Read SAP’s press release here.
I had an enjoyable conversation late last week with a prospective client that is grappling with exactly this issue. Namely they’re a mature SAP ‘shop’ and have, for the past several years, been less focused on ‘change events’ and more focused on optimizing adoption – or ‘sustainment’. I took a lot from the conversation and feel compelled to share the way in which they’ve broken down their sustainment strategy into 5 straightforward cornerstones. Here they are:
1) Training Material(s) Refresh – Develop a strategy and approach for the prioritization of the maintenance of key training and documentation assets and devote resources to this activity.
2) Get Users to Training (or better yet, get the training to users) – Ensure that you have a plan and process in place to identify users requiring intervention and assistance while also providing the appropriate vehicle through which these users can be provided (or force-fed) with the required upskilling.
3) Super User Skilling – Identify your super user community explicitly and develop a scalable strategy for super user community development and ongoing super user education and certification.
4) New Hire Onboarding – Ensure that you have adequately maintained and documented the appropriate learning path for new hires, by role, so that onboarding isn’t a constant stream of ad hoc events, rather a product of good ongoing sustainment discipline.
5) Self-Service – Develop a robust model for end user help self-service and (back to #1) make sure that this vehicle is up-to-date, a constant for all communication, and the focal point for all end user support. This is a virtuous cycle, if the self-service experience is good, users will actually self-serve; if it’s bad, they’ll flee in droves and lock up your expensive help-desk resources.
If you’re developing a sustainment strategy, make sure you’ve got these 5 areas covered and you’ll be on the right track to achieving ongoing end user adoption. Thanks to this prospective client for the engaging discussion. I hope we’ll keep the dialogue going.
Steve – datango
OK, I know I’ve made a few jabs at our marketing department on these posts, but this time they’re really earned the criticism! Not content with their shameless promotions featuring ‘free beer’ and ‘free money’ they’ve now stooped to an all-time creative low and are offering the chance to drive a Bentley, go rally driving or even rally Segwey riding (I’ve no idea either…). And if that’s not enough, you should also ask the datango staff on our stand about winning a Nintendo Wii!
So what’s the catch? Well, this time they’re making you earn it. How? It involves one of these things:
That, my friends, is a datango pedometer and it measures how far you’ve walked. And, during the SAP UK&I User Conference (starting Sunday, November 20) eligible attendees can pick one of these up at the datango stand (number 37) from 4:30pm. The prizes go to the people that have clocked up the furthest distance while at the event and we’ll even keep you updated on Twitter (@datangoAG). Terms and conditions apply and these will be available at the event.
My 3 tips for clocking up a few extra miles? 1) Pick a pedometer up on Sunday afternoon; 2) take it with you to the reception on Sunday evening; 3) ask one of our team to join you for a dance while you rack up some extra steps and get off to a flying start.
I guess there was a few pounds left over in the marketing budget this year guys?
Steve – datango
OK, now I don’t want to come off as a complete cynic, but I saw this ‘ad’ from Microsoft and I just became more and more frustrated as each 10 seconds elapsed. It’s just too much of an over-simplification of what’s required to ensure end user adoption that I almost felt insulted (I said almost, I’m not that easily offended). Take a look and read my comments below. Then let me know your thoughts…
I know what you’re going to say: “Nobody needed to worry about user adoption of Facebook or Skype or YouTube or [insert any tech with lots and lots of users who didn’t get training]” but I’d argue that there is one huge difference between all of those technologies and the systems we use to run our businesses today – they were adopted, initially, by individuals and not companies. Further, when these technologies were adopted by companies, they come, at a minimum, with policies and guidelines governing their use which must be communicated and monitored to ensure compliance or productive use for the benefit of the company/attainment of corporate goals (read ‘ROI’).
At the end of the day, in a business context, ‘adoption’ is not synonymous with ‘usage’ it is more closely aligned with the phrase ‘appropriate usage’ – and ‘appropriate’ must be defined, communicated and measured.
And apologies for starting the week with a rant!
It’s been a while since my last post (largely due to a hectic travel schedule) but time in the air usually provides opportunities to read ‘stuff’ that would ordinarily remain largely ignored. For example, I read this post by Jeffrey Gitomer while sitting in the airport in Melbourne last week and it reinforced an oft-overlooked aspect relating to communications during a change management project; namely that of the semantics of language.
As you’ll see from Jeffrey’s post, the words we use to communicate and ‘effect’ change (or should that be ‘encourage’?) can have a significant impact on how end users interpret the communication. In Jeffrey’s sales example, the desired outcomes are clear – greater sales performance and insight – and yet the words and methods used to communicate and influence those outcomes are exceptionally different and can yield very different results.
As we’ve engaged with clients around the world, the most successful projects in securing end user buy-in and adoption have taken one simple step when crafting their change communications: Put yourself in the position of each end user type and communicate in a manner that ‘promotes’ (literally) rather than simply ‘mandates’ the desired behavior. By gaining buy-in early through the right change communications, end users will be more willing to embrace end user training when the time is right.
Some of my colleagues attended the Nimbus annual user conference last month, ‘Inspiring Performance’ and left, well, inspired. From my last post you’ll gather that we’re partners with Nimbus and offer an integrated and entirely complementary solution and while that’s good grounds for promoting this event in its own right (albeit somewhat self-serving) the positive feedback that I’ve heard regarding the event really stems from the content. In particular, the content from the Nimbus clients (and, indeed, some that are also our clients) stole the show. Those that really resonated with the datango team were Dr Anne Salètes from Novartis, René Nibbelke from BAE Systems (who’s quote inspired the title of this post) and Richard Leaman from the Guide Dogs Association.
If you’d like to see a nice summary from the event, simply click play on the video below:
Thanks to the Nimbus team for being great hosts (as usual) and for delivering another valuable event.
Steve – datango
I like hearing from Michael Krigsman as he balances ‘tell it like it is’ with the ability to simplify his message so it is readily understood by all. Take this video from Progress Revolution in Boston earlier this year:
I’d like to expand upon Michael’s message from this video and this blog post. In short, BPM’s a great vehicle for aligning on the ‘what needs to be done’ and this is a critical foundation upon which everything else is built. Here at datango, we tend to focus on the next layer down from ‘what needs to be done’ and delve into answering the ‘how should I do it?’ question. But too often these two critical ‘components’ of a robust IT initiative are viewed separately and dealt with in isolation which is a shame as there’s tremendous efficiencies and greater value when the two are integrated seamlessly. In fact, a post by Ian Gotts, CEO of Nimbus (full disclosure, Nimbus are a datango partner with whom we’ve performed just this type of integration) wrote a compelling blog on a related topic that’s worthy of a read – click here.
My take away from both Michael and Ian’s comments is simple: Get aligned on the ‘what’ and make sure you also deliver the ‘how’ – and do it all in a consistent, engaging, relevant, intuitive and accessible manner. Difficult? Maybe. Impactful? Definitely. And if you’d like to know how we can help you do just this, feel free to contact us.
Steve – datango
I read with interest the Neil Davey article on MyCustomer.com about CRM training’s most common calamities.
Sadly, once again, research points to a significant proportion of ‘failure to meet expectations/benefits’ for CRM deployments largely due to end users’ failure to adopt the processes that the application is designed to support. The stats?
- According to the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (ISMM), 77% of UK organizations now use a CRM system, but 40% are not satisfied with the results.
- Further, the National Computing Centre (NCC) reports that as many as 1 in 3 companies say their CRM rollouts delivered only limited benefits and that technology failures are unlikely to be the culprit.
Neil’s article then goes on to cite a number of things that companies could, should or should not do (all of which are valid) when implementing CRM systems and when focusing on end user training. For me, though, the real question is, once again, why after so many years (when the knowledge of how to do it right is well understood) do we still fall over at the ‘people’ hurdle?
Answers on a postcard to… (oh, just hit the comment link!)
I saw this video recently and it was one of those rare occasions where my heart skipped a beat when the gentleman slipped and I thought he was about to fall to his death (fortunately, on closer inspection, you’ll see the safety rope he has attached to the wire and himself – I guess he’s not such a daredevil after all…). But there’s a lesson here that corresponds directly to end user adoption strategies relating to application upgrades or implementations. How so? Let me try and explain…
When I meet with prospective clients, in particular for new application implementations, the focus is generally on ‘getting to a successful go-live’ (or perhaps 2-3 months thereafter). However, when we focus solely on getting to this ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ we forget that the light is really just the start of a different tunnel, albeit perhaps somewhat better illuminated.
Consider the fact that, according to AMR Research’s Jim Shepherd (now with Gartner), 50% of ERP users will ‘churn (change roles/leave/etc.) every 2 years. Add to this the fact that the system itself will likely evolve, and we’re left with a series of ‘tunnels’ that persist throughout the application’s entire lifecycle. In essence, when we contemplate that the user adoption ‘problem’ will be solved by go-live, we’re really walking a tightrope without a safety net and the likelihood that we will fall increases exponentially from go-live onwards. (Did I reach my daily metaphor quota yet?)
“That’s great hyperbole, but what does a safety net for my ERP/CRM end user community look like?” I hear you cry. Well, today, it probably looks a lot like your power users, floor walkers, IT help desk, user manuals, job aides, system help menu or, possibly, self-service help portal. And lets be clear, these are all great resources - but your ‘people-based’ help systems are likely your most expensive user training delivery vehicle and even the most helpful materials, when located more than a click away, will rarely be embraced by your users. So your ‘safety net’ is likely highly inefficient or not effective when needed – and neither are optimal scenarios.
The solution? Simply put, it has to be easier to obtain assistance than picking up a phone, asking a colleague or searching for information. It has to be user, context and task/transaction-aware so that the right information is presented immediately the user is in difficulty. In short, it’s just got to be there when needed and respond quickly to prevent as much ‘damage’ as possible.
So, with that in mind, does your end user adoption strategy have a safety net? How does is stack up to the requirements detailed above? I’m interested to hear your thoughts.
Our friend Carrie Haag at Oceaneering International Inc. will be discussing how they’ve transitioned from UPK to datango to improve the adoption of their Oracle and non-Oracle applications and we’d like to invite you to hear what Carrie has to say in this free webinar. We’ll also reward one attendee with a complimentary conference pass for the upcoming Oracle Openworld event in San Francisco, CA, USA (a $2,500 value).*
When: Thursday, August 25th at 11:30am Eastern / 8:30am Pacific / 4:30pm BST
Where: At your desk!
To Register: Click here
*Terms and conditions apply. Not available where prohibited by law.
Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. All rights reserved. Oracle is not a sponsor and is not associated with this webinar/promotion.