workingIt is typical to experience resistance or ambivalence to change with projects that directly affect a users work processes. The “push back” can be minimized by informing, preparing and involving key stakeholders. A clear and open communication with staff is critical in developing their commitment to the change. Remember that change is a two step process; 1) realizing the change must happen and is good for them and 2) implementing the change into their daily routine. It is important to build clear understanding of where the change is leading and what it means through a strong business case and a clear vision. Staff must understand what the benefits of the project are to the company as well as to the individual, how things will change for them and how the project supports the company vision. Strong change leadership and open communication with stakeholders will build their commitment to and understanding of the changes and will involve them in the project.

Generically, ROI is a combination of cost savings and increased revenue. The difficulty lies in accurately accounting for and precisely measuring all of the line items that need to be plugged into the equation. At its most basic, it can be expressed as follows:

ROI = the sum of (+/- Savings) and (+/- Revenue) over a period of time

The challenge is twofold: accurately forecasting ROI and maximizing the actual results of the solution.

Roadblocks to User Adoption
ROI is intimately connected to changes in organizational and individual behavior. At best, the new technology will introduce new efficiencies, improve quality and act as a catalyst for entirely new ways of working. However, technical innovation and solution engineering prowess are not sufficient; end user adoption is “the last mile” of Solution ROI. Successful enterprise solutions are not installed with an installation wizard; they are assimilated into existing habits and practices.

The following depicts time and the degree of buy-in that can be expected by utilising a User Adopting Framework for projects that have high organisational impacts.

adoption

It is also critical to equip staff with the skills and capabilities required to use the new system. Organizations must build the capability of staff through education and training initiatives and support them with post go-live support initiatives. These activities are carried out at all stages of the project with such initiatives as process briefings and initial communications at the beginning of the project through to end user documentation at the conclusion. The diagram below shows communication, education and training initiatives as a continuum, beginning with providing foundation information at the beginning of the project, ramping up for the full deployment and continuing into support stages and post deployment phase.

builduaUser Adoption – Maximizing results
Adoption is best defined as the deployment of technology plus the assimilation of all behaviors the new technology is intended to facilitate plus, the abandonment of old behaviors that are to be eliminated.

The adoption rate is the rate at which the user population adopts best practices and abandons outdated behaviors. For example, if a portal is intended to eliminate duplicate work effort but the users are still reinventing the wheel and not working together even though the portal is operational, there is not complete adoption and the forecasted savings won’t be realized. The tabel below depicts general adoption rates based on the adopter (user) profile.

User Adoption framework
We now understand that successful enterprise solutions are not installed with an installation wizard; they are assimilated into existing habits and practices which requires business (and users) to change. As my marketing professor once said “Ron, people hate change…” and therefore an all encompassing strategy and framework for addressing this change is required.

The following are the areas you must focus on and examples are provided:

  • Business Vision – Think enabling and simplified experience. For example and IT company whose desire is to differentiate its service offerings by providing clients with best practice solutions that leverage the combined experience of its consulting staff population globally. They believe that by achieving this they will be able to justify the higher consulting fees associated with its cost structure. Adopt a knowledge management infrastructure that provides consultants with a means of capturing and publishing knowledge. Also, link staff performance metrics to the effort and establish measurement for contributions linked directly to projects.
  • User requirements – Enable users to view, search and submit documentation related to projects and other knowledge capture related activities. Allow for global access no matter their location as long as the internet is available and proper security is in place. Enable users to seek out thought leaders and areas of practice. Establish labor reporting codes to record time and support reporting.
  • Management and User Representative Governance and Steering – Establish knowledge forums and communications globally and assign local knowledge officers. Provide them with usage and contribution metrics. Offer staff incentives and other positive reinforcement.
  • Design – Deploy a Portal to provide communities, document storage and search mechanisms. Organize by communities or practice and technology focus areas.
  • Architecture – Deploy three Portals; 1) Americas, 2) Europe and 3) Pacific rim. Provide adequate capacity for 10,000 users in each region, 5 million documents and 25,000 sites.
  • Awareness Communications – Establish communications channels to the regions and office. Establish sites in each region to act as focal points of communications for that region. Leverage regional leads to drive this effort.
  • Training – Establish quarterly virtual training sessions – be persistent. Utilize virtual classroom software. Place training packages in each of the regional sites and monitor usage.
  • Deployment – Pilot or proof of concept deployment using PMI methods and framework. Full project deployment using PMI methods and framework
  • User Feedback Mechanisms – Establish forms on each of the regional sites. Provide Email links on each of the regional sites. Survey staff quarterly to gather feedback.
  • Usage (Adoption) measurement – Implement usage reporting for SharePoint Portal. Implement document publishing reports. For each completed project, 10 documents should be published.
  • Staffing plan – Part time (25% utilized) equivalent for day to technical operations per region. Part time (5% utilized) equivalent for day to knowledge management activities per region. Full time global knowledge mgmt person to coordinate efforts of regions and set policy. Customization and changes to be managed using change control and project teams as required.
  • Retirement of superseded systems – Relevant data is migrated to new systems. Communication of shutdown. These environments are shutdown, data wiped and removed for datacenters.

For a company to achieve its ROI, user adoption must be front and center to a company’s project from early inception through to ongoing management. The adoption rate at which the user population adopts best practices and abandons outdated behaviors will be a challenge to manage since organizational change is always difficult due to human factors. Resistance to change and awareness are common for any new business process and technology but can be managed using aggressive communications, training and performance measurement.

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