In software implementation projects, the focus is increasingly shifting towards user adoption, applying ‘people change management’ best practices to reach this goal. There is a lot to say about people change management principles and best practices that we have previously discussed (How change management, adapting and adoption became a daily task & 7 ways to boost user adoption). The below image shows the four most important aspects affected by change: people, processes, information, and IT. Software projects often create change, and the human side of accepting this change is most critical.
What can be done to facilitate this change? Let’s focus on the most important contributor to successful user adoption – an active and visible executive sponsor.
Several organizations such as Prosci and Insight state that having an active and visible executive sponsor is the biggest contributor to successful user adoption, and from personal experience in many projects over the past 10 years, our entire Learning Services Training Consultant team completely agrees.
An executive sponsor is a leader within an organization with the power and resources to realize the planned benefits of a change. This sponsor ensures that the change is aligned with the organization’s values and goals, making the benefits of the change sustainable. This is the easy part, but there’s more – what does it mean to be active and visible?
An active sponsor is one who does not only provide the resources, but participates in the change. This also translates to using the new software instead of just talking about how great the new tool is (of course, there’s much more to this, but this is a very important part of it)
It’s not enough to just be active within the change, a sponsor must also be seen. Many of us know of sponsors who may have the relevant resources and even participate actively but who stay hidden. Usually, it’s because they aren’t aware of “how” to be a visible sponsor. This article by Prosci states that “More than 50% of participants reported that their sponsors did not have an adequate understanding of the role of a sponsor.” Visibility of a sponsor allows for the creation of an emotional connection that can help overcome any initial resistance to change.
At OpenText, our holistic approach to User Adoption starts with a Readiness Assessment, where identifying an executive sponsor is one of the key elements. Depending on the results of the Readiness Assessment, we offer advice and recommendations on how to communicate as an active and visible sponsor. The earlier User Adoption is involved in a project, the easier it is to implement.
And what about those projects where the technical change has been implemented and you are live, but the number of users actively using the system daily lags well behind your hopes and predictions? As this case study blog shows, you are not alone. The good news is: An active, visible sponsor can even come in at a later point and still ensure the realization of benefits.
|“A successful application is not measured by whether it is up and running – it is measured by the number of users actively using the system daily.” Tom Jenkins, OpenText Chair of the Board|
Are you adopting Information Management technology? Do you want to know how to best start, manage and consolidate this change? Contact Learning Services to learn more about the OpenText User Adoption approach.
Co-authors: Samuel Peuker – Sr. Manager, Training Consulting, Prosci® Certified Change Practitioner + Julia Sellmeier – Lead Training Consultant, Prosci® Certified Change Practitioner