User Adoption - The Final Frontier of Social Business
Joyce Davis 06000019G0 JOYCE_DAVIS@US.IBM.COM | | Tags:  ls12 user social-business champion adoption
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By Lisa Duke
One of the major themes at both Lotusphere and IBM Connect this year is the importance of user adoption work when rolling out social business tools. But for IT professionals, what does “user adoption” mean? Why isn't it already done routinely? And why is it even necessary?
“User adoption” means making sure that a product doesn't just get installed by IT teams, but is also used by the employees of the organization. There are many horror stories of companies purchasing software, investing in the technical roll out, and then having the product become “shelfware”. This is a disaster for the IT team, as the project is seen as a failure, and also for the vendor, who loses the renewal stream of revenue and whose product gets a bad reputation in the marketplace. Projects must include a plan and budget for doing additional non-technical work to make sure line of business users are comfortable and confident with the new tools.
Many IT departments are not used to thinking of projects in this way. Companies assume that employees are comfortable with e-mail and office productivity suites, and so training budgets on technical tools for end users have been eliminated. The desktop has been stagnant for at least fifteen years, and everyone has forgotten the presentations and hands on training that went into getting employees up to speed on new tools. Additionally, with worker-to-employer and employer-to-worker loyalty at an all time low (at least in the United States) investing in people who could leave is hard to justify.
In addition to not being in the habit of budgeting for training, IT departments tend to be staffed by a higher percentages of early technology adopters that the rest of the company. These staffers are more likely to be familiar with social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook, and so the enterprise social business tools based on social media concepts are familiar to them. Training others on concepts they already understand may not occur to them, as they do not need the same education. But just as every geek spends the holidays getting their parents up to speed on social media, time and effort must be invested in getting non-digital natives up to speed on social business in the context of their work.
For organizations struggling with user adoption challenges, here are a few resources.
Lisa Duke, of Simplified Technology Solutions, Inc. based in Atlanta, GA, has been a great promoter of Lotus User Groups, founding and running chapters in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. She coordinates the Atlanta Lotus User Group, helping to bring in speakers and promote events. She has presented at IAMLUG, MWLUG, UKLUG, WITI Central Florida, and Lotusphere Idol. Lisa hosts the Get Social, Do Business podcast, intended to provide education and competitive information to IBM Connections sellers. Lisa helped organize and presented at Social Connections II, the only Connections User Group, and is helping to plan next spring’s event. Lisa led a series of webinars for the newly formed Lotus Inside Sales team, and assists IBM sellers with progressing and closing their deals (when she isn’t busy working her own!).