How to Effectively Roll Out a New Technology
It seems like the more expensive the solution, the more people complain about it. You probably have entire ecosystems of tools that people begrudgingly use — or maybe don't use at all. The adoption of new (or even existing) technologies in your office isn't an IT problem. It's a management opportunity.
Unfortunately, whenever there's an implementation failure, it's often the technology that's blamed. The reality is that for even the finest technical solution to succeed, you need to have trained and willing users. And it's not just the front-line employees who need to be trained. Your project managers, trainers, and user support teams must be fully on board and trained as well.
Let's take a look at some of the things you should consider if you're planning to introduce new technology — or try to get your users to use what you've already invested in.
Step 1: Implementation Planning & Introduction
Sure, every success begins with a solid plan, but there are many implementation and introduction issues that your IT team is ill-suited to implement. They can initiate them, but you might need to determine if they can implement them. You should have a clear understanding of:
Why are you implementing the new technology,
What's in it for your users,
How will you roll it out and support the users,
What success will look like, and
How you will measure success.
You'd be wise to have a seasoned project leader to oversee development of the roll-out plan. In addition to your training plan, consider how you'll "sell" the new technology to your users and how you'll support them.
Communication is key to successful implementations. Collaboration platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Skype for Business are great tools for you to get your message out to users, as well as to allow them to share experiences and to talk to their support teams. These systems are a good way to centralize organization knowledge of the new technology and also to disseminate that knowledge company-wide.
Step 2: Train your users
As we mentioned earlier, even the best technology can underperform or fail, if your users don't use it — or use it effectively. Just think of products like Microsoft's Office 2016 Suite — Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote. Be honest. How many of your users even scratch the surface of the features in these products? If everybody had even intermediate training on these common productivity tools, you'd have a more effective and professional workforce.
What about those new Windows 10 desktops you're planning to deploy? Do you just set them up and switch them on, or should you consider them an important investment and train your people to use them effectively and productively?
Step 3: User Incentives
With every technology roll-out, it's important that the users understand the value it brings and the buy-in to use it. Don't assume that users will automatically see the value. Make sure that your roll-out training is explicit about your expectations for the new system and how you intend to measure its adoption. If you have user representatives on your roll-out team, ask them to recommend incentive programs, leaderboards, and prizes to reward adoption.
In some cases, the incentive programs may have to become part of your regular operating procedures. For example, when implementing sales systems like Salesforce.com/, you can make payment of commissions dependent on the use of the system. So, for example, if a sales opportunity is not entered iintothe system, then the rep doesn't get paid for closing the sale.
Step 4: Manage Progress
Once you've rolled out the new system, be sure to monitor usage on a regular basis. In the case of licensed software, this is important because you may be paying exorbitant license fees for software that is not being used. Companies like Scalable and Flexera provide solutions that monitor your licenses and track actual usage.
We also understand that the technology is only as good as the attention paid to training, managing adoption, and ongoing use. As you roll-out your new technologies keep in mind these supporting processes.
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