Improving Technology Project User Adoption RatesBy Jessica Davis | Posted 2010-03-22 Email Print
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Unless users embrace the new technology you just deployed, the project may be deemed a failure. IT solution provider and systems integrator Dimension Data is looking to solve that problem for its customers with a new service -- Adoption Management Program -- designed to take the burden of user adoption off of the shoulders of busy IT departments.
When the technology is deployed and tested and it works, the project is finished, right? That’s how many IT organization think about new technology implementations. But unless the end users embrace the technology, it’s very likely the project will be deemed a failure that doesn’t realize the promised return on investment.
But to a busy IT staff, promoting a new technology solution to the company’s users may seem like a luxury. They may wish they had the time, especially after the after effects of the recession may have their organization running extra lean.
"End-user adoption of new technology is frequently a key roadblock to an implementation’s success and also the most critical factor for generating return on investment," said Gartner Research Director Daniel O’Connell. "Most organizations simply do not have the time or internal resources to effectively promote a new technology and educate employees on its use. Offerings that provide a built-in marketing solution will bolster enterprises’ confidence when investing in emerging technologies such as unified communications and telepresence."
Taking that burden off the IT department is the idea behind giant Cisco solution provider and systems integrator Dimension Data’s new Adoption Management Program or AMP that the company is announcing at VoiceCon in Orlando, Fla. this week.
The program got its start as an internal project at Dimension Data to promote telepresence and unified communications technology use by workers at the company. Because with new technology, training may not be enough to drive use, according to Mitch Hershkowitz, solutions manager for converged communications at Dimension Data, told Channel Insider.
"You can train people on technology. You use a phone in your home, and then you get a new one in the office. You get trained to use the new one. You know how to use a phone," he said. "But if you’ve never used instant messaging before how do you know what to use it for?"
The internal promotion design at Dimension Data began with email blasts, cheat sheet guides and many other forms of collateral designed to help users get the most out of using the technology. Dimension Data achieved a 95 percent user adoption rate and a 50 percent reduction in travel costs in the two months following the AMP program internally.It was deemed such a success that Dimension Data packaged it for its own clients.
"Clients are demanding it," Hershkowitz said. "We told our story to our clients. The reality is that this program was client driven. User adoption was falling on shoulders of already overburdened IT staff that didn’t have the expertise to go out and change behavior. It took us 400 hours to develop these different tools. We put a ribbon around it and are selling it to clients to save them time."
The program is not so much designed to teach people about the technology, but rather it shows them real world ways of how to use it to make them more effective and productive, according to Hershkowitz.
Dimension Data implemented the program itself to enhance collaboration among its 1,000-person workforce in the Americas, said Lisa Grimes, director of communications for Dimension Data. To generate interest Grimes said the program began with email teasers that went out to the target users. Then users were offered Flash presentations, a features and capabilities cheat sheet, and an etiquette document. Power users were offered Web seminars. Grimes said the program for end customers of Dimension Data offers many promotional tools including HTML, Microsoft World and PowerPoint templates.
End user companies can choose a telepresence theme or a unified communications theme, Grimes said.
Dimension Data’s initial customer for the service, Pepsi Bottling, has used some of the tools from the new toolkit with great success, she added.
Dimension Data is launching the service this week at VoiceCon in Orlando, Fla.
The AMP consists of two options – Self-Service and Full-Service. Self-Service provides a complete electronic marketing tool kit personalized with the organization’s logo and a best practicies buide. It includes sample e-mails, posters, contest guidelines, web banners and a chair drop/direct mail pieces, among other collateral.
The Full-Service option includes a dedicated marketing professional to create a unique project plan and to coordinate the rollout of the program.