Everyone talks about user adoption. But what is it exactly?
“The process that leads people to bid farewell to their old way of working, and – with the help of new technology – helps them to adopt a new way of working to complete their tasks more efficiently and effectively within the organization.”
So, at its core, it addresses changing human behavior. As wel all know, changing human habits is tricky. This includes habits related to using ICT tools. Many people are already familiar with Simon Sinek’s “It starts with Why?”-approach. Let’s apply this principal to user adoption as well.
User adoption – why?
Countless studies show that a lack of user adoption is a crucial factor for the failure of ICT projects. Rephrased positively: successful user adoption leads to a higher feeling of satisfaction, a better workplace atmosphere and an increase in productivity. For nonprofit organizations, this means that more work can be done with the same number of people. Which allows the organization to have a greater impact. Simply put: it’s one further step along to way to improving the world!
Good user adoption should be part of the start of an implementation, or even before that. Sadly, this is often not the case.
But even when users are involved in the process, user adoption can still decrease over time. Some causes can identified:
There is a constant intake of new employees in the organization, who have to learn how to use the program and get used to the way of working. Not everyone uses the whole program, and not everyone is at the same level of understanding.
The environment of the organization changes constantly. Rules and regulations are modified continuously. This can lead to work processes being adapted.
The programs are updated more or less regularly. New technological possibilities are created every time.
So: even once the development and implementation are done, user adoption still isn’t over! Keep listening to users, fix small issues, inform users about adjustments or new possibilities. Regularly organise user trainings for new people. And let management be the example when it comes to using the new program, so other employees are stimulated to use the program and all its possibilities too.
The g-company user adoption solution
We regularly receive requests from clients to help them with the internal adoption of a new technology. As a result of this, g-company has developed a ‘method’: the user adoption solution. This solution is comprised of four parts:
user adoption dashboards
survey for users
user adoption workshops
reports and discussion of the results
1. User adoption dashboards
We install a couple of dashboards in the client’s work environment, which allow for a quick read of a couple of things. Such as who logs in and how often, how much data is entered and what the quality of the entered data is.
2. Digital survey
A digital survey is drafted and sent to all employees, in consultation with the client. Questions can include: how many hours per week do you use the program and for which tasks? Which parts of the program have saved you time, and which parts have caused you irritation? And is there a need for more instruction?
3. User adoption workshops
Armed with the results of the dashboards and surveys, it’s time to talk to the users, in groups of max. eight participants. We use the so-called Appreciative Inquiry, using the newest insights of the positive energy. We apply two main principles: allow space for negative thoughts and feelings, and use that to think creatively about what can be improved. We emphasize thinking not in terms of limitations of technology and budget, but in terms of “Wouldn’t it be nice if…”. The first part leads to a ‘Wall of Horrors’, whereas the second leads to a ‘Wall of Dreams’. Ending with a ‘Wall of Dreams’ is crucial, when working from the principle “Where attention flows, things grow.”
4. Results, costs and yield
Based on these workshops and our best practices, stemming from our years of experience, we are able to formulate proposals for improvement. We include an estimation of cost, and estimate the possible ROI together with the client. This allows us to finalize a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves.
The method we propose, is based on experiences with various clients, such as the Ronald McDonald Kinderfonds, Het Vergeten Kind, and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.
Would you like to talk further about user adoption in your organization? I’d love to be in contact with you via firstname.lastname@example.org.