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9 Actions to Drive Adoption of a Software Solution

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by Kate Crush
March 14, 2021
6 min read

In May of 2020, Gartner estimated that $426 billion would be spent on enterprise software solutions worldwide, with the intention to drive better business outcomes. But without widespread adoption, that $400 billion-dollar-plus investment is at risk of being wasted.ย 

We sat down with several global process improvement leaders to discuss lessons learned when it comes to driving the adoption of a truly transformational software solution. Through our discussions, we uncovered recurring themes about what drives and blocks adoption and unpacked the best course of action to take to be successful. Letโ€™s take a deeper look.

Drivers

Identifying key drivers that will accelerate a successful software adoption is imperative. Our key drivers are related to an end-user focus, executive support, enablement and training, and business value.

End-user focusย 

Lesson learned

Users are willing to adopt software when it โ€œprovides a toolkit that enables them to carry out their necessary activities and eases their job,โ€ said a global leader in consumer goods.ย 

Action

Involve business users, not just IT experts or Super Users, during the early stages of a rollout so that you can tailor the solution to their actual pain points. Ensure that the technology is solving real business problems.ย 

Executive Support

Lesson Learned

โ€œSenior Directors and management buy-in prove better for adoption,โ€ says a leader in the technology industry. In cases where solutions are well adopted, executive sponsors are actively involved in communicating that the technology is a priority. This top-down approach demonstrates organizational commitment and stresses the importance of participation from the end-users

Action

Tie solutions to existing strategic initiatives or performance goals.ย  Ask for active involvement from a sponsor that is willing to communicate adoption as a top-down priority.

Enablement and Trainingย 

Lesson learned

Wide adoption requires a detailed training and enablement plan. Our interviews revealed organizations that conducted 1-on-1, user-focused training were twice as likely to have strong adoption.

Action

Create and implement a plan for how and when you will roll out the solution to end-users.ย  Have a training and enablement plan that addresses each user group. Ensure that the plan provides functional training that is tailored to each use case and unique role. Small group sessions and 1-on-1 instruction lead to greater adoption success.

Business Value

Lesson learned

Generate buy-in by articulating the value of improvement efforts to the end-users so they can visualize the contribution they are making. Additionally, share business benefits with senior leaders and managers. Articulating the business benefit that their teams stand to gain from a given use case will help generate the buy-in needed for a top-down push.

Action

Establish measurable goals for each use case and track your progress to them. Once you have measured your improvement to the goal, make the information visible to everyone involved.

Blockers

Identifying key blockers that will hinder adoption is critical so you know what to expect and how to resolve them. Our key lessons and recommended actions are related to organizational unreadiness, data unavailability, data pipeline instability, low frequency of data loads, and extended data validation.

Organizational Unreadiness

Lesson Learned

Lack of available resources was the most common blocker for adoption and was mentioned in 26% of our conversations with industry experts. Organizational unreadiness took two forms: not enough capacity to dedicate to the implementation of the solution and organizational disruption due to competing priorities.

Action

Focus on the minimum viable product (MVP) first to minimize the effort required from team members while maximizing the impact. This MVP will generate some momentum that you can carry forward.ย 

Additionally, create a centralized and well-trained Center of Excellence (COE) dedicated to carrying the software solution from initial implementation to the stage where value is realized. The COE should have a top-down mandate to achieve a return on investment (ROI) and a leader who is accountable for measured results.

Data Unavailabilityย 

Lesson learned

If the most meaningful data points are missing, the end-users are unlikely to adopt the software solution.

Action

Clearly define all potential business users and their data requirements early in the implementation of any software and know what actions will be necessary to access it. Make your data sources ready before the rollout of a new software solution.

Data Pipeline Instability

Lesson learned

Slow and unreliable data loads can erode end usersโ€™ confidence in the software.ย 

Action

Plan data job timing intelligently taking into account other source system connections. Once a valid data connection is in place and has been tested, provide a consistent support structure with Data Engineers working within a Center of Excellence.

Frequency of Data Loads

Lesson Learned

If the data isnโ€™t loaded in real-time, the business users cannot act on it in real-time. The result? Adoption is limited to historical analysis and is very reactive. A real-time data connection is critical to truly embed a digital solution in an operation.

Action

Implement your technology with real-time data connectivity, so that business users can perform digital transformation while going about their normal business.

Extended Data Validation

Lesson Learned

It is easy to get trapped in the โ€œdata validationโ€ stage. Getting stuck in this stage and losing momentum will greatly impact engagement and eventual adoption by the users.ย 

Action

In a state of wide adoption, a transformational software solution is a living, breathing, operational tool for many business users, rather than a static report of process gaps. Ask for signed approval from the business user groups that youโ€™ve achieved a minimum viable product and meet promised dates for release to the end-users. If you are successful in driving adoption, the solution will evolve in the hands of the business users.

On your way to business breakthroughs

The current economic climate has increased the level of pressure on software purchases. In a COVID-19 era economy, money must be spent conscientiously on IT solutions. After purchasing the right software solution, the next most important step for driving the execution of better business outcomes is ensuring that your team adopts it. Celonis has asked the question โ€œHow can we drive adoption?โ€ many times throughout 2000 customer rollouts.

From our experience in software implementation, the keys to ensuring that software is widely adopted are an end-user focus, executive buy-in, enablement and training, and business value. To avoid blockers fully commit a team to drive adoption. Engage the business users and IT from the start, to ensure access to the data you need. Through the benefit of our experience, you will be on your way to business breakthroughs.

Learn more about how we work with customers to drive measurable business value and accelerate adoption here.

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Kate Crush
Business Value Architect

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