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The great adoption bake-off

Ease of use or relevance? Both are important - but is your time better spent on worrying about the ease of use, or the relevance of collaboration tools?

Adoption is fundamentally the number one deliverable of any collaboration solution. It is very hard to justify ongoing focus and investment in collaboration if it is not actually used.

In my last post we had a look at the importance of business requirements. These underpin both the technology decisions, as well as the motivation for change and adoption in the user base. As concluded, they are not optional.

So how do we use requirements to achieve adoption?

In deployments my focus is always upon relevance as being the most effective method to generate adoption. Many look to 'ease of use' as a panacea, but the basic principle of 'ease of use' is eroding over time.

For example, you could take someone who's been using one smartphone for a few years and switch them to a different operating system, and watch the sparks fly. Both devices are engineered to be easy to use, and if you've never used a smartphone before, both would be. But because of previous experience with a similar device, they're simply not easy to use at all.

Business requirements provide the platform to obtain relevance for end users. If a new way of collaborating is framed as beneficial, such as a way of avoiding a previous pain point, then your people will engage with the change. And the right solution will then be proposed and adopted.

But what about training?

Training of course needs to play a role. But not just 'off the shelf' training that comes with the product - people need to understand the change within the context of how they worked with the previous solution. If your business case is to succeed, it is likely that people also need to understand the change within the terms of collaborating in completely new ways.

In short, people need to understand the reason for the change if adoption is to be high - and relevance beats ease of use every time.

In my next post we'll take a brief deep-dive into Telstra's new world of analytics and automated support of adoption.

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