Understanding User Adoption

By Linda Parkinson-Hardman on

It would be fair to say that most organisations think of user adoption as the icing on the cake of Microsoft 365 implementation. It’s something they know they should invest in but, if there is no money left at the end of the technical project, it could probably be scaled back. 

It also suffers from the perception of being like the cookie cutter IT training which traditionally followed any IT project. 

And yet, user adoption done well transforms organisations; not because it shows people how to store a file online instead of locally, but because it helps them re-imagine how they can achieve the outcomes their role demands by becoming more courageous, pragmatic and productive along the way. 

Rather than simply teaching someone ‘how’ to do a task, user adoption helps them understand ‘why’ the task needs doing in the first place. And in fact, can sometimes show the task doesn’t need doing after all. 

Far too often people carry on doing what they’ve always done simply because ‘that’s how it’s done here’! 

User adoption can be defined as in many ways, but my favourite is 

user adoption is the change in behaviour by people working in different ways to fulfil a specific outcome.” 

Perhaps the most visible example of such a change in behaviour is the rise of social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Sometimes, it appears that everyone is tweeting, updating, sharing and liking content and information from around the world, even in the most unlikely of places. 

What’s interesting to people like me is that this never started out in a ‘training’ room, it simply began when people realised the power of connecting in different ways using the technologies now available to them. 

You may be wondering why you need any investment at all if everyone is just going to use the amazing systems you’ve provided. The reality is that behaviour change like that seen with the social networks only happens when there is a clear answer to the question ‘what’s in it for me?’ Unfortunately, the maxim ‘if I build it, they will come’ doesn’t hold true in a business context where folks are heads down just doing their job. 

As well as the obvious changes in behaviour and activity associated with using new technology, the world of user adoption helps organisations make sure they are compliant and legal in an ever-litigious world. It helps prevent staff from making sensitive information public and, alongside technical security activities, can protect the organisation from increasing online threats. 

And have you ever thought about how you are going to prove the value of what you’ve just enabled? If you haven’t then the numbers are all you have, and increasing numbers of files stored in the cloud, rather than in local or onsite storage, could just be channel shift rather than true transformation. 

To show value, you need to demonstrate an effect on the lives of your staff, customers or partners. And to do this you need a user adoption strategy that is robust, measurable, sustainable and scalable because once you start this journey it’s never going to stop. 

So, Silversands is standing up and waving the user adoption flag. And we’re inviting you to get in touch to find out how we can help you get started on the amazing, challenging roller-coaster ride that is digital transformation. 

How can Silversands help? 

We have an upcoming webinar on 24th September on Successful O365 user adoption with the use of the ADKAR model so be sure to register to hear me live in action! We also have a user adoption seminar on 16th October. Please be aware that this seminar is exclusively for those in organisations that are responsible for business transformation, strategy, change and/or Office 365 roll-out, and are decision makers within their organisation. Please note that only 2 people per organisation can register as we are limiting this exclusive workshop to just 20 spaces.

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