This far into spring many Seattleites are more than ready for the first glimpses of that odd, warmish bright thing in the sky. When I lived back east we called it “the sun”. But sometimes, like this last Tuesday, we have to pretend and somehow manufacture our own sunshine.
Which is how a group of friends and I found ourselves at our neighborhood’s most brightly painted Mexican place. It was with near-salivating anticipation for our dry, near-perfect summers we ordered our pitcher of margaritas. Or…ok, maybe it had just been a long day for each of us.
Being the most technically-inclined person of the group – to the extent that I’m the only one with an iPod even – I try to be the one who kicks off our usual how-was-your-day round-robin with the briefest description of what I did, just to get my IT-related day behind us so we can talk about things that are common to the whole group. That day, I’d designed a Power Point presentation for an upcoming conference on user adoption in the cloud. When the conversation turned to the cloud my dear friend Jane, an office manager, recalled how just hours before her bosses sprung a new cloud-based Power Point-like software on her, telling her their whole organization was moving to it and she needed to learn it. Oh, and while she’s at it, convert all the other slide decks their office regularly uses too.
“It seems to me we’re always upgrading or switching to something totally new and the technology changes so fast, no one can keep up. It’s like technology’s moving so fast, we’re just running along behind doing our best to catch up, but we can’t. None of us can. It just moves that fast and changes that often. It’s not the technology’s fault. It’s just that as humans, we can’t change as fast as it does.”
Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t help but grin over my salted rim and say, “Precisely. And that’s where user adoption consulting comes in. We’re the ones you bring in to help you navigate through all those changes, with all those personalities and competing interests, and we set you up for the long-term. Because you know it’s going to change again. ”
Curt, a school counselor, looked at me and said, “So…it’s not the technology. It actually has nothing to do with the technology…it’s all about the people…and how they manage and get through the change, as individuals, as departments, as whole organizations.”
And it was like the sun came out right there at the table: the heretofore somewhat abstract notion of “user adoption” finally made sense to everyone at the table. Here was a real-life example they each could relate to; they’d heard it from someone going through it and heads nodded in recognition.
So while this last Tuesday afternoon didn’t set records for instant sunlight over Seattle, having my friends see a real-world example of what I do on a daily basis was definitely something to toast to.