Say you’ve got a favorite pair of shoes. They’re perfect in every way – stylish, broken in, comfortable. And one day, the inevitable happens – you notice they’ve got a small hole. At first, you might keep wearing them – because shopping for a new pair, not to mention breaking them in, is time-consuming (and perhaps you don’t want to spend the money). But at some point, they just don’t look nice anymore, and you’re left with no choice. New shoes it is.
You can think of this shoe dilemma as a simplified version of a system you’re thinking of replacing at work. Like the shoes, it can be a pain to adopt new initiatives, especially when it comes to technology. It’s likely you have an aspect of business that needs a revamp, but the old process is so comfortable.
Adopting new tech is tough, but it could be time. A few things can help make the transition go a lot more smoothly than blind adoption.
Digital Adoption Alphabet
Adoption is your “A.” Deciding to take the leap is the fundamental step, and many businesses never even get that far. It’s a huge step to bring in a new initiative, especially when your current one is comfortable, but these digital adoption ABCs can make the transition easier.
First things first: decide to take the leap. It’s worth it.
That said, it’s only worth it if your company is ready and able to take on the challenge. We’re not saying you should shy away from change because it will be tough, but you should be thoughtful about the infrastructure and planning it takes to be successful.
Once you’ve made up your mind, work toward buy-in from every member of your organization. Getting everyone on board with the change creates a critical culture of success that gives digital adoption methods the best chance of sticking.
Buy-in considers everyone – as well as any impact on their work. After all, while management may be on board with a new initiative, implementing it without proper training, feedback, or consideration of how this upends workflow (“Exactly how long are we going to be down?” for example), hampers the adoption process.
Here are some foundational elements for getting buy-in from your people:
Inclusion: everyone feels that their opinions (including major concerns) are respected.
Mission: the change has a clear, demonstrable purpose.
Motivation: understanding (and communicating) what the changes can do practically for each department is critical.
Wealth-sharing: Make sure every employee understands how the change benefits everyone’s bottom line, not just management or investors’ pockets.
It goes without saying that it’s not enough to just create a new initiative and hope for the best. After all, one excellent way to kill morale is to take processes your employees are used to and yank them away. A clear strategy ensures your people know you’re there to support any changes in their processes, and is key to getting buy-in. In other words, perform a thorough stakeholder analysis to be sure you know how the new initiative will affect your people, your processes, and your results.
A few things to consider as you form your game plan:
Who? – Who is the point person for this new initiative? Who is taking responsibility for implementation? Who will this directly affect? Who will this affect indirectly?
What? – What is the scope of the change? What are the projected results? What are the benchmarks for success?
When? – When does this change happen? When do we project the change will reach “cruising altitude”?
Where? – Where are these changes being implemented (department, tool, team)? Where will the organization be in “XX” time (i.e., 3 months, 5 years, etc.) as a result of these changes?
Why? – Why are we implementing these changes? This is your ROI, your KPIs, your data-driven decision.
How? – How will we measure the success of the new initiative? How will we handle roadblocks? How will this affect our day to day operations before, during, and after the change?
If you aren’t sure how to get this plan off the ground, one way to ensure that you have a clear strategy is to use a digital adoption agency. If your organization is very large and difficult to fit around the table, or you’re a smaller organization in which these changes are make-or-break, it may be a good idea to try one.
Here’s where things get interesting. In an ideal world, you implement the change, and that’s it. The success marker is a steady, trending line. In reality, that’s a bit of a myth. To adopt system-wide change, you need constant monitoring to make sure you catch problems early, pivot when you need to, and revisit the outcomes regularly:
Identify your baseline. Your starting point is your current productivity/timeline/ROI or other measurements.
Communicate the goal. Your users need to know what the change is intended to accomplish.
Build quantitative assessments. These are things like real data on ROI. You should be able to point to specific numbers for these assessments.
Build qualitative assessments. Less about numbers and more about culture, these could include things like self-reporting. Qualitative assessments are intended to get a feel for how employees/management/shareholders/customers are responding to the change.
Consider roadblocks – you won’t always be able to identify every potential barrier, but having a specific plan of action for how to address the unexpected (refer back to your “wh” questions) can make it easier to pivot.
Dedicated monitoring is a permanent part of the digital adoption roadmap. You’ll monitor the changes as you implement, and continue assessing long after the process is finished.
Empowering Your Team
An empowered team is fully involved in the process of adopting new initiatives. Each team member knows (and believes) that questions and concerns are welcome. Each team member has access to the roadmap you’ve created for implementation, and knows the goal of the change as well as how it benefits everyone.
Your team’s feedback is an integral part of dedicated monitoring. Having their input for aspects of implementation such as the proposed timeline can help you develop not only a logical and doable timeline, but may clue you in to some roadblocks you may not have thought about.
Your Organization’s Alphabet
Change can be painful, but in the long run it’s worth it to overhaul systems that are slowing you down. It returns your human capital to high-function, without all the drudge work of older systems.
But remember – without a thorough adoption strategy that takes care of A, B, C, D, and E, your new tech initiative is likely to get an “F.” Adopt, plan, and monitor, and your initiative could be transformative.
P.S. At IntelAgree we support your team all the way through digital adoption. Reach out to us when you’re ready to transform your contract ops!