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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:
Mind the Gaps

Last week, we wrote about the importance of understanding the needs of business users when beginning a technology adoption effort. We posed a question: Why is it ever acceptable to approach a costly project such as implementing new workplace technology with a narrow focus on the technology and little consideration for its impact on business users?

Adoption does not automatically occur with technology implementation—simply having the tools does not mean employees will use them. Employee engagement is a necessity to realize true return on investment. Studies have shown that user-focused organizations outperformed tech-focused companies, achieving 23 percent higher revenue per employee against their industry peers.1 Employee engagement and change management is of particular concern for SaaS platforms—functionality enhancements and changes become frequent and impactful, and many companies are left playing catch-up.

Your adoption approach needs to be human-centric, purposeful and unrelenting. Go beyond the basics of making the technology work in your environment—make it work for your environment. As we wrote last week, the first—and perhaps the most important—step is the discovery phase, in which you gain a deep understanding of business user needs and identify their current proficiency gaps.

The first phase is about working toward becoming more results-driven and less solution-focused. You identify the results you want to accomplish, instead of the solutions you want to implement. Once you have that insight, you are ready to move onto the next step, the planning phase, and closer to your desired outcome of enabling your employees to realize their full potential with technology.

In the planning phase, you start to put the insight you gained into practice. You come up with answers for the questions you asked in the first phase: How can I enable my employees to realize their full potential with technology? How can I avoid one-size-fits all solutions and instead embrace customized approaches that address employees’ different learning needs? What can I do to reinforce what employees have learned and to encourage deeper development?

Your adoption approach needs to be human-centric, purposeful and unrelenting. Go beyond the basics of making the technology work in your environment—make it work for Your environment

The answers may be different among organizations, and even among employee segments, but the source should always be the same—the knowledge and insight gained during the discovery and needs assessment phase. If you lean on those assessments to inform the numerous choices you make along the way, your chances of achieving the desired outcome—helping employees realize their full potential with technology—become much greater.

For our part, we act as a compass for clients, guiding them toward achieving their ultimate goals. We do that by using data collected during the discovery phase to put together a holistic learning and education approach. We examine a company’s culture, business goals, and other elements to formulate a plan of action.

In conversations with our delivery teams, we have heard horror stories and tales of IT leaders left with figurative battle scars as a result of poorly planned initiatives. One story stands out—that of a Fortune 100 technology firm that recently came to us for help transforming work processes for its sales department.

After low adoption of previous CRM implementations, and considering the inherent challenge of introducing a new way of working to a department that is historically autonomous, the tech firm issued a request for proposals inclusive of technology, technical planning and implementation, and an all-encompassing adoption and change management solution. Vitalyst was selected as part of the team to help the firm achieve its transformation goals.

Because we recognize that change management is a large part of planning for technology deployments, we worked with the company’s business leaders to identify primary objectives—both for the organization and for employees. We then created a customized, intuitive CRM system that would enable the customer to achieve those goals.

Collaborating with business leaders enables organizations like ours to understand the ‘between the lines’ requirements and build project advocates in the organization. Plus, partnering with internal subject matter experts facilitates a solid understanding of employees’ learning personalities, and helps to ensure delivery of a comprehensive training program that addresses the needs of a diverse group of employees.

The key element of the planning phase—and of the overall effort—is unearthing and addressing those ‘between the lines’ requirements. They are adoption’s human element, and understanding them is what enables us to guide organizations toward quicker, more successful deployments.

When employees have access to the resources they need—when they need them—political obstacles disappear and transformation is possible. True adoption can be achieved.

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

Image: ijeab/Freepik

1. IT Adoption Insight Report, 2012, Oracle UPK & Neochange

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