Adoption | Times are changing. Times has changed already actually. In our new era of the evergreen cloud, onboarding and adoption seems to be on everyone’s minds. I figured I might as well share some of my ideas around the area in a blog post instead of just talk about it in workshops or meetings.
No one has time to change
On my office, I have this printed poster with some of my favorite quotes. One of them says “If you accept your limits, you go beyond them”. I have had some people asking what that means and this image explains it perfectly!
We need to accept that there are other ways of doing what we’ve been doing. Sometimes they’re better! If I accept I have limitations, I’ve taken the first step towards dealing with it.
This is perhaps the most furious part though. Let’s say I’ve learned something and been using it for some time now with great success! I feel effective and productive. Why would I suddenly question that this is the best way of doing it? It’s working fine!
My colleague Tommy Clarke is a good inspiration here. He sometimes disrupts the norms just because they’ve been active for a long time. Is it exhausting? Yes… Very. But it is also what makes us evolve constantly as a company. As another one of my quotes says: “Comfort is the enemy of achievement”.
So remember to inspire the people around you, giving them a reason to try something new once in a while. Perhaps you’ll find yourself more effective than before?
People are resourceful
Contrary to popular belief, I’ve found that people are extraordinary resourceful. More than once, I’ve asked a customer about their users and their view on digital change. The answers are usually something like this: “Oh, you know our users are terrible when it comes to change… They hate it! No one thinks for themselves. If we don’t tell them exactly what to do, they won’t do it. They want guides for everything and it’s like they don’t think that the logic thinking that will help them in literally any other case in the world, will be of any use when it comes to technology.”
Fast forward in the conversation I might tell them about things like Flow or PowerApps, or even a simple thing like granting everyone the ability to create their own Teams in Microsoft Teams. Suddenly their all like: “Oh, no, no no! We can let our users have that kind of power. You know our users are the most innovative you can find! They’ll find 1 000 ways to destroy the environment, forcing themselves into corners. They’ll have unsupported technology tightly integrated in their critical production processes in no time!”
Wow. So… Which one is it? Are they all for change and innovation or will they sit still until they starve to death if you don’t give them lunch hours?
In my experience, people are innovative and you make use of the knowledge that you have.
OK, so this is quite a lot of words just to say that if you try to block things out or you don’t provide a service to your users because you’re not prepared yourself, don’t expect them to sit around and wait. If the users have a problem, they’ll find a way around it. If you’re not helping, chances are you’ll be kept in the dark.
Who to focus your educational efforts on?
Should everyone get the same treatment? Of course not! If you grade the fish on its ability to climb trees, It’s going to grow up thinking it’s is a terrible fish with no skills what so ever.
There is something called the Law of diffusion of innovation. You’ve most likely heard of it and seen it, regardless if you’ve spent time learning it’s name like some crazy person who knows 1 500 flower names in Latin.
The law of diffusion of innovation is basically a bell curve, and to quote its Wikipedia article “Diffusion of innovations is a theory that seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread.”.
By dividing your users into these groups, you’re able to create a strategy for the adoption journey. The 2,5% innovators will “just get it” and need little or no training. They might even endure problems just to be the first ones to try out the newest and shiniest thing!
The Early adopters are much like the Innovators, just not as prone to problems. They prefer that someone else tried it first and made sure there are in fact no crocodiles lurking in the water before they jump in too.
These groups are important, because together they tend to make up for about 15% of the users. That in turn is important since 15% is called the tipping point. Have 15% of your users use the new technology, let’s go with Microsoft Teams as an example, and the rest of your users are bound to be invited to a meeting or find themselves invited to a private chat or a Team, pretty much pulling them in. This is when the Early majority starts to get involved and after them the late majority will follow. At this stage you’ll want to focus a little less on the inspirational part and make sure you have guides and instructions ready to handle the masses!
Lastly you have the laggards. The people who resist until their last drop of blood leaves their body. You can probably name some of them from your own organization from the top of your head. These are the kind of people you’ll want to avoid. Don’t force them to work web based if they prefer the desktop installations. They’ll just waste your valuable time that you could’ve spent with other users. Users who are actually interested and will use their new knowledge.
And don’t think of the laggards as useless waste that should be stripped away from the company. We all resides in different groups depending on the scenario! Some of us are innovators when it comes to working out, but laggards when it comes to new technology.
Oh, and this is not something new… This is from over 200 years ago. So don’t sit around and hope for things to be better or for an older generation to retire for things to be easier. It won’t. You simply have to act.
Think outside the box
This is in many ways the same kind of mindset as the first headline but in a slightly different angle.
I like to think about this from time to time and try to find at least one thing that I currently consider to be the only possible way something is done. I then try the find another perspective on it just to not get stuck in the same tracks.
This is a great quote that I like to start of these thoughts with. You know, to get into the right mindset.
The take away? Well for starters, just because you’ve always performed educations in a certain way doesn’t mean you need to do it for all eternity. Perhaps you’ve hidden behind a screen and just typed out articles for the intranet for all your news and projects. Why not try to disrupt the norms and call a bunch of people into the cafeteria, provide free coffee and hold a short seminar for 15 minutes on the new ideas or projects from your department. Record it and put the recording in Stream for others to see.
Prove to others that you are capable of changing yourself to make it easier for them to follow. Be a leader.
Be more than just the ones who maintain stuff
I’ve shown this picture at many of my workshops and seminars to people working in IT. I then ask them if the recognize themselves in it.
It usually takes about 20 seconds for people to read it, then they chuckle and start to nod their heads.
When I’ve confirmed the hypothesis, I usually go like this: “This is terrible… Don’t you guys want to be more than this? Is this really how you want to be viewed by the users? The guys keeping the lights on and nothing more?”.
You see, IT need to do more than just maintain stuff. They need to work hard to innovate and help the organization digitalize and improve using technology. Does this mean we need new roles and responsibilities in the department? Yes! Does this mean we need to change the way we look at what IT should be doing? Yes again!
I always follow this up with this: “If I come back to you guys in 5 years and I show you this picture again, I want you all to recognize it but say: ‘oh my god, yeah! Do you remember those times when we were merely maintaining stuff and nothing more? Sure glad those days are over!’”.
Don’t forget who you’re doing this for
I’m unable to count the times that focus is on the stakeholders rather than the users.
“If we give them these computes, we’ll save X amount of dollars!”
“Yeah, but those computers have terrible performance and the users will hate them”.
On an unrelated note, Microsoft is actually using a hype factor when calculating if their Surface computers are a success or not. That is, do the users feel a sense of pride using this computer or are they ashamed of it?
And as we all know, everything is relative and it’s often about perspective. Something may look great from one view but awful from another, as(s) illustrated below.
By the end of the day, be open for new ideas, focus a lot on inspiration, use common sense and treat people like people, not machines or just parts inside a process. You’ll do just fine!
And if you ever need someone to guide you, we’re here to help! Check out our workshops. They’re a great way to get you kick started!