Change is certainly tough on any organization — the scope, scale or specific nature of that change doesn’t actually matter. Some changes are major — like with digital transformation initiatives. When an organization decides that they are investing in a new information management system, for example, it can represent a change to the fundamental way people work — a positive change, but one that requires an adjustment, nonetheless.
As a prime example within the M-Files solution — and top of mind since it was the topic of our last podcast — is the idea that computer folders don’t matter. Putting files in folders and subfolders has been the norm since the very first iteration of MS-DOS — where you drop objects into a file directory. So, the idea of simply having documents described by metadata, out in the ether, uncoupled from file location is a paradigm shift.
Getting your team to buy into the vision of a newer, better way of doing things is the first step to navigating disruption. Mismanaging disruption can absolutely harm user adoption if you’re not careful, which will harm your return on investment for the solution, too. Thankfully, if your current goal involves boosting the user adoption of your information management system, there are four key ways you can do it.
You Need a Team of Champions
Your users aren’t just going to decide to adopt your new information management system out of the kindness of their heart. They need to be swayed, and they’re going to start looking to the people around them in order to see whether yours is a solution worth paying attention to.
Therefore, if you really want to boost user adoption, you don’t just need a team of people who are willing to sing your praises. You need a team of people who are willing to champion the effort and evangelize their experience. Essentially, you’re looking for people who won’t shut up about what a good experience this is and how they’re getting more work done than ever — and you need as many of them as you can get.
The benefit here is that this creates a snowball effect in the best possible way. Once a few of your champions begin to spread the word, it’ll almost always convince someone who was resistant to change to give your information management system a fair shake. They, too, become advocates for the effort and things only get better from there.
Overall, find a quick win and evangelize it to get people on board. If you have a user who lets you know that thanks to the information management system, they were able to improve their own productivity by 30%, that’s a big win — and that person (and their story) should be held up as a major example of what your solution can do.
Test, Test and Test Some More
Another one of the best ways to boost user adoption for your information management system involves using the testing phase to train IT and future administrators. Keep in mind that during your wider rollout, people are obviously going to have a lot of questions. They’re also going to run into issues and have concerns that will need to be addressed — it’s only natural.
What you need to do is be in a position to take care of all of this, creating the most seamless support experience possible. If users can see that there is someone there to help them and that they’re not just being “thrown into the deep end before they’re ready,” they’ll be much more likely to embrace the solution. This is true even if problems arise or things get a little frustrating.
On the subject of training, be sure to use real-life use cases specific to your business as the main training modules. The more general your examples are, the more disconnected users will feel because they don’t feel like this information management system has any relevance to THEIR lives.
Instead, you need to create training modules that speak to the work they’re doing on a daily basis. Show people how this solution will fit into their lives and let them experience how much easier their job will be once it is in place. Demonstrate how communication and collaboration are better than ever.
The more relevant you’re able to make it to their lives, the more likely they are to adopt it wholeheartedly — and at that point, that’s really all you need to get started.
Communication is King
There’s a reason why your business is using THIS information management system at THIS particular moment — and it’s incumbent on management to explain why it’s so important for users to change the way they’re used to doing things.
Obviously, you have a plan in place. If you want to boost user adoption, you need to make sure that plan is actually communicated to your users early and often.
If users can at least understand what this tool is, why it will make a positive impact on their lives and why it’s so important for them to use it, they’ll be much more likely to adopt it. At that point, the software can speak for itself and the users can see the benefits up close and personal.
Choose an Information Management Company Committed to Help You Increase Adoption
Make sure that whichever solution you choose, that company has a robust Services and Support team, with the experience needed to help you roll out the software. Any SaaS company worth their salt knows the most effective way to increase user adoption of their product. So, ask questions about Services and Support in the buying process. Find a vendor that will guide you to optimal user adoption.
At M-Files, we have a global Services and Support arm ready to help you tackle change management, user adoption, and everything in between. When you implement M-Files, really, what you’re doing is asking staff to use a tool that is objectively better than the previous one. Our Services team is experts at demonstrating just that. Once your staff sees the information management system for what it really is — an invaluable asset that will allow them to work better than ever — they’ll soon begin to wonder how they were ever able to live without it.