the right solution

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 tool makes their jobs more difficult, what incentive will they have?

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

Train your users

When launching your new software, you should bring all of your employees together for an introductory training session. They'd 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. They could be posted in a monthly newsletters or posted on the company intranet. You should also provide users with self-service resources. If you have implemented a COTS, the software provider may have a bank of help guides, on-demand videos, or webinars. On the other hand, if you are rolling out a custom application, make it a priority to create a comprehensive user guide.

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

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