User Adoption | Create a Culture of Change

PixelMill uses a set of metrics to help our clients define the success of any project we engage. The list always starts with user adoption. I once heard, “If you build a beautiful Intranet but nobody uses it, did you, in fact, build an Intranet?” If you were the one that originally shared this insight with me, please let me know because quite frankly, it’s brilliant. 
We continue to see the shift of the digital hub of organizations from the classic Intranet to a broader digital workplace. Digital workspaces are evolving at an even faster clip. The paramount importance of user adoption still moves the needle. It’s important for leadership to embrace the impact of constant change upon their organizations and instead of battening down the hatches, create and embrace a culture of change. This will enable their organization to excel and grow with the improving digital toolbox that helps everyone complete their tasks more effectively. 
User adoption is built upon a plan and a culture that embraces that plan, while allowing room for flexibility. By following a well-defined and designed blueprint, you set a firm foundation for current users. Future requirements may then be built upon this foundation with strategies in place that will encourage user adoption and engagement. 

Define a project’s goals and uncover your end user’s true needs.

How can you deliver a successful project that your end users will embrace and actually use without understanding what your end users truly need? You cannot simply ask them, “What do you want?” as few if any, end users actually know or can properly define what will help them do their job. Here at PixelMill, we ask the hard questions, and you should too. 
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”- Henry Ford. 
While the jury is still out on whether Ford actually uttered this, he did live it, and we do too. We’re not interested in building you what you want; we build you what you need. This often means asking questions and proposing options you may not have thought about.  
Asking the right questions helps uncover where your workflow gaps are, how you can collaborate and communicate better, and what issues the end-user needs solved. We don’t always know what the real issue is—often on the surface we think we know where the breakdowns are, but after spending time we uncover the root of the organizational problems are very different. 
The process of analyzing the aims of your solution should not only include what a solution will deliver, you also need to understand and verify how your solution will be used by your end users. Learn more about our recommended approach to analyzing project goals in our video, Why Business Analysis Matters and our blog post, Why a Business Analyst is the Ace up your Sleeve. 

Solve User Needs 

With defined project goals and understanding what problems your organization and end users are running into, you can now begin to build a solution that solves those issues. The end-user is who will be using your solution day to day, so why would you not want to include them in the planning? Experience has proven that employees who feel they are part of the process are quicker to adopt and champion a new solution.  

Lead by Example 

So, you’ve gone through the process of prototyping, piloting, or full on building and deploying a solution. Here comes the hard part—introducing the solution to a broader audience and driving adoption. You want others to do something, do it yourself first! 
Your employees are watching you and there’s nothing more demoralizing than hypocrisy. So, as they say, do as you say and lead by example.  

Strategic Governance  

A well-built system will always have a certain measure of rails in which users are expected to stay within. Governance and system best practices can provide the structure end users are looking for to speed up communication and collaboration in the most effective way a given solution was designed.  
Provide guidance, but you must also empower ownership and flexibility. Engage with the users of the system and ensure the solution evolves with available technology, best practices, and user feedback. The so-called shadow IT is often born when governance tools are too restrictive to allow employees to complete their job assignments. 

Enforce Governance  

Flexible governance without oversight is not governance. As previously mentioned, it is important to have solution policies and procedures, in general “governance”, for proper solution utilization. Flexibility is important so that the solution may evolve with the organization and technology. That all being said, rules that no one follows, or anyone can break without any regard to the overall strategy, are no rules at all. 
We have all seen what happens to digital workspaces with no governance. We end up with 200 SharePoint site collections all with the name “test” in them. No retention policies or ownership rules means these sites become difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is not. More than once we have seen clients remove all “test” sites only to find that some department was using their test site in production. 
Even flexible governance needs a core set of rules that remain constant. Common rules we find that should never be broken include: group and site naming conventions; ownership requirements, i.e. all groups or sites require a published owner with a routine process in place that verifies owners are still active; retention policies, and more. 
Enforcement requires thought and resources. Automation helps with routine tasks such as a scheduled process to review all sites verify active ownership. Workflows powered by tools such as Microsoft Flow can be utilized to enforce naming conventions. Keep enforcement within reason as well. If there are no resources dedicated to enforcement, consider what is and is not possible with the resources, team members, and budget available. 

Run an Adoption Campaign That Lives On 

“Build it and they will come,” simply doesn’t apply in the digital world. Your investment demands user adoption and an effective portal must be tailored to your users’ unique needs. Increase your ROI with a solution that’s built with the user in mind and build an adoption campaign that doesn’t just get people to “try it out” but encourages continued engagement. 
Step one: you must know your audience! It’s all about telling the right story to the right people. Consider how the tools might be used by different groups and build your adoption campaign around this.  

  • Empower Your Champions 

– Having champions, power users, and enthusiasts that help you spread knowledge, answer questions and remind users of governance helps share ownership of the solution which leads to greater adoption.  

  • Events 

– Consider a launch event where users can learn more, ask questions and get excited about the new solution. 

  • Internal Marketing Campaign 

– Market the benefits and allow for feedback 

– Don’t just sell the solution, tell the story of how the solution will help them do their job better 

– Use Microsoft forms to survey and identify how the solution can continue to evolve and become more effective 

  • Gamification 

– Have fun! Find ways to make adoption a game. Consider adding elements of gaming such as competition, points, badges, levels, and leaderboards to training programs to make them more engaging for learners. The goal of gamification is to: 

+ Motivate learners 

+ Impact their behavior 

+ Recognize their participation 

+ Reward their progress  

  • Ongoing Training and Education 

– Don’t just sell the solution, tell the story of how the solution will help them do their SPECIFIC job better. Consider having trainings tailored to each team’s unique needs 

PixelMill wants to help you champion a culture of change. Need assistance uncovering your user’s needs? Want to make the most out of your Office 365 investment? We’re here to help! Contact us today to learn how we can help make your users more efficient, effective, and happy!

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