While IT managers have gotten a lot better at planning for new technology rollouts, there's one element which remains annoyingly unpredictable: how the end users are going to react.
Alan Greig, CEO of Adelaide-based HR software developer Empower, cites an interesting example by contrasting two organisations which have rolled out Empower's software to provide employee self-service (ESS) for payroll and HR management tasks via an intranet-based system.
One, the Sydney Turf Club, had a huge percentage of casual employees, many of whom had little or no PC knowledge or exposure. The other, the South Australian TAFE system, existed on even more sites but already had an extensive IT infrastructure and, for the most part, a more white collar workforce.
On the face of it, you'd expect the TAFE employees to embrace the new systems more readily, while the turf club workers seem more likely to view the PC as a nuisance or a threat.
In practice, however, it was the other way round. The turf club employees were immediately enthusiastic, while "there was resistance" from many TAFE workers, Greig notes.
In the long run, such problems can be ironed out. TAFE staff have now become used to the system, Greig says, and the business benefits from cutting out printing and manual handling of alterations and leave requests made it worthwhile to persist.
However, the contrast demonstrates that assuming enthusiasm from your user base can be a risky business.