One of the greatest pleasures in my job is when I get to meet with customers and hear how they are implementing our solutions to drive business value in their organization. As we have recently completed our worldwide Innovation Tour, I was privileged to meet with several of our customers in different regions of the world and to be inspired by their stories. One of the common topics I heard our customers speaking to each other about is User Adoption and the change management that comes with implementing a new or upgraded system. Three common themes emerged as drivers to success for user adoption in their implementations.
Pride of Ownership
Successfully adopted systems have clear owners who take pride in the system and their role in it. When you hear the champion for a new system talk to peers about their implementation you can see the enthusiasm in their face. The smiles come out and you can see that they have taken personal pride in the success of the system within the organization. Whether the system is operated on their premises or in the cloud is not a factor in their level of ownership. The champion (and their leadership) have a personal stake in the project and show that clear dedication to the success of the system, to achieving their business goals, and to ensuring the users have a good experience.
Most successful information management projects include the business stakeholders in the process from the very early stages. They are involved in creating the business requirements and in most cases are key members in the system selection team. Stakeholders from a variety of roles are included, from those that are tied directly to the business success factors, to end users. The business groups partner effectively with IT throughout the evaluation and selection stages of the software and implementation partner(s).
Once the system is selected, many organizations choose a broad team to take the system through the next steps, deciding on implementation choices, user experience, acceptance criteria and so on. Many of the customers that describe adoption success have used this phase to involve a broader set of user types and departments or regions, effectively expanding their base of information and their local evangelists.
One of the other tactics involves “humanizing” the system. Many have named their system, often with a name chosen through a company contest involving employees of all types. The amount of involvement they have gained up front seems to correlate to system acceptance down the road. Names the organizations choose for their system vary widely but quite often with the information systems, the chosen name reflects bringing people and information together. With the new name, decided by contest, the system now becomes a ‘someone’ that people have a vested interest in helping to succeed.