By Jennifer van Lent, Director Solutions Marketing, DICOM
Do you know a company who has launched an enterprise-wide software platform with great fanfare, only to find employee usage dropped off dramatically several months later? Or – in a worse-case scenario – who shelved or decommissioned expensive software due to low user adoption?
A challenge for many companies is simply to motivate employees to embrace and use newly implemented software, such as a new Document Management, ECM or CRM system, a collaboration platform (like SharePoint) or a social enterprise software like Yammer. This is especially true if using the software is not mandatory for employees or when the functionality is unrelated to an employee’s daily job. The result is that active usage can decline 6 to 9 months after the initial launch, and the company might not realize their return on investment in the expected time frame (or perhaps not at all).
Over the years, I have been involved in numerous training and education programs to facilitate software launches. And, regardless of whether the software is for DM, ECM, collaboration or some other business use – several tried-and-true methods can help program managers to have a higher chance of a successful launch, to kick-start wide-spread user engagement and to increase the chance of sustainable, scalable success in employee adoption of the platform. Here are a few with the highest impact:
Top 10 Ways to Drive User Adoption:
- Secure executive sponsorship from key business units using the software.
- Create a roll-out plan and frequently communicate the key benefits with your employees.
- Create a dedicated roll-out and adoption team who can engage with employees.
- Get input from employees in the planning and operational phases.
- Establish metrics so you can start measuring and sharing success once the system is live
- Create super-users for different employee groups.
- Educate users by communicating effectively the “Why” and “What’s In It For Them (WIIFT)”.
- Don’t try to solve all your challenges at once – work in stages, starting with high-priority employees or areas where you can generate visible and valuable wins.
- Set the example by using the software yourself for workflows and business processes.
- After your software platform is live, share the user adoption rate and ask employees for feedback.
How does this work in action? Here are some success stories:
- Arthur J Gallagher & Co, an insurance brokerage and risk management company, credited their super users for facilitating quick company-wide adoption of their new KnowledgeLake ECM platform.
- The Hershey Company – maker of Reese’s Pieces and Hershey’s Bars – hosted a launch party for their innovation management site, with software experts standing by to help new users get started.
- A large aerospace company produced posters, tabletop displays and banners to educate their employees about the benefits of a new collaboration platform.
Remember, the software or technology itself is not the primary factor for making a project successful – it is your ability to communicate effectively to your employees about the program and to influence their “behavior” for using the software or technology in their daily work. So, don’t let your project team go home when you go live. Try these tips to encourage employees to use new software – and pretty soon, they just might love it.