6 Steps to Accelerating Adoption, ROI

Most organizations do not have the time or skill sets to promote new technologies and educate employees on their use cases. This is where channel partners can step in.

Channel Partners

February 15, 2011

4 Min Read
6 Steps to Accelerating Adoption, ROI

By Mitchell Hershkowitz

One of the biggest hurdles for organizations deploying advanced communications technologies  such as telepresence, video conferencing, unified communications and collaboration is ensuring that employees adopt them. A 2010 Dimension Data survey of more than 800 enterprises found, for example, that while 70 percent had video communications tools in place, only 43 percent stated that they typically use them. When these advanced solutions are not fully adopted, businesses are not able to optimally leverage the investment in terms of realizing increased productivity, reduced travel expenses and potentially lowered real estate costs. Increasing user adoption is more critical than ever. In the past, technology was budgeted based on a return on investment of 12 to 18 months. Today, CEOs are looking for projects to be self-funded or provide an ROI within a few months. Advanced communications solutions are capable of realizing rapid ROI provided that the installs are timely and the adoption rates are high. In a survey by Sandhill Group and Neochange, 70 percent of respondents believe end-user adoption is the most critical success factor for realizing deployment value.

However, changing employees habits can be difficult, and most internal IT organizations do not have the time or skill sets required to effectively promote a new technology and educate employees on its use cases. This is where channel partners can step in; becoming next-generation solutions providers by offering change management programs that involve the customers marketing organizations to increase user adoption of these technologies.

Promoting use of advanced communications technologies requires a multiphased, multivehicle and multimessage approach. To that end, here are six tips for success:

  1. Prepare for the technology rollout. Organizations must be able to clearly identify what they want to accomplish. Are they investing in communications technology to reduce communication spend and travel expenses? Are they trying to implement or expand teleworking programs? Are they trying to optimize business processes? Many times its a combination of all of these and once the business goals have been identified, the solution can be more effectively rolled out.

  2. Conduct a pilot program. Identify key user groups  typically outside of IT and in a few key departments (sales, customer service, engineering, human resources, etc.), as well as solicit participation from the help desk. A business unit manager should be designated as the technology evangelist, who will promote the specific benefits of this new communications technology to company employees. Similarly, if possible, an organization should look to include an executive in the pilot since having executive sponsorship will facilitate user adoption.

  3. Create awareness. Marketing should draft a brief statement, to be distributed internally, that outlines the benefits in efficiency and flexibility that the new solutions will provide to both employees and the organization as a whole. The company could produce a broad range of multimedia campaigns, including e-mails, posters, flyers and videos highlighting these benefits and display them in common office meeting areas.

  4. Train users. To train end-users, an organization should offer customized, live, interactive training tailored to each working groups environment at times convenient to the end-user. After the live training, work with users to address technical questions that arise through online training, cheat sheets and even internal collaborative sites.

  5. Follow through. An organization can facilitate employee adoption of new solutions by creating an end-user community blog or message board where employees can discuss video conferencing, telepresence, etc. among themselves and by linking to these sites on the companys collaborative site. To go a step further, organizations should conduct periodic surveys to gauge employee adoption and to elicit feedback on what IT could do better or what may be lacking.

  6. Follow through again. Once the solutions have been implemented, organizations should continue to check in with employees and regularly monitor whether they are using the solutions properly by using benchmark surveys to monitor employee use. If employees are not taking full advantage of the new system, this will help uncover why. This is also where innovation and improvement takes place as employees can drive the future of the platform with new features or integration to business applications and processes.

It takes a cross-organizational effort to deploy new technologies and to get employees to adopt them in their daily tasks. However, this effort is well worth it and will quickly pay dividends to the organizations bottom line.

Mitchell Hershkowitz is the national practice manager for consulting services at

Dimension Data Americas

, a global IT solutions and services provider that helps clients plan, build, support and manage their network and IT infrastructures. Dimension Data specializes in networking, converged communications, security, operating environments, storage and contact center technologies.
It offers its clients an Adoption Management Program (AMP) as part of their advanced communications solutions or as a stand-alone offering for existing deployments.

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