Increase Cloud Adoption: Ask users to use it


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I often hear people talk about how they have a great system, if they could just “get those darn users to use it”. This usually digresses into a rant about “user resistance” and how “it’s really not that difficult” to use the system.

It is at this point, when I often ask people the simple question:

“Did you ever ask people to use the system?”

Typically, the answer is a perplexed “no”. This is most often then followed by an exhausted vent about how there’d been training, a “communications strategy” and that they told all the users “what’s in it for me (WIIFM)”.

About this time I usually start shaking my head in disbelief that there are still people out there who think that telling (more often, yelling) out the WIIFM message actually works. WIIFM doesn’t work. It simply doesn’t provide the right, measureable motivators and incentives for people to change their behavior.

Truth be told, WIIFM is the easy way out and gets you nowhere. It’s the handing over of responsibility, leaving the deer-in-headlights users to motivate themselves to do something new, that they don’t know a bunch about and probably had no say in in the first place. How motivated would you feel? Not much, I’ll bet.

Most organizations never even ask users to adopt the cloud system

The sad reality is that the majority of organizations suffering with low user adoption of their cloud systems never even asked people to use the system. And nobody realizes it.

Many times when I ask the project team, they truly believe in each of their communications they did actually ask people to use the system. However, when I ask the users, I often hear some version of, “they told me the new system was coming, but they never told me what they want me to do with it.

Set SMART user adoption goals

A better alternative to the WIIFM message is to actively set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) user adoption goals for each user to achieve. Progressive goals, defined (weekly) for the first 3-6 months, explicitly stating and outlining what each user needs to accomplish help drive user adoption.

Initial goals should get the users to perform the most basic operations quickly. Subsequent goals should build on preceding goals and slowly introduce users to more complex functionality that they might not use on a regular basis. For this we recommend a tool such as the portal, which includes progressive adoption goals as part of its core functionality.

Measure who achieves their cloud adoption goals

Measure user adoption each week to see if users are actually achieving their goals.This takes consistent effort on the part of managers, including investigating any instances of missed targets to determine if there are barriers to adoption (that prevent people from using the system) or if this is a case of user resistance. Motivating managers to be pro-active usually requires appropriate incentivization and their own SMART goals.

Hold people accountable for using the system

Finally, no user adoption program works if you don’t actually hold people accountable for their actions. Incentives – and consequences – for hitting user adoption targets must be properly aligned, communicated and enforced.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jason Whitehead
Jason Whitehead is CEO of Tri Tuns, LLC, an organizational effectiveness consultancy specializing in driving and sustaining effective user adoption of IT systems. He works at the intersection of technology, process, culture and people to help clients actually achieved measurable business benefits from their technology investments.


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