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7 ways to boost user adoption

Change management is hardly a new concept, but it all too rarely receives equal billing to technology management. In many cases, change and IT teams work separately — or worse, the importance of change management is overlooked and there is simply no change support being planned.

Even when adoption measures are designed, they often focus on one-time training, or on training technical audiences (administrators, developers) who manage but don’t actually use the technology. All of this falls short of winning the change challenge where it must be won: with the end-users.

This can be hugely costly. The total business loss from ineffective training is an astonishing $13.5 million per 1000 employees each year. Even with proper training, only 12% of learners say they take their skills into their daily jobs. And, research has shown that people gain only 10% of their learning from formal training. The other 90% comes from interaction with peers and workplace experiences.

7 ways to boost EIM user adoption

Experience working with organizations worldwide has shown us that user adoption counts towards 50% – 80% of the success of new Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions. So, how do you convince users that the new system is exactly what they need?

1. Put people first

Develop a change strategy and communications plan with your people at the center. Get users involved from the very outset of the program. This should start before user testing and, where possible, encompass user involvement in setting the initial specifications. Look to build a positive team of user advocates. They can become the change agents you need to convince their peers of the new system’s benefits.

2. Coordinate your IT and change teams

Just like information, it’s too easy for business functions to become their own silos. Break down the barriers between your IT and change management teams to minimize friction and better address user requirements while adhering to security, performance and functional requirements. For example,  the IT and change management teams can work together to ensure that the system interface really is user-friendly.

3. Understand your organization’s learning culture

There are many great learning tools and training techniques available. eLearning and virtual classes, for example, are cost-effective and allow users to learn at their own pace. However, all organizations have their own learning culture and selecting the wrong tools will reduce the effectiveness of your entire program. Some users are happy learning at their own pace in a virtual environment, while others appreciate the classroom and the personal support of an instructor. Take the time to understand your culture and devise customized learning to suit the requirements of your user groups.

4. Ensure continuous, two-way communication

There is no substitute for good communication. You need to identify your stakeholder groups and then establish a communication program that connects with all your stakeholders early and often. The way each stakeholder currently performs their work — their processes — should be documented. The impacts the new technology will have on them needs to be identified and communicated. However, change management programs often get mired in one-way communication. You must ensure that all communication is two-way and that there is a feedback loop built into everything you do.

5. Create an effective governance structure

Many technology deployments fail to establish an effective governance structure that will lead and manage the deployment. Often the user is overlooked as governance comes from the project management and technical teams. In fact, your governance structure should consist of executive sponsors and a mix of all stakeholders impacted by the technology changes. The users involved within governance must have the power to voice concerns from the stakeholder group they represent.

6. Keep documentation up-to-date

When the new software is first delivered, the documentation is completely accurate. However, all software evolves over time and often the documentation doesn’t keep pace. This can be a source of real frustration for users who find that their manual or training course no longer aligns with the software they are using. Although it requires some effort, ensuring your documentation is always current is a small but significant way to help on-going adoption.

7. Keeping learning and evolving

It goes without saying that new software implementations don’t stop at go-live. It’s important that the change program is on-going and evolves over time as user preferences become clearer and you can more effectively customize training and communication. It’s advisable to run regular adoption health checks to identify whether everything is progressing as you want. If not, the output from the health check can inform the improvement programs you’ll require to address any continuing adoption gaps.

Creating your user adoption strategy

CIOs across the globe are beginning to understand the complexity involved in creating effective user adoption strategies. Many are turning to third-party providers who can bring skills and experience of successful adoption programs. For example, the OpenText™ Adoption Strategy Development FasTrak program delivers a comprehensive, modular course to help develop winning user adoption strategies.

Taking advantage of the expertise within OpenText Professional Services, the program helps you profile and segment user groups, identify learning objectives, customize training capabilities, consider behavioral aspects of EIM implementation and create a holistic plan for maximizing user adoption.

If you’d like to know more about how OpenText Professional Services can help boost your user adoption, please contact us.

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Patrick Mombaur

Patrick Mombaur, VP of Adoption & Learning Services at OpenText, is an aerospace engineer by training, but has devoted his professional life to the task of making technology adoption everything BUT rocket science! With a background as CIO for two European groups and also leading Professional Services organizations, he today leads the Adoption & Learning Services practice for OpenText.

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