Introduction to User Adoption: Part 1 of 4

“User adoption” is a phrase often heard in the workplace, business articles, and trade shows. While understanding the term user adoption can be a challenge, achieving it is much more elusive. When user adoption doesn’t go according to plan, investments made on projects can become risky and in some instances, even threaten the well-being of a company.

What is user adoption, anyway?

Simply put, user adoption refers to the level of an employee’s acceptance in embracing and engaging with a new business tool, process or job change. It is achieved when an employee integrates the change into his or her daily routine. User adoption leads to benefit realization and achieving the objectives that dictated the need for change in the first place.

A common challenge businesses face is sustaining the level of user adoption experienced when projects go-live. With the next project on the horizon and subject matter experts going back to their “day jobs”, long-term user adoption takes a concerted effort. A strong change management and training strategy, focused on the people being impacted by the change increases the likelihood of user adoption, and therefore the overall success of the project.

8 steps to ensure successful user adoption

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one.
- Mark Twain.

In this blog series, we’ll introduce you to eight simple steps you can begin using immediately to achieve user adoption. We’ll cover two steps per blog to help you to achieve user adoption before go-live, during go-live and beyond go-live.

Step 1: Get ready, get set, go!
Many organizations spend around 50% of their IT budget on large-scale IT projects. The statistic itself is not surprising. What is, however, is the investment can be risky because the execution of these projects leaves a lot to be desired. Many times, IT projects neglect to focus on the people side of change, and typically find they haven’t addressed pain points that were the very premise of the project.

When preparing for a project kick-off:

  1. Collaborate with key stakeholders to define the vision and desired outcomes of the project
  2. Meet with leaders to discuss their critical role within the project
  3. Understand where your project aligns with other ongoing projects
  4. Discuss and prioritize related key performance indicators – or KPIs, to make sure that you’re able to measure success and re-calibrate if needed
  5. Determine groups of users who will require training and communication

Step 2: What does success look like?

“Success is achieved and maintained by those who try and keep trying.” - W. Clement Stone

The level of user adoption of new technology is reliant on the percentage of people who use the new system and who bring the change to life in their day-to-day work. For large scale projects, the level of user adoption must be 80%-100% to consider the project a success.

Project success requirements:

  1. Discuss pain points in your current processes
  2. Consider what can be improved
  3. Assess the required changes, their business impacts, and determine who will be impacted
  4. Determine how best to conduct governance long-term to avoid reverting back to old habits
  5. Answer the “why are we doing this?” question

User adoption plays a large role in your organization’s and project success goals and it’s important to remember that these first steps are just the tip of the iceberg.

Continue your user adoption journey with us over the following weeks for the remainder of our 8 simple steps to user adoption success.