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With CRM tools – even very “easy-to-use” applications like Salesforce.com – the issue of low end user adoption is a well-recorded and perennial one.
The reasons behind this are multiple and varied. It is fundamentally one about changing behaviours which, in any ones books, is not easy. People can be complicated!
In many instances, the key lies in how users are engaged through the CRM journey – from initial planning of their new CRM application, right through to the final deployment stages, and beyond. In many cases, it’s considered as an after-thought or, at best, a factor that is just discussed as a topic of note during end-user training.
The reality, however, is that end user adoption is one of the most critical factors that drive ROI and, more significantly, the performance of final outputs and success.
End user adoption strategies should hence be an integral component of your overall solution delivery and usage lifecycle, starting from the get-go. Resources, time and budget should be baked-in for this – even if it means postponing some of the functional requirements to a later date (well, at least the bells and whistles!).
After all, which is better?
a) Deploying an application designed for 100% adoption, but might only meet (say) 80% of business needs in the first tranche; or
b) Delivering an application that supports 100% business needs, and simply assuming it will therefore attract adoption?
The good news is that as platforms like Salesforce.com are well suited to agile delivery methods – the dynamic and capacity exist to incorporate, plan for and apply end user adoption strategies in ways that might have proved challenging in the past.
To help design your adoption strategies, here are some tips based on our observations and experience:
Engage a senior level/executive sponsor: to represent and drive the project and change initiative. This is a statement of the obvious, perhaps, but one that often is forgotten!
Its not good enough to appoint a “figure-head” to represent this role – no matter how senior, it just doesn’t work.
Engage End-Users through the journey: right from the initial design stages, engage champions(s) and end-users (a representative body of them) to participate and inform the design and direction of the project.
Design for continuous adoption: it’s relatively easy to motivate users during the early stages of implementing a new application; but often not so easy to keep enthusiasm high.
To support the whole process, ensure that the solution design stages include reports and dashboards on Adoption – so that you can regularly assess who is using what, how and where – and, just as importantly, what isn’t being used and its associated implications. There are some great tools on the AppExchange that can help you with this – including those from Salesforce Labs themselves (just type: “adoption” into the search bar, and you’ll soon find them)!
What are your experiences? What carrots and sticks have you found work best – or don’t work at all? What are the gotcha’s?