Training is critical to help users adopt a new software solution
A new enterprise data solution is a hugely exciting time for any organization, and brings with it many potential benefits. The user adoption phase doesn’t always run as smoothly as it should, however, and the number one reason for this is lack of training at all levels of the organization, but especially for end users.
Why is user adoption important?
Identifying the need for new software, testing the market, choosing a solution, and designing an implementation plan is a journey which you want to end in success. And one of the most important metrics in the success of any enterprise software implementation is whether the software is actively used.
If the software isn’t used to its full extent, or if users are resistant to stop using old systems, then the benefits of the new system aren’t fully realized.
Good user training helps ensure widespread adoption
Software implementation shouldn’t just be an IT project with the technical deployment as the end goal; instead, it should be a whole-organization process. Managers and end-users need to be taken on the journey too. This will lead to the most widespread adoption of the new system, and lead to maximum value being taken from the software.
The faster the end users understand the reasons and benefits of the new software, and the faster they have support and resources in place to be able to call on, the better.
Understanding likely usage is key
Software deployment is not just a theoretical thing. In order to ensure that the software is fit for purpose, it’s important to first understand the pain points and problems of end users that you would like the new software to solve.
Are you having issues with data synchronicity, and therefore need to move your operations to the cloud? Do users complain about inadequate integration between your scheduling and finance tools? Understanding how users would like a system to perform in future gives you the opportunity to ensure that any new solution will address existing issues, and will therefore add value to the end user.
The most important thing is to spend time up front to understand users’ needs, and to then make sure that the solution addresses those needs.
Training is the cornerstone of a user adoption strategy
The number one cornerstone of a user-adoption strategy is training, and once you fully understand the problems that you would like the new software to solve, then it becomes much easier to design an appropriate and comprehensive training plan.
It allows you to address the question ‘what’s in it for me’ on behalf of the end user, thus naturally providing a rationale and motivation to adopt the new software. Of course you also need to include all of the usual technical instructions for use, but a user manual by itself isn’t an exciting motivator for behaviour change. A clear demonstration of the benefits that come along with the software, however, is just that kind of motivator.
Try to answer the question ‘what’s in it for me’ to provide motivation for change
Keep the training plan varied
Once you have a clear idea of the user benefits of the implementation then you can design your training plan, and it’s important to keep it varied. People learn in a number of different ways, and you want to give maximum opportunity to users to become familiar with the concept and features of a new system.
In reality, your training plan is a communications strategy, with all the same requirements of variety and scope, so try and integrate as many different styles of training as possible.
Run demo sessions, offer hands-on trials, design a program of corporate communications to keep everyone in the loop, and try and normalize the concept as much as possible. Detailed instruction manuals still have their place, but you need to look elsewhere to win hearts and minds.
Training can bring unexpected fringe benefits
One point to note is that training is not just a one-way process. As well as the users gaining familiarity with the new software, thus building acceptance, the process of user training will also help you identify snagging points which you may have missed without that real user input.
The end result of training is worth the effort
While it can feel like a lot of upfront effort to run a comprehensive user training program alongside the technical aspects of bringing a new enterprise software solution online, it is well worth that effort.
In an ideal world, on implementation day you want users to be ready for change, excited for the benefits that a new system will bring, and keen to get started using it. Training is the number one activity you can undertake to get to this point. Proper training acclimates users and makes them comfortable with the key concepts, making adoption a much simpler process.
At DRMcNatty, we’re experts in helping companies achieve successful software implementation. We can support you every step of the way, from initial scoping exercises all the way through to user training to assist adoption. Get in touch to discover how we can make your journey to new software a success.