A three-step approach to technology adoption

14 February 2017Alex Mogull

“Build it, and they will come!”

The quote is from Phil Robinson’s film adaptation of Field of Dreams. Phil Robinson obviously never worked in IT.

Investing in and building new technology solutions are hard enough nuts to crack in their own right. But getting a large organisation to successfully leverage and use new technology is even more critical. These days, more and more companies are investing in enablement projects, to ensure they bring home the value of technology investments.

At Cognifide we break adoption down into three critical phases, each one dependent on the success of the last. These will take your stakeholder groups on a journey from awareness to enablement and will take into consideration the varying needs of different audience segments. Before you start however, remember the singularly most important thing. Adoption is about people, not technology. Put yourself in their shoes, understand their mindset and don’t expect them to feel as positive about the new technology as you do. Change is hard and not always desired.

If you’re introducing a major new technology or even a major overhaul, it’s likely that you’ll be working with various different stakeholder groups, all with different goals, expertise and expectations. Lines of communication across any large-scale organisation are limited at best, so changing behaviours can take time. However, if you follow these three guiding principles you will be well on your way to success.

1. Awareness: sharing is key


The first step of an enablement project is awareness. The goal is not to define and circulate what is specific to each stakeholder group but what is shared across the organisation. This creates common ground for change. Without this foundation, the Chinese whispers of corporate communication have an unfortunate tendency to result  in a network of misleading information. 

Eventually this misinformation finds its way into planning conversations, and later projects feel these repercussions as major setbacks. Awareness is intended to remedy this. It sets the scope of the technology and manages expectations around what is and isn’t possible. Once these expectations have been set, the enablement team can work with each group to ensure that the next phase of communication is geared around their specific needs.

2. Training planning: time to go bespoke


Whilst it’s important that all stakeholders see the wider picture, they also need to be empowered in their own unique space. Without the appropriate role-specific training, resources, and support, key groups won’t be able to do the jobs that make up the day-to-day operative elements of the planned change. The first questions to answer are: who needs training, and what do they need to do? Clear roles need to be identified and understood if you’re going to ask people to change how they work - especially if those people are spread across multiple departments or agencies.

Once you have a clear understanding of the differing needs of your audience, you can create specific training to suit each unique segment.

3. Enablement: don’t fight human nature


Let’s face it, most employees are pretty change averse when it comes to disruption to their daily working practices. And nobody really wants to give up their time to learn new skills when, as far as they were concerned, the old ones suited them just fine. The sooner you accept this, the sooner your new platform will start generating ROI.

So at all costs, avoid ‘they were told'. Simply providing and circulating a training manual - digital or otherwise - just won’t cut the mustard. Yes, probably the answer was in the training manual somewhere, if they looked hard enough. But the escalation has already happened, the project is already delayed and your senior stakeholders are already unhappy with you. ‘They were told’ is not an acceptable answer.

Instead, you need a high-quality enablement framework that anticipates the human predisposition to avoid reading the small print until it all goes pear-shaped. And you’ll need to work within a budget. So that interactive 3D Bear Grylls video is probably out of the window.

Besides, face-to-face training is always more effective than videos or documents. And if in-person isn’t an option, think dial-in sessions. They will still be more immersive when your audience and their attention are captured within a specific time-frame and shared with colleagues.

When it comes to the written word, consider accessibility.  Opt for a plain Confluence space or Word document and focus on readability, structure and tone of voice. And hide that version control table or the list of data fields: it is useful, but it’s not what users need to see first.

Always remember that the goal is not to take all of the information and make it accessible in every format. The end goal is to deliver relevant information to the right people, at the right time, within budget; thereby ensuring that they can then deliver projects to as high a quality as possible.

Using this three-step approach, you should be able to make sure that your teams can take advantage of all of the features that new technology may offer. If you would like to know more about our enablement offering, get in touch!

Author: Alex Mogull
Published: 14 February 2017
cultureagiledigital transformationoperating modelcontinous delivery

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