Enterprise Software Adoption Strategy
Businesses naturally invest in their vision, and innovators are now looking toward enterprise software to allow them to achieve it. However, even some of the most well-intentioned projects will fall flat because of a failure to put in place a comprehensive organizational change management plan and software adoption strategy. Implementing infrastructure can frustrate some employees, leading to low user adoption rates. This project pitfall is a leading reason for implementation and ROI generation failure. So why aren’t more project teams implementing these measures to begin with?
As a leader in ERP, CRM and eCommerce implementations, we are constantly researching and reviewing these cases to help companies mitigate these risks. Not all projects are similar, but organizational unrest and poor software adoption strategy is often the culprit for unsuccessful projects and missed business opportunities.
Below are some of the fundamental software adoption strategy and change management tools and mechanisms that have successfully helped our clients mitigate implementation and adoption risk.
No employee wants to be blindsided by a totally new system, no matter how superior it is to their previous methods. They want to be a part of the implementation process, conveying what they need to drive their daily performance. From the offset, explain to users what is going on and the reasons behind the software implementation. When your workforce gets a sense of the improved efficiency that will result from new software, they are more likely to embrace the change. Additionally, keep them abreast of any upcoming disruptions to avoid frustration.
It’s also critical to learn about the tools utilized by your users—not just those they use daily but even the data and functions they only need occasionally. This information ensures that your business process modeling efforts capture user needs, thereby encouraging widespread adoption. Once the system has been configured and mapped to processes, the implementers MUST walk high-level users through the system. This gives users a chance to voice any discrepancies to the implementation team. They can then work with the steering committee to determine if those changes are feasible alterations that can be made in terms of scope and risk.
Communication doesn’t end after go-live. Even with a new and improved system in place, habits are hard to break. After the implementation, users may divert to older, less efficient practices. A major function of organizational change management is articulating the vision of the business—repeatedly. Though you don’t want to hover over your users, make sure they are utilizing the software appropriately. Offer resources and incentives for using the system to help steer them in the right direction.
Engage Your Change Agents
One of the most vital roles on your implementation team, your change agents are both technical and non-technical power users who are fully immersed in a CRM or ERP implementation. These individuals have defined roles within the project to emphasize the checks and balances between user adoption and system validation. They stay on top of the project’s status, deviations and timelines in order to update users on the status of the project. Change agents also serve as software evangelists, promoting software adoption by promoting its benefits. By enlisting change agents in a two-way communications loop with employees, end users can stay up to speed and have realistic expectations of the new system.
Establish Adoption KPIs
Every facet of your enterprise should be data-driven, and that includes user adoption. By putting in place key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure the use of the software, you can compile solid metrics and establish solid goals to ensure you’re getting the most from your investment. One simple metric you could use is login rates to measure if employees consistently utilize the system.
But of course being logged on to the software isn’t enough to assure effective usage. Drill into more specific indicators, such as data quality. Are users filling in critical fields correctly? Most importantly, you’ll need to establish KPIs to track areas of business improvement that were goals of the software project to begin with. For example, was one of your goals a shorter sales cycle? If you find that sales aren't closing as swiftly as expected, this could be a sign of issues with user adoption or unreasonable goals.
Enforce Comprehensive Training
Comprehensive user training is imperative to successful software adoption. Though you certainly want to equip users with manuals, videos and other resources, there is no better teacher than hands-on training. Delegate some time at different points of the project to ensure users understand the system. However, not every user performs the same tasks, meaning training should not be identical across the enterprise. Focus training on different user needs, providing extensive training for super users and less for those who will only perform a few operations. Don’t waste time going through inventory management tools with people who will track leads.
Organizational change management is a critical component of an ERP or CRM project, and having a top-notch software adoption strategy is key. When the euphoria settles, those in charge neglect this responsibility and do not consider the negative impact this inadvertently causes.
Ultimately, businesses that diligently map organizational change management into the deliverables at the project’s beginning will be best equipped to deal with the ebbs and flows of an ERP or CRM system implementation. This means understanding project goals, setting realistic expectations and fully grasping what the software can and can’t do prior to creating any deadlines.
For implementation and user adoption success, team up with Datix. We’re a one-stop shop for ERP, CRM, eCommerce and integration solutions with 20 years of executing software projects for manufacturers and distributors under our belts. Learn why we’ve earned the status of Epicor Platinum Partner and a reputation for superior software solutions by contacting us today!