Are you aware of the financial impact of technology and user adoption? This article highlights 3 examples that will shock you.
User adoption is a term that we think of as “training.” “If we conduct training then people will adopt.” It is not that simple.
Training is only an event – User adoption is an outcome
Today, technology has become a solution for almost all of our business problems. It’s developed a reputation of being the Holy Grail of business evolution and innovation. The value and benefits are felt, and understood, by all of us.
When customers deploy CRM, PSA, Collaboration or other work productivity tools, user adoption issues arise that vendors and IT groups feel they have little control over. Industry statistics reveal only 30% of users adopt important functions within the first 5 months.
Imagine a vendor selling a solution to a customer and telling them they will only get 30% of the value!
Even players like Salesforce, Cisco and Microsoft struggle with end-user adoption, but they are not alone. While application vendors have migrated from on-site training to newer, on-line courses and self-serve portals, they haven’t fully considered the underlying factors that inhibit an employee from changing their “habits”
(i.e.using the old way and avoiding the new system).
When I worked at an IT integrator we had big (smart) customers like colleges, banks, government, and others. But we were constantly frustrated that these companies would spend millions of $$ with us, then struggle to get end-users to engage with the key functions that justified their purchase.
Here are 3 examples of how technology was deployed; only to lose it’s intended benefits because of poor user adoption:
Spend $80k and Save $309k
A college spent $80,000 as part of a new telephone system to avoid third-party vendor conferencing fees. A year later they were still paying $103,000 a year for the conferencing service, projecting a cost of $309,000 in 3 years. In a study of user behavior, most respondents said they either didn’t know the internal service existed or if they did know about the service they didn’t know enough to feel comfortable using it. The result was to continue with their old ways. The business justification for purchase was simple – spend $80k and save $309K by discontinuing use of the third-party service – but the justification collapsed as a result of poor user adoption.
Bank estimates the cost of bad mortgages write-offs of $3.2M
To reduce bad mortgages, a bank introduced a revised mortgage loan application form. The process was simple; develop new loan criteria, design a revised form, draft a document explaining the revised form, email the instruction to 5,000 branch loan officers and presto, “we save millions.”
But when the email went out it was 9 months before the old form finally stopped being used. Loan officers did gradually transition, some right away and others at a slower pace, but the damage was done. After just 1 month of continued use of the old form, when assessing the impact the new form would have had on applications, the bank determined they approved $3.2M in bad mortgage loans. The project team viewed the change as a deployment only without enough consideration of user adoption.
Application vendor misses $7.7M in delayed subscription revenue
A vendor had a successful sales strategy for getting a foothold into an account by selling roughly half the potential user licenses to a client, then expanding the sale 6 months later. But for a number of customers, their second purchase was delayed by another 6 months, explaining that initial users were still not fully engaged with the first wave of deployment.
Delaying the sale meant the vendor did not realize the added subscription revenue for those 6 months. Calculating the number of customer where that happened in the previous 12 months, they determined it cost them $7,695,000 ($30/license x 450 users x 6 mths x 95 customers). Better user adoption practices could have avoided a significant portion of these delays.
Assembling a team of experts in the fields of biology, psychology, and behavioral science, we created Fivel to offer vendors and their customers a more effective and efficient path to user adoption.
What secrets did we discover?
- Our short-term memory is limited so dumping hours of information in one session is not user-friendly.
- In less than 2 weeks our brains forget 80% of what we retain (referred to as Memory Decay) unless there is follow-up reinforcement in those 2 weeks.
- Resistance to change is an unconscious action because old habits don’t die; they must be overpowered by new habits.
- Human attention spans have declined to seconds due, in part, to smartphones and social media exposure.
- Visual senses repeatedly are overstimulated. More rapid media and movie frame changes (5x faster over 25 years), is causing our focus to drift.
We determined that to improve current user adoption outcomes we needed to:
- Carefully consider and engineer the way content (video) is designed,
- Include a retention solution to offset memory decay,
- Make it frictionless for users to access and use.
- Appeal to users’ intrinsic motivation,
- Deliver ongoing segments of learning to develop new habits, and
- Monitor the amount of engagement.
When we don’t understand a problem, or we can’t quantify the cost, or we don’t know what solution to use, we can’t fix the problem. Now that we know the financial implications, the reasons why users struggle with technology adoption and the remedy to solve it, our next step is to shift from training events to adoption outcomes.
If this is something that you think may make your initiatives more successful, I would be happy to discuss our options. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want a deeper understanding of how employees view change? Go to http://fivel.ca/digital-transformation-what-we-miss/
Author: John Breakey Fivel leverages its extensive experience with technology deployments with its deep insights into neurological and behavioral sciences to accelerate employee engagement and project outcomes. Is it time for you to discover new ways to solve old problems?