Sit a modern worker down in front of a new software platform, and chances are they’ll be able to figure out how to use it. They’ll noodle around a bit, check out the menus, click buttons, and soon, they’ll be up and running with the basics.
This is what many workers do when faced with new technologies adopted in response to organisational changes. And lately, there’s been a lot to figure out.
Demands for efficiency and automation have resulted in a proliferation of specialised software solutions. The rise of remote and distributed work added sophisticated collaboration tools.
Mergers and acquisitions have left many companies with a patchwork of disconnected platforms. Without a cohesive plan for adoption and change management, users are often left to their own devices to make technology work for them.
Intuitive software has a lot of advantages, but it can also have hidden costs if it isn’t rolled out with a plan. Whether due to rushed deployment or happenstance, users who have to find their own way around a new tool can end up with a superficial understanding of its capabilities.
That can leave many useful features untapped. A tool implemented to streamline processes can instead lower productivity, compound inefficient workflows, and even generate avoidable errors. Frustration can lead to wasted time as users struggle to figure out how to accomplish their tasks. They may even be tempted to bypass security measures in acts of desperation.
Cleaning up the mess
Adoption and change management connect humans to the technology that supports their jobs. It’s a holistic approach that looks across the entire IT environment in order to maximise integration, collaboration, and productivity.
The trend towards individual business units determining their own technology needs and making decentralised purchase decisions has left many IT teams overwhelmed. The focus is often on researching and acquiring tools rather than optimising the environment to maximise user satisfaction and knowledge.
Many organisations are taking the opportunity to implement adoption and change management in conjunction with data migrations. Migrations are being triggered by mergers, acquisitions, cloud consolidation and workplace modernisation.
Any substantial migration includes a discovery and planning phase. This pre-migration phase gives IT a chance to audit and clean up the environment. It’s always been a best practice to delete or archive data that’s past its retention lifespan.
The same can be said for obsolete or redundant applications. A pre-migration audit allows IT to identify best-of-breed systems and determine how they can be deployed company-wide. This is where adoption and change management comes in.
The general framework for adoption and change management starts with identifying roles, structures, processes, projects, leadership competencies and performance measures (KPIs).
Organisations often work with technology services providers like SoftwareONE, Insight, and Unisys to develop a comprehensive plan based on their maturity, objectives and employee needs.
The migration itself is usually the easiest part of the process – especially with my company’s migration app. Proper preparation and implementation can turn migration into an efficiency and productivity engine that results in a more streamlined IT function as well as a clear picture of how IT can support future growth.
Communication and education are vital to the adoption and change management process. Training will help address any changes users might encounter when familiar software is on a new platform.
It can also help level-set people throughout the organisation to ensure they’re getting the most out of their technology tools. Another best practice is to designate internal champions or ambassadors who will help their peers. Internal advocates play an important role in identifying specific use cases that require attention for the project to be a success.
Whether it’s patchwork IT that has evolved as a response to a rapidly changing environment or mergers and acquisitions that result in a collection of disparate systems, a fractured IT infrastructure is a drag on collaboration and productivity. And that’s a drag on ROI when every opportunity for efficiency counts.
Organisations that see employees as their key to success see adoption and change management as the fulfilment of that commitment. It’s an opportunity to support employees with the right tools and the knowledge they need to use them.
Making that human-tech connection is a critical component of what services providers offer. Our own migration application is an important tool in the toolkit, with adoption and change management increasingly being built into migration projects in order to take advantage of opportunities for consolidation, integration and efficiency.