4 Steps to Ensure Company-Wide Adoption of Communications Technology

By - Lewis
01.06.20 07:00 AM

Considering our infatuation with technology, you’d think that we’d get excited when our organisations introduce new tools into our workflows. In many cases, however, that couldn’t be further from reality. During my time providing technical solutions to businesses I've come across many cases where individuals in the business had their own preferred project management app, often leading to a mismatch of processes and workflows and consequently, confusion. In response, management have migrated users onto a new project management app for the entire business, mandating that the team adopt the new app.

Several months later, users often slowly crawled back to their previous apps. Why? Because the users felt that the new solution didn’t meet their needs and had a convoluted user interface. The result was hundreds of collective hours and valuable budget wasted migrating between apps.

Control =/= Flexibility
Businesses deploy new technologies in response to business needs. However, deployment really is only half the battle. Users often resist technological change, which fragments teamwork as a result. Whether users are too busy to learn new processes or too stubborn to abandon old habits, their resistance can nullify any new technologies a business decides to introduce. 

Migrating users to new technologies isn’t as straightforward as it seems too. Many companies demand that teams use certain tools and prohibit them from using alternatives. That creates a major problem if those tools are ineffective. A survey by ZenBusiness shows that 57% of employees feel working with inadequate and obsolete technology negatively affects workplace productivity and morale. Tasks take longer to complete, employees work longer hours, and the quality of work suffers.

And on the contrary, giving users too much freedom poses a challenge as well. Ineffective company-provided solutions often push employees to find and deploy their own solutions without approvals from security teams. A Forbes Insight survey found that one in five businesses experienced a cyber event due to shadow IT, or technologies that fall under the radar. This presents huge security risks for businesses.

When it comes to enterprise control versus business unit flexibility, who wins? The answer is somewhere in the middle. Deployment strategies include several key steps to ensure successful widespread adoption. Let's get going with four essential steps to help businesses get started.

1. Choose a communication solution with a seamless user experience
The most important factor in user adoption is the user experience. Millennials and 'Gen Zers' (who comes up with these?) grew up surrounded by communications technology (MSN, Skype, FaceTime) and expect the same level of simplicity in their professional tools. Without a seamless user experience, users will wander in search of better options.

Many businesses choose a multi-app approach, deploying a communications app for every need (messaging, video calling, phone, fax). The deluge of apps, however, often overwhelms employees. 68% of employees toggle between apps 10 times a single hour, with some toggling up to 15 times, according to a recent study. Toggling between apps destroys concentration, especially when switching apps requires you to enter meeting credentials and wait for long load times.

Communications technology should combine essential tools into a single platform. Unified communications solutions like the RingCentral or G Suite combine many communication methods into a single platform where employees can seamlessly switch between different modes of communication with a single click (or tap for our millennials). When compared to multiple apps, the simplicity of a single platform allows employees to work without being inundated by technology and that makes for a much better user experience.

Credit: RingCentral©

2. Be transparent
The right messaging can make all the difference in user adoption. If employees feel obligated to adopt a new app to justify someone else’s decision, they’ll be much less inclined to make an effort. At the same time, choosing a new solution without consulting employees is a sure way to get mixed responses.

Businesses should start by assessing the team’s business needs. Employee surveys or leadership meetings help IT teams gauge how employees feel about the current ecosystem. With their concerns in mind, introduce the new communication solution explaining how it eases employee workloads and helps streamline workflows. Employees are much more receptive to technologies adopted with intent and will put more effort into making them work.

3. Provide training
Even tech-savvy users won’t entirely understand a new solution’s capabilities at the start. It's similar to how every so often you might discover a new feature on your phone after three years of using it! Without the full scope of what’s available, users might find the new solution lacking of obvious features and give up early.

Deployment plans should include training sessions before finalising any contracts. We would always encourage our partners to utilise our training services as part of any big software migration and generally IT leaders or service providers would offer training sessions using lesson plans customised to every individual department within a business.

Keep sessions bitesize and hands-on so users have a chance to test and ask questions. This keeps employees of all levels of technical expertise on the same page.

Credit: RingCentral©

4. Engage with early adopters and empower ambassadors
Sometimes, employees resist new technologies because the benefits of switching their entire workflow aren’t clear. The same holds true for communications when migrating entire communication histories. Important files can get lost, and users don’t want to risk that.

Businesses should carefully choose their change leaders to educate employees. Leaders can host webinars and office-hour sessions, or simply answer questions from colleagues. By educating employees, businesses won’t leave employees to their own devices. Instead, they’ll take a proactive approach toward ensuring widespread adoption of their new communications solution.

Creating ambassadors of a new solution is absolutely key. By showing change leaders the benefits of a new system they are much more likely to encourage others to use the service too. This cuts down on direct training resources as well as leverages the confidence that teams have in their closest change leader or 'ambassador'.

Credit: RingCentral©

Closing comments
Introducing new communication solutions within your business can certainly present challenges, but with the right approach it will be successful. Todays IT users have high expectations for their workplace technology and so IT leaders ultimately need to keep users interested, invested, and educated in the deployment strategy. With employees fully on board, businesses can successfully deploy the new solution and start streamlining communication and collaboration.

An effective communications solution has to meet the needs of as many users as possible to ensure business-wide adoption. Luckily, unified platforms solutions such as RingCentral and G Suite, check all the boxes. All of the products we provide integrate seamlessly together to provide a one-stop shop for business users, minimising app switch and consequently maximising productivity.

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Written in partnership with RingCentral©.