Why Education is Vital to Successful Technology Adoption in Your Business

Graham Fry, Managing Director, avsnet
- Technology - Sep 28, 2014

In recent years organisations of all shapes and sizes have invested in visual collaboration technologies. While the actual technology including video conferencing, telepresence, WebEx and digital smartboards has greatly improved, they are often frequently under utilised.

Many organisations know they need to do more to improve technology adoption, but a lack of knowledge and commitment to solving this issue often prevents any uplift in end-user adoption. Businesses cannot continue to rely on “hope” as a strategy for driving technology adoption.   

Driving Technology Adoption is All About the End-User

End-users do not care what the technology is, just that it works flawlessly all the time. IT can no longer throw technology over the fence and expect staff to run with it. You need to enable and on-board users as part of the adoption process, otherwise IT will continue to fail to deliver the full potential of the technology it deploys.

Never forget, everyone is unique. We all display different behavioural habits and consume in unique ways. This needs identifying during the discovery stage to ensure an effective framework for achieving adoption can be designed.

Once understood, act on the knowledge to define a strategy based around your specific business processes, current means of collaboration and communication and existing ways of working.

Success is achieved with a three-step targeted process:

1.   Put the end-user at the heart of your strategy, you need to understand what business tools they need to support their working lives and how they want to consume these tools

2.   Engage, empower and motivate individuals to adopt new ways of working and to ultimately change their behaviour

3.   Implement process and control to drive end-user behaviour over time and make adoption sustainable

Empowering the end-user to be competent and confident when introducing new productivity tools is essential if you are going to drive long-term adoption. By doing so, you will ultimately foster a culture of improved collaboration and communication. This is achieved by focusing on the following measures:

Drive change from the business’ centre. Identify key stakeholders who can become technology champions. Their enthusiasm and knowledge will become the reference point for others within everyday business functions, teams and departments. Truly sustainable adoption begins with these employees and spreads through their interaction with colleagues, clients and partners.

Be tough but fair. Clear and open communication around benefits can yield success, but there is always a minority that needs extra attention and guidance. Overcome this by building resistance into business processes.

Funneling behaviour through improved processes, control and governance will, over time, cause people to choose the least line of resistance and thus adopt the new processes and technology provided. For those that still resist change, consider one-on-one workshops or sterner line management.

Gain an understanding of working cultures. This is particularly critical for organisations that operate globally. Dispersed workforces come with their own working practices, language requirements, communication preferences and technical understanding.

Be open to trusting regional expertise and take into consideration local cultural etiquette as part of your overall adoption strategy.

Reward and motivate – remember we are all consumers. We are all motivated by a ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality so ensure high impact integrated communications programmes are created to build awareness of the personal and professional benefits. Always motivate and incentivise staff when they embrace new technology.

Making the effort to change is not easy for everyone. Let them know their efforts are appreciated. Create a sense of community where knowledge and success is shared and celebrated.

The technology needs to be fit for purpose. IT should complement the adoption strategy. If you want to make adoption easier for the end-user, you need to provide easy-to-use, intuitive tools:

  1. Technology should be effortless – a case of ‘one button, desired result’ functionality
  2. There should be guaranteed quality of service - working first time, every time without fail
  3. Integration should be business-wide – accessible on any device or end-point on any network globally

The End Goal

To affect long-term change, you have to be committed to the process – that applies to any technology or productivity tool. Clearly identify your business goals, understand your staff within their own environment and put the end-user at the heart of the programme. Only then will you see an uplift in adoption and business success.

A sustainable programme is the only method that results in long term end-user adoption and ultimately drives positive business outcomes for the organisation.

One offs do not work - effective end-user adoption is not an instant process and change will only be achieved over time if you stay dedicated.

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