With cloud-based software and mobile solutions making deployments easier than ever, it seems that employees are constantly bombarded with new or changing software tools in the workplace. Between upgrades to tried-and-true systems like word processors, spreadsheets and email to new installations of modern tools like social company intranets and collaboration solutions, your users—in this case, your employees—are often faced with the daunting task of relearning their processes.
As with any software deployment, one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face is encouraging usage. You’ve gone through a lengthy purchasing decision with several vendors vying for your business, finally settled on a solution and deftly managed the installation process only to find that your employees aren’t bothering to utilize your investment. There are several potential causes here, but they all revolve around the same problem: you have to break your users out of their inertia to prevent them from falling back on old behaviors.
When choosing a tool, the support around the tool is often as important as the capabilities of the tool itself. With IT departments stretched thin as it is, you may not be able to afford to place a heavy support or training burden on your existing technology resources. It’s vitally important to thoroughly vet a solution’s available training materials, on-boarding processes and support avenues to ensure a seamless learning process for your employees.
Of course, if a new solution is simply overly difficult to use, you’re practically assured that your users will fall back on existing tools regardless of training collateral. Give a critical eye to user experience during your purchase process.
The last thing your workers need is yet another stop in their day to get their jobs done. Without clean integrations between your systems, your users are forced to visit one site for their files, another program to schedule meetings and another to keep track of their tasks and projects. In addition, with the proliferation of BYOD environments and users increasingly relying on their mobile devices, choosing solutions without a mobile component can alienate a large portion of your intended audience. If you’re not sensitive to these issues while choosing a software solution, you may doom your deployment before it begins.
Ultimately, one of the most powerful tools you have in your arsenal to encourage usage isn’t the tool itself (provided, of course, that you’ve made a smart purchasing decision). It’s all in how you present it.
How does your new social business platform make it easier for your employees to collaborate and share files without getting bogged down in email? How does your new unified communications tool provide a hub for all of your employees’ business communications throughout the day? How does your new collaboration solution empower simple, intuitive meetings for internal and external participants as simply as picking up the phone?
These benefits—the tangible, day-to-day ones—resonate far more than any “speeds and feeds” conversation ever will. The average user doesn’t care about slightly higher resolutions or better encryption. All they’re interested in is how you’re making their lives faster, easier and more efficient. Technology is purchased with a vision, and it usually progresses in stages past the initial purchase. This vision needs to be conveyed, defined, and shown to improve their effectiveness. With a carefully planned presentation, you can ensure that inertia won’t set in.