What top 5 adoption strategies do I recommend for 2018

Digital Adoption is high on every Senior Executives agenda right now. More organizations than ever are investing in technologies to digitally transform their internal and external facing services. Workday seems to be trailblazing the HCM space at the moment, but customers are still experiencing adoption challenges and are interested in ways that they can drive more value from their investment in Workday.

First of all, it’s important to define what is meant by software adoption.

Adoption is not software usage, hence the more appropriate buzz word Digital Transformation. Adoption is the ‘complete’ adoption of the technology and associated change it has on the business.

If you are interested in understanding where your potential adoption challenges lie for a forthcoming technology implementation then click here

1. Adoption issues are REAL and they can affect your ROI.

Many businesses fall foul to the absurd dream that software can be so intuitive that it is ‘just adopted’. I understand that vendors and SI’s do not help this misconception with some of their messaging but the fact is you will experience issues. I recently plotted a customer’s adoption issues against The 6 Pillars of Digital Adoption (see here) and 75% were not related to software at all. This tells us that the wider business impact that Digital Transformation can have on an organization can require more focus than walking people through how to complete tasks in the software, I will caveat this, however. We do see trends in the complexity of technology and processes having bigger adoption issues both short and long-term. We see trends in different industry verticals with manufacturing, retail and hospitality experiencing bigger challenges.

2. Know your business and know the audience.

When I speak to most practitioners implementing a new technology they tend to know what their adoption issues will be. But it seems like that appreciation doesn’t find its way into a specific plan or activity that will help a specific stakeholder. Different Workday modules will have a different impact on your business dependant on a number of factors. The first thing to do is understand how big of a leap this will be for the business from where it is today to where it is going to. Then you need to create a stakeholder list of all the different types of people that Workday will touch. These can be grouped into logical categories for example Employees, Managers, HR, Administrators, Recruiters, Finance etc. Next, you need to understand the impact that this transition to Workday will have on each stakeholder group. Depending on the leap this may have a small or large impact. This is a litmus test for how easy or difficult it will be for the stakeholder to adopt a new way of working.

3. Create a sustainable adoption plan

When you have identified where your adoption challenges are going to lie following your stakeholder assessment you will inevitably need to manage these issues. In many cases, businesses have tried traditional communication and training approaches which have ultimately failed. this is because they were most likely created for supporting more static business change needs whereas SaaS technologies like Workday are subject to frequent system and feature change. Your plan should include the provision of some kind of content and a distribution mechanism. It’s also important that any solution is accessible and analytics would be useful also to demonstrate adoption success or challenges. Your plan should accommodate future Workday users that have become part of your user groups inline with your natural employee attrition. Ask yourself the question, how will I onboard future users to Workday and the processes and behaviors that it supports.

4. Budget for Adoption

Another huge fail for many businesses. Make sure that you budget for adoption. In many respects, this would take a significant part of your change budget however you will also need to think about sustainability. As such plan a support strategy that sits alongside your Workday project to manage the frequent system and business change.

The quote below was made following the successful deployment of Workday to 90,000 employees at Philips.

Traditionally only 1% of a project budget is allocated to change management. To truly achieve digital transformation adoption this should be more like 7% .’  – Nico Orie – Vice President HR Strategy and Operations

5. Identify new ways to connect with, communicate and train employees.

Many businesses try to blow the dust off their old SharePoint portal to share communication, training and support content. I am yet to see anyone do this successfully. In many ways, that’s because we are used to having technology work hard to find the right content for us and deliver it at the time that I need it. we’re also used to having high impact content. Most new technologies that we use in our day to day lives come with cool communication, onboarding and support features that support it. Identify new ways to create a positive experience for end users that is equally as innovative as the technologies that you are implementing. Philips, for example, have created a single, integrated communication, training and support function that supports all of their business applications.

I wish you every success with your Workday implementation.

About the Author: Andrew Barlow is the Director, Product Strategy at AppLearn, a leading provider of cloud technologies designed to help organizations adopt large technology transformation projects. After years of experience evaluating the relationship between people and technology, Andrew’s brainchild was the ADOPT platform. A people-centric support tool designed to help people embrace change and technology. Andrew is a driven innovator that loves to solve problems through technology. You can follow Andrew at https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewbarlowapplearn/