I’m seeing a lot of noise around “User Adoption”.
I’m not altogether surprised by this.
In an ideal world from a vendor perspective, UC services wouldn’t require any 3rd party help in setting up and creating user adoption.
However, the world is far from ideal. It’s complex and getting more so. Customers need help and advice when selecting their UC solution and require support in getting their organisations to use online collaboration tools.
So what do customers want from “User Adoption”?
A magic wand! Something that makes everyone aware of the personal and company benefits UC can deliver and ensures that everyone is trained up and using the collaboration tools throughout the entire organisation from day one.
And in case you forget, at zero cost. No-one wants to pay for this stuff.
You can’t outsource cultural change
Leadership teams within companies have to create the right environment for their people to do great work. Those companies still operating on a “top down” command and control system, will need to change their way of working for UC to deliver the goods.
This was true before digital transformation was even thought about. This is what the management guru John Seddon said in 2005 in his book “Freedom from Command and Control”:
"Command and Control is failing us. There is a better way to design and manage work - a better way to make work work - but it remains unknown to the vast majority of managers."
I would hazard a guess that this still is the case in many companies today.
Leaders need to lead. The CEO and his team should be the prime advocates and show by example how online collaboration tools can improve business efficiency and personal productivity.
And they need to loosen the strings and allow the layers of people underneath them to do the same.
Key evangelists in the organisation should be identified and held up as the standard when it comes to adopting the new technology.
This can’t be left to a service provider or reseller to provide.
The message needs to come from the top down. It’s a combination of stick; “this is the way we’re now working and everyone needs to step up”, and carrot; “don’t worry, we’ll help you make the leap”.
And that’s where, in my opinion, User Adoption programmes come in.
They need to work in such a way to amplify the way leaders and other key people are benefiting from new ways of working.
Without this backdrop, why should anyone change the way they work? It’s human nature to stick with what we know.
Some sectors are ahead of others when it comes to UC. But overall, there’s still a long way to go!
A recent Government report by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and Department for Culture, Media and Sport, cites GO ONs UK’s “digital exclusion heatmap”, estimating that 12 million people and one million businesses in the UK do not have the appropriate digital skills to benefit from the digital economy.
Working with the right partner
User Adoption is all about demonstrating by example.
It’s about creating confidence and overcoming the fear factor with digital transformation that exists not only amongst older employees, but also with digital natives.
Without this overlay, many User Adoption programmes are just glorified training schemes with no context or environment to encourage regular use and resulting in no upskilling in the workforce.
Engaging with the right partner with the most appropriate User Adoption programme is therefore crucial to making sure customers get the best from their investment in UC.
As a starting point, I’d advise taking an internal audit of your working culture, to determine its suitability for UC. From this you can create a specification for what you need.
Like many generic terms, User Adoption means different things to different people.
It’s well worth looking in detail about what type of post-sale service your SP or reseller can provide you with, as they will vary considerably, matching this with your specification.
Beware…some companies offer no post sale support for user adoption and leave it all up to you. Others provide remote training sessions, and may include some follow up or monitoring of usage and take up. These may or may not be included as part of your overall service price.
At the other end of the scale, some offer full change management consultancy. This is usually costly and it’s worth making sure that the skills and coaching required to create cultural change, can be provided by a UC provider.
In any event, a bit of due diligence and requesting references of previous deployments, will give you the evidence you need to make the right choice.