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Case Study #3: Organic Discovery vs. Forced Adoption

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Highlighted
Former Employee

In this week’s adoption case study series, we look at two different ‘extreme’ approaches – one organic approach with limited training that encouraged end-users to discover and one that forced end-users into using the new technology.

 

Case Study #3: Organic Discovery vs. Forced Adoption

 

COMPANY A

Company Size: 4,000 end-users        

Industry: Education

 

The Approach

The IT Director for this company asked, “How many tutorials did you have to go through to learn how to buy something on Amazon?” This organization aims to achieve the “Amazon Model,” deploying resources that don’t require training but rather allow for self-discovery and opt for self-service, where possible. The organization also took "small bets," deploying products to a small group of pre-identified early adopters to test and explore the new product.

 

The IT director referenced the Gartner Hype Scale, which refers to the rate of adoption of a new product over time. When you roll out a new piece of technology, there is huge buy‑in, and everybody wants it. If you have 400 users, 300 of them may have easily adopted to the new product. Then as time goes on, you begin to see that usage begin to fall. Then, you go down on the curve into this what they call "trough of disillusionment." Eventually, usage increases again and levels off, as it becomes a standard feature.

 

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When Yammer rolled out, there was no training. An email was sent that said, "Hey, guys. Here's a new product that we're launching." By allowing socialization of the new product to run its’ course through the organization, adoption was more natural.

 

Does this really work?

While this approach may work for simpler products, this organization did recognize that training was necessary when rolling out SharePoint, given the higher complexity of the application. In the case of SharePoint, the organization provided very specialized, focused training. In fact, for end-users, they provided training for SharePoint on Skype – training users about new products on new products platforms. Training is necessary in many cases; however, this organization takes on a unique approach using self-discovery and self-service for certain product roll-outs.

 

COMPANY B

Company Size: 500 end-users           

Industry: Non-Profit

 

Another Extreme Approach

This non-profit had a very small IT team—3 employees supporting around 500 end-users. Many of the end-users were generally technology-hesitant, with very little computer experience. Previously, the business was functioning with many of them rarely touching anything technology-wise. As the IT department rolled out cloud products, they needed a way to drive usage amongst employees. Given the smaller size of the organization and the strong resistance to computers, the IT director shared that they chose to force people to adopt the tools. To get paid, they required employees to use certain systems.

 

To support end-users with the new payment system, the company created videos, step-by-step documentation built internally, with supplemental training guides about the most critical functions like how to send an email.

 

The Takeaway

The common theme throughout these cases is that the IT department understood their end-users’ abilities and needs. For Company A, the IT employees knew that their end-users were naturally curious and were a tightly-knit community. By pre-seeding the technology to savvy users to test out, the IT Director said they knew the “gossip” would spread. For Company B, they understood that their end-users were very reluctant and would find ways to continue to avoid the new technology. By putting their time cards on the electronic system, they’ve found greater success in driving adoption. Not every adoption strategy works for every audience and knowing your audience can make approaching adoption easier and more effective.

 

 

 

1 Reply
Highlighted
I totally agree that every organization requires a different adoption strategy. Though, I'm pretty curious about the numbers: which organization has what (/ a higher) adoption rate?

I notice that your post is really focused on a certain part of adoption: training. For me, my natural approach would agree with the first IT-manager. Don't focus to hard on end-user (hands-on) training. Rather, my hypothesis would be that the will and understanding why to use a certain tool is more important than how to use it. Then again the users also need to have a common understanding of your policy/governance, but in my opinion it's really important for end-users to understand why certain tools are implemented and what its goal (scenario) is.