What a difference a year makes.
In November 2011, I wrote a blog post titled, “Is your IT system a Dreamliner?” discussing how revolutionary advances in technology also introduced new risks that need to be monitored and managed. I also wrote, “Do you think Boeing is going to monitor these risks and take action to mitigate them? You bet they are."
Looks like I was right.
While I am sure Boeing would rather have avoided all the problems they currently face with the 787 Dreamliner, I bet they are very thankful they had the structures, processes, and people in place to effectively manage the problems that have emerged now that their planes are actually being used.
Are you prepared to manage a crisis with your technology?
In my earlier article, I wrote:
“When implementing new IT systems, many organizations focus on getting the system live, but ignore what happens once it is in production. The value of your system – and the risks – only is introduced after the system is live. And they continue over the life of the system. This means that you need to manage the value creation and risk mitigation over the life system.”
This is what happened with the 787 Dreamliner. The plane went through extensive testing and government approval processes, yet the unexpected problems only emerged after the plane was live and being used on a daily basis. Just like with an IT system.
Boeing faced new risks when introducing new technology into their aircraft. Organizations face new and unexpected risks when introducing new IT systems. However, unlike Boeing, most organizations do very little to prepare for and proactively manage their new IT risks. And they do so at their own peril.
Do you have the right governance plan in place?
Implementing new systems – regardless of whether it is a proven cloud enterprise system or a custom-built application – introduces new risks and uncertainty into your organization.
For example, “social” applications, collaboration systems, and CRM systems all alter how your staff interacts with each other, with customers, with vendors, and with the public at large. You now have new risks that someone will release sensitive information, say the wrong thing online or fat-finger their touch screen and create a major public relations issue for your organization (can you say “viral”?).
When this happens, you need to have the right team and protocols in place. Do you?
What should you do?
Before you write a single check for a new IT system, map out exactly when you will get your ROI from the system and when new risks will be introduced. By doing this first, you will see that all of the benefits – and risks – happen after the system is live. And that they will continue over the life of the system.
Then, make sure you have people in place who have the formal authority, responsibility, tools, and resources they need to manage all the risks that will emerge over the life of the system. These same people should also be responsible for ensuring systems are fully adopted by end-users and that the organization realizes its full ROI goals.
Where to start? Two tools that can help.
When I talk with people about managing risk and user adoption after a system is live, they typically see the need for doing this. And they typically have no clue about where to begin. They need help.
1. Start with a user adoption strategy and team. By first understanding the issues you face and then identify the methods and infrastructure you need to address them. I recommend that you develop a user adoption strategy. And then consider a tool like MyUserAdoptionPlan.com to help implement the strategy and support your users.
2. Then, add risk and governance tools. There are a lot of risk and governance tools out there that can help. The one that we like best is the suite of tools from Confident Governance. This tool-set, which is built on the force.com platform, is fast and easy to configure and provides a wide range of capabilities to help you define and implement your risk and governance policies. Also, it has very affordable pricing and is within reach of most organizations.
Don’t let your IT system be a Dreamliner
You have invested a lot of time and money in your IT systems. The right systems can take your organization to new heights of success. And it can all go away with just one unexpected problem.
Don’t wait to manage your IT risks. Get started today.
When talking with a friend who’s a life-long fitness fanatic, she told me she recently started a 10-week fitness boot camp. This is in addition to her other, ongoing, regular scheduled fitness activities. Even though she is a marathon runner and a competitive swimmer, she was raving about the boot camp.
When she was telling me all the things she loves about it, I learned that some of the tactics and principles of the fitness boot camp could easily be applied to CRM user adoption. Here’s how.
Exercise boot camps give your fitness level a quick lift and measurable results. Can you do the same for your CRM?
My friend is already in great shape, but since she started the boot camp she has seen a marked improvement in results. She said she needed to shake things up and this was a great way to get a quick lift in results.
The same thing can be done with your CRM adoption effort. (Of course, this assumes you already have an ongoing CRM adoption program. You do, don’t you?)
Sometimes a short-term effort to boost adoption can help you shake things up for your users and get them to a new level. Sure, you still need an ongoing CRM user adoption program, but the occasional, creative, unique short-term effort can help you get even more value of your CRM investment.
Challenge yourself to be better
The exercise boot camp is great for people who are already in good shape and want to get even better.
The same goal can apply to a short-term CRM adoption initiative. If you have people who are already using the system, challenge them to find new and creative ways to use even more of its functionality. Encourage them to use the system as part of their daily routine. Challenge them to become your ideal user.
Push me to achieve more
Fitness boot camps challenge people to increase both their endurance and their overall strength. Run longer. Lift more weight. Do more than you thought you could do. Get better results than you could even imagine.
The same can apply to your CRM adoption effort. Challenge users to learn new shortcuts in the system. Help them reduce the time it takes to complete transactions in the system. Help them find new ways that they can automate tasks they are currently performing manually. In short, challenge them to find how they can get more value out of using your CRM system.
Tell me what to do
My friend said what she liked about the boot camp is that it was easy. The instructors told her what to do, how fast, and how many times. She enjoyed the challenge. And the support.
I am shocked at how many CRM initiatives fail simply because people did not ask users to use the system. If you want to increase adoption, ask users for exactly what you want. Tell them how many records they need to create. Tell them when they need to start and stop. Tell them what system modules to use. Tell them on which screen they should enter the information.
Telling users exactly what you want them to do makes it easy for them to do it. They then can focus their energies on making sure they did the job right, and not waste time trying to figure out exactly what it is you want them to do.
Make me part of a team
A large benefit of the boot camp is the sense of camaraderie among the participants. People feel like part of a team. They encourage and support each other.
And there is a sense that you don’t want to let your teammates down.
Shockingly, you can do the same with your CRM adoption effort. You can develop teams and get people to work together. Help people understand that they succeed or fail together.
Let them know that there are other people counting on them.
Get them to help each other.
Make it fun
Just because something is challenging, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. The boot camp gets you smelly, dirty, and generally nasty. And people love it!
Why not make your CRM adoption program fun? How can you get people to enjoy learning the new system? What intrinsic rewards do you want people to receive from adopting the system? Challenge yourself to make people smile and laugh as they learn the system. It makes a difference.
Let it be over!
All good things must come to an end. Races have finish lines. Boot camps have that last class. People need that light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel. It both motivates and gives people a sense of accomplishment. In many cases, people quite literally “have the t-shirt” at the end of it all.
You can do the same with your CRM program. Yes, I have said many times you need an ongoing user adoption program to sustain effective use of the life of the CRM system. However, you can still include short-term, boot camp-inspired activities to boost CRM adoption. Just like with the boot camp, having defined start and end points can guide and inspire your audience.
Start your own CRM boot camp
Learn more at our lunch session
Read our CRM eBook
Currently, a local b-school has a bus ad that reads “technology is ubiquitous; management is necessary”. What struck me reading the side of the bus was -- thankfully not the bus, but --- that there was an element missing. Now, granted, it’s a bus ad so there’s limited space but the gaping hole between the two statements is something that hides in plain sight: the constant that affects everything - change.
Change is constant – you have to keep up
Change and the ubiquity of technology are deeply intertwined and the marriage of the two is the reason management is necessary. And getting ever more so.
But if change is the thing that drives both technology and the management thereof, how do people and organizations manage the change so
a) it doesn’t run them over (making them technology roadkill), and
b) they get the desired impact and outcomes?
Technology moves faster than people do
Directing -- and managing – organizational change when implementing technology is especially important in the face of
• the speed with which technological changes can be made these days (cloud, anyone?) and
• all of the moving parts within a change process that only increase exponentially every time another team or business process is added to the mix.
So what are you to do when you’re getting pressure from the top to deliver better results faster, and you’re getting grief from below about all the changes that are being made so quickly?
In an ideal world, you’d have a formal user adoption program and team – beyond the implementation team – to facilitate the transition and sustain it on into the future, ensuring the necessary ROI and achievement of business goals throughout the life of the system. But at some point, the system is live and the consultants and project leads go home. And you still need help.
This is where having an IT adoption plan, focusing on the human side of technology change, is key to success.
Focus your IT adoption efforts on your team, and not on the technology
At a conference earlier this year, we heard a phrase we could really identify with: “it’s not the software that fails, it’s the fleshware.”
Think about it: the time, the energy, the planning, and – quite frankly – the money that go into bringing a new system online is almost exclusively directed at the technology. That is, figuring out which to get, once procuring it getting it customized, up and running and people trained on it. Then, people are set loose and attention is directed elsewhere.
But what about the people? A portion of their daily work life has changed significantly, which changes them, their teams, business processes and the organization but chances are none of those changes have been focused on with the same degree of effort the software was.
With an IT adoption plan in place – ideally from the point when you decided to change technologies – that contains vital elements such as:
• Outlined business goals cascading into department and team goals
• Corresponding metrics against which everyone will be measured
• A relevant and meaningful two-way communication strategy
• Revised and specifically defined roles and responsibilities and
• Individualized action plans for each team member to succeed
Because that bus ad is all too true. Technology is ubiquitous and management is necessary. It’s just that technology changes organizations, their cultures and how/when/why people communicate and interact.
Strategically and purposefully planning for and managing the People Factor is a major undertaking, but the only one that will deliver the benefits and value you need and want from your new IT system.
As ‘user adoption’ is becoming a better-known aspect of IT implementations one thought leader in particular stands out. And one of the things we at Tri Tuns love about Michael Sampson is his distinct ability to distill the complexities of user adoption into an easily understood and digested reasoned process.
While Michael specifically centers his work on collaboration technologies such as SharePoint, in a recent two-part SlideShare presentation he walks the viewer through the larger concepts surrounding user adoption by beginning with a discussion around the idea that “great technology is not enough” but is just “a small factor in success.”
90% People, 10% Technology
To underscore his point, Michael brings up research done in the 1990s – the findings of which mirror our experiences since the 90s. The study Michael cites found that a major theme, the formula for success was, in this case when building virtual teams, “90% people, 10% technology”.
That is, even 15-20 years ago we had the data showing us the need to focus on the people – that is, the business drivers, the team culture, social patterns and interdependencies, etc. and focusing too much on the technology was a perfect way to set yourself up for failure.
Of course, however, the goal in business isn’t so much to avoid failure, but to create success and maximize the value of what your organization does. And technology is merely the tool your people and your teams use to generate success and build value.
Michael Sampson continues the presentation emphasizing ensuring people adopt the company’s technological tool(s) to create value doesn’t just happen – it’s made to happen. There is focus, effort, infrastructure and, perhaps most importantly, an adoption strategy.
Don't Assume 100% User Adoption in Your Business Case
Incorporating an idea Tri Tuns also raises frequently, Michael points out business cases assume 100% adoption. This assumption is a mistake on multiple levels and is one that can heavily skew ROI and IRR projections so they look a lot better on paper than they ever will in reality.
“Poor adoption is a common issue,” Michael says and it’s “a process, not an event.” He goes on to outline a four-step model of user adoption that includes Winning Attention, Cultivating Basic Concepts, Enlivening Applicability, and Making it Real.
Throughout his presentation, he emphasizes that in most cases, vendors have done their part and that success at your organization is up to you. This makes ultimate sense when you think about the 90/10 rule of spending 90% of your time and effort on your people, and only 10% on the technology. After all, only you, not the vendor, is going to know your business drivers, your culture, your governance structure and institutional best practices that are in place to generate success and build value for your organization.
As always, Michael has a great presentation (check out part 2 for further illustration of user adoption successes and debacles through real-life examples) and we’re excited for him that his book, User Adoption Strategies is now in its second edition! Be sure to pick up a copy and read Tri Tuns’ CEO Jason Whitehead’s contribution, an expanded article based on a previous blog entry.