Throughout August, we are turning 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.
Previous post in this series:
The Times are A-Changing

Would you agree to buy property based on assumptions or generalizations? Definitely not. Most likely, you would first identify what you need, such as square footage, location and price, and consider other key factors such as the age of the building, zoning information, neighborhood, crime rate, and other factors. By taking such proactive steps, you avoid costly mistakes.

Indeed, the idea of entering into a contract for something so expensive without considering all the variables is absurd. Why, then, is it ever acceptable to approach other costly endeavors, such as implementing new workplace technology, with a narrow focus on the technology and little consideration for its impact on business users? Implementation of technology does not ensure adoption. Understanding business user needs is a critical but often-overlooked element.

In our first installment of this series, we outlined the four phases of our human-centric approach to tech adoption. This week, we examine the first phase, which is focused on discovery and identifying needs.

Although every step is important, identifying the gaps is perhaps the most critical to success. You already know what your desired outcome is—enabling your employees to realize their full potential with technology. To achieve that goal, you will need to first understand your employees and their needs. What are their current proficiency levels with key software applications? How does that proficiency differ among your defined user groups?

Defining user groups and employee readiness for adoption enables you to make decisions based on actual needs rather than assumptions—and, in the end, ensures improved performance and better outcomes.

In our experience working with clients on digital transformation initiatives, we’ve seen how losing sight of the “humanization of technology” philosophy can have expensive consequences—especially when planning the business user adoption and proficiency journey.

We recently worked with a Fortune 500 company, whose initial attempt to deploy Office 365 had failed. A lack of project awareness and training resources caused key business stakeholders to push back on the deployment. That uproar, paired with critical gaps in the change management design, prompted the company to end the project mid-stream, costing it millions.

Sometime later, the company decided to pick up the pieces and invest appropriately in the human component of the project. Using the findings from a “persona analysis” of the company’s workforce, we defined and executed an adoption-focused training plan1. We paired the analysis with best-of-breeds resourcing to advise, implement and support front-line workers post-deployment—and the project was completed ahead of schedule and within budget. The company is now working toward building upon the new platform to drive key innovation projects and advance their digital roadmap.

According to a report published by the World Bank, basing decisions on actual needs instead of on generalizations can also lead to increased job satisfaction, longer retention, improved quality of life for employees and others, reduced stress, new social networks, retained knowledge, and creative and innovative thinking. Your clients and partners will also benefit.

We started this blog series by recalling how Microsoft’s recent Inspire conference prompted us to ask ourselves a question: If Microsoft’s goal is to enable people and companies to achieve more by helping them realize their full potential with tech, how do we play a part?

The answer is something we’ve known for the quarter of a century we’ve been in business: You cannot approach technology adoption without considering the human element. This first phase ensures that your employees are at the center of your adoption strategy and that they remain there throughout the process.

Stay tuned: In next week’s post, we will examine phase two of our methodology, the planning stage.

Image: Freepik

1. For more information about persona analysis, see Microsoft’s white paper “Personas: Practice and Theory

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