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You deployed it, but will they come? Common misconceptions about end-user adoption

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You deployed it, but will they come? Common misconceptions about end-user adoption

Written by Modality Newsroom on 28, June 2016

Deployed technology is a lot like a gym membership. In order for you to see results, it has to be used as part of a regular routine. Further, just like starting a new workout regime, it requires changing your current behavior…and change is hard! More importantly, change is always an option.

verticle_line.pngResearch shows that around 70% of organizational change initiatives fail to get users to change their behaviour and as such, fail to realize a return on their investment.

As an example, I recently worked with a customer who implemented a "rip and replace" of their PBX system to Skype for Business. A few months went by and they couldn’t understand why they weren't seeing usage increase. They took away the old phone system and put in new PC devices, so users didn’t have an option right? Wrong. Due to the lack of change management planning, users didn’t understand how their PC could be used as a phone so they turned to what was familiar to them; their cell phones. That's right, users starting using their cell phones! Remember, change is always an option.


This customer is not alone. Some studies indicate as many as 60% of users acknowledge using an unsupported and unauthorized communication / collaboration solution at work - it's a concept called Shadow IT and it exists.

When you implement tactics like the example above, which I call "push" strategies, there is a good chance that you may not see the usage and adoption you expect. In fact, you could end up managing resistance instead of change, costing you time, money and resources, not to mention the potential hazards of having untested tools within your network.

The rip and replace strategy and is just one misconception about user adoption. Here are some others:

  • Deploy it and they will come- Sending a simple email with a link to training
  • One size fits all - Notion that IT represents a typical end-user
  • ROI measured by deployment success - Lack of clearly defined adoption goals and metrics
  • One-and-done approach - No momentum or reinforcement activities are implemented
  • Adoption just happens - Disassociation with organizational, user and cultural change barriers

The good news is that implementing a successful change management plan is not rocket science. When you can get your employees to make Skype for Business a habit, make it part of their daily routine, THAT is when you will realize adoption and start seeing measurable ROI.

By focusing on a "pull" strategy, you create user motivation, a feeling of user empowerment and you get users excited to change. Often, you also end up with craving fans. Users who will not only become champions and help evangelize Skype for Business with their peers, but users who come asking for more features, more functionality.

Remember that example I shared earlier about the rip and replace? Just two weeks after bringing me in to help with mitigation, user CSAT increased by 20%. 50% of users agreed that their ability to communicate had improved with the new phone system and 50% indicated they preferred the PC headset - returning opt-in handsets. Talk about turning things around. Further, the IT Manager shared this feedback: “Debbie was able to assist in identifying the things that were most critical to the success of the deployment."

As you consider your own pull strategy, here are some attributes to look for:

  • User feels connected to the change process
  • Users recognize the intrinsic, personal value
  • Users understand the who, what, when, where, why and how of the readiness plan
  • Clear adoption success goals are defined and tracked
  • Organizational readiness for change is confirmed
  • Activities are designed and implemented around the user lifecycle

Remember that adoption is not automatic. Consider the human element of change and integrate user-focused activities as part of a change management plan in conjunction with your project management plan. Most importantly, leverage a pull strategy to draw users in to create momentum and trust around the change process.

Missed my recent webinar? What makes a best practice user adoption strategy and why should I care? Watch it on-demand.


Be the first to read part two of this adoption blog next month where I'll focus on the ABCs of a pull strategy. Watch out for my next update, or subscribe on the below form to get instant alerts when we post a new blog. 

If you are interested in getting started with your adoption and change management plan, Modality Systems offers a full spectrum of adoption services based on a proven framework and methodology. Whether you are starting a POC, planning for a full deployment, have already deployed but are not seeing results or simply want to maintain your usage and momentum, Modality Systems can tailor a program to meet your needs to help realize both rapid and sustained adoption of Skype for Business.

Debbie Arbeeny
Practice Lead, Adoption & Training 


Topics: Insight, Usage

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