Risk Factors to Adoption

Occasional Contributor

We know that so many Office 365 deployments fail because in the end, the technology is not being embraced by users. I am constantly trying to drive importance of adoption. What would you say the greatest risks factors are in end user adoption?

6 Replies
Lack of executive support. Lack of alignment with use cases that meaningfully benefit end users in their day to day work. Users will use it if they know about it and can see clearly how it makes their work life easier.

Hi! There are a number of risks out there, however for me it is focusing too much on the launch and not the long-term adoption. We think too much short-term. Lights flashing green does not necessarily mean we have gone live! Planning should focus on long-term adoption. All the best!

Make it personal.  We must be able to answer "What's in it for me?".

I totally agree with Mark, Michael and Nilay. Make it personal is really important. I experienced this no so long ago when I explained the benefit of OneDrive / SharePoint. I explained to a team in the health care sector that you can now work together, at the same time, in the same document. I noticed that it didn't match with their needs/wishes, but when I said you can work together, at the same time in your 'daily report / transfer document' (name of the document) it opened their eyes and they saw the benefits. So by only mentioning their documents instead of just the word 'document' it helped them to adopt the new possibilities.

But to answer your question, Veronica, at the same health care organization, I notice that bad/slow WIFI and lack of (personal) presentations are also great risk factors. When you speak to persons face to face or in presentations about the benefits of O365 it to me looks like users adopt the new ways of working more easily.

If by risk factors, you are looking to identify drivers of failed adoption here's my list:

  • no strategy at all for user adoption: far too common and always deadly
  • the wrong strategy: imposing solutions, solutions unconnected to business strategy, no user engagement, etc
  • not making it easy for users to make personal sense of the tool in their work
  • creating barriers to connection: policy, risks, procedures for security, access issues, lack of leadership, change support, trust or capability, etc. A surprising number of tools fail because users don't know they are there, just can't use them or are too scared to use them.
  • creating barriers to use: it won't be used if it is hard
  • failing to ensure that the tools are used for real business cases that are of strategic business value
  • failing to allow the use of the tool to change as the business needs adapt. Users need to be able to lead incremental and transformational change in the platforms when it meets their or the businesses needs.
  • overly complex implementations and approaches: try to do everything at once or overdesign your solution or focus on a really complex approach and you increase the risk of failure.  I use a Connect>Share>Solve>Innovate approach when I work with clients to foster adoption. Keeping the clients and users focused on small tangible actions to improve business value is more likely to drive success.

Others have said some great stuff. I'll just add a couple of things. Adoption is about change management, communications and most of all changing people's habits. And that last one is the hardest. Using Office 365 changes how people work and some may not like to change how they do things. And it also takes time. Tailor your expectations and timelines accordingly (long term!) and keep at it. Good luck.