Throughout August, we turned our focus toward workplace technology adoption—why it’s important, how it’s achieved, and how companies and employees can benefit from it. Over the years, we have supported organizations in cultivating employee proficiency with software applications and improving organizational mastery of technology use, which ultimately leads to transformational growth.

We use that experience as a foundation for this series, and build upon it with the lessons both we and our clients have learned. Use this series as a guide as your organization formulates its own digital adoption strategy.

Read the entire series:
Digital Adoption

In the keynote speech at last month’s Inspire conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke about the enormous opportunity brought about by digital transformation, how it’s creating the “modern workplace,” and his company’s role in this evolution.

The workplace itself is changing, he noted—the growing skills gap is shifting employee expectations, and teams are more diverse and globally distributed. “Leaders are hungry to empower their employees, transform and shape culture in this rapidly changing work environment,” he added.

Microsoft’s goal, he explained, is to build the experiences and tools that make it possible for every employee, regardless of role or function, to be much more productive in getting things done.

Over the past few weeks, we have outlined our role as a Microsoft partner in helping to carry out that mission. We have examined the first three phases of the Vitalyst digital adoption strategy, which we designed to ensure workers can keep up with the rapid changes and move toward a deeper understanding and mastery of technology.

In today’s post, we close the series with the final phase—empowerment.

In the previous phase, you worked to ensure that everyone in your organization reached a basic level of adoption and proficiency with the new technology. To do so, you selected adoption champions within your organization, established feedback loops, promoted successes, and responded to feedback. You expanded and stepped up communication, provided a range of learning opportunities, and offered live support to close gaps.

For the empowerment phase, you accelerate the efforts you put forth during deployment, and add a layer that’s aimed at building advanced skills.

Earlier in your adoption journey, you evaluated business user needs, created feedback loops, and worked with pilot groups to identify best practices. During deployment, you addressed employees’ most pressing needs and ensured they understood the basics. The empowerment phase is when you provide instruction for more advanced needs, use feedback to create new training tracks, and step up efforts to share and refine best practices.

This phase is also when you encourage your business users to go beyond the familiar. How can they use the new technology to improve their processes? Which new or improved features can significantly increase their productivity and effectiveness?

Empowerment also includes keeping current with frequent software updates. You need to know which new tools are coming and how they might impact employees, and provide training update sessions to ensure everyone stays ahead.

This phase is also when you encourage your business users to go beyond the familiar

Empowerment comes in many forms. For example, we recently partnered with a global development organization to increase adoption of OneDrive among its 12,000 international employees. The company’s underlying goals were to prevent data loss, make it easier for employees to access files from mobile devices, and improve overall collaboration.

We worked with the company to create a training and adoption solution that would accelerate usage of OneDrive. Vitalyst’s solution included a mix of webinars and custom-built content aligned with the organization’s culture. It was much more than just a technology rollout. We helped the company craft an awareness campaign that effectively communicated the “what’s in it for me” value of OneDrive.

In another partnership, we helped an international software company move from a legacy communications platform to Skype for Business. But it wasn’t a simple flip—the end goal was to teach the company’s 10,000 employees to collaborate and connect in a completely different manner.

After completing the initial adoption phase, we rolled out a plan that was designed to bring employees to proficiency and mastery of the new system. We created custom training resources in five languages, provided on-site experts and digital resources, plus personalized tip guides.

By migrating to a common platform and offering resources to encourage mastery of the software, the company broke through the limitations imposed by the previous platform.

Adoption strategies are complex, layered endeavors. Each phase is important and helps organizations reach their goals with new technology implementations. The empowerment phase, however, is a little different—it helps employees go beyond adoption, toward mastery, creativity and collaboration.

Our methodology is cyclical—to sustain innovation and growth, you need to apply it to every part of your digital adoption journey. For example, if you begin with a move to Outlook, you will follow up by migrating to Skype, OneDrive, SharePoint, and other applications. You will need to complete the four-phase cycle for each application to ensure that all of your business users achieve mastery. Doing so will also enable you to deliver on digital transformation’s promises, and shape the modern workplace into an appealing destination instead of an unsettling one.

Image: Freepik/mrsiraphol

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