Author’s Note:This blog post was a contribution from Annekathrin Häse, Director of Strategy & Marketing, MindLink Software.
Adoption is everything! And therein lies the problem. We see many organizations committed to bringing the newest technology and collaboration solutions to their workforce. They have the budgets in place, have chosen the best technology platforms and spent time and effort on integrating them and advertising them internally. And then…nothing. No uptake, no adoption, project failure.
Business collaboration solutions are being deployed by companies because of their potential to significantly improve information sharing, knowledge management and organizational effectiveness.
Adoption, however is not something that comes overnight, something that can be mandated.
An organization might have the most state-of-the art technology in the world at its disposal but adoption will only occur when the user decides for themselves that he/ she wants to use it because it brings benefits to them and makes their life easier.
So here are some ways to ensure that your collaboration initiative will reap rewards and find the adoption that you are looking for. (Beyond the technology and integration itself)
1) Have your use cases ready
Why and how employees are supposed to use the new collaboration tool(s) might not be as apparent as it looks. The announcement ‘now let’s collaborate’ will more likely be greeted with confused faces than euphoria. Make sure you have a handful of clear, real-life use cases ready to share with your audience on how the tool can be used and what benefits they can help achieve e.g. enhance new hire on boarding, better project coordination, smoother support operations, quicker knowledge retrieval, faster access to subject matter experts…
2) Phased vs. Big Bang
Which approach to choose when rolling out new process or technology deployment remains the eternal lynchpin. If you are unsure about how your company will react to the new collaboration tool or if you have little experience or limited resources (in manpower and money), go with the phased approach. It allows you to implement the technology in one department, test the waters, make adjustments if necessary, built solid use cases, recruit champions of the tool and create an incubator for a future company-wide deployment.
3) Pull vs. Push
Pushing people to use a collaboration tool that they have no natural inclination to use and no experience with, is not going to get you anywhere. The moment you turn your back, it’s goodbye collaboration tool and welcome back ‘good old Email system’. Creating pull and drawing employees into the collaboration tool is what creates long-term adoption. Make them see that they can get things done faster, more easily, more efficiently. Include elements of gamification leveraging people’s natural desires for self-expression, competition, recognition and achievement.
4) Train the users (and the trainers)
Nothing can replace hands-on experience for new users – and by that we mean not just mammoth-sized user guides and a multitude of product sheets. Interactive sessions and new media formats such as videos and podcasts coupled with lunch-and-learns, and other live presentations are the way forward. Train your employees on the collaborative solution by having their hands on the keyboard and mouse.
5) Recruit enthusiastic champions
Find a handful of individuals that will act as the go-to people for your end users. Energetic, tech-savvy, passionate about new technology, well-respected and well-connected, these champions will make it their mission to make every employee a user and out of every user an evangelist.
6) Appoint cultural change agents
Isn’t that the same as my champions? Not necessarily. If you are a small or midsize business, this may well be one single person but for big multi-nationals, those cultural change agents have an even wider role. They are full time positions in charge of managing transitions to new processes and technologies, whether that focuses just on collaboration or any new solution. In any case, champions and change agents need to work hand in hand, with the former having the day-to-day tactical insight and the latter the more strategic view; they are the pillars to success.
The above six tips will not only complement your collaboration solution but it will significantly speed up your roll out and make sure that end user will, well…use it.
Want to find out more on collaboration tools & solutions? Download this FREE whitepaper on Business Critical Collaboration using Persistant Chat tools from MindLink now.