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5 Myths About Technology Adoption

Enterprise technology platforms refer to solutions or software that improve an organization’s productivity and streamline day-to-day processes and tasks. They are offered by a variety of providers like SAP, Oracle, Workday, and Salesforce. This type of technology is heavy-duty, and implementing it requires careful planning to ensure appropriate levels of adoption by impacted end users across the enterprise.

For optimal enterprise technology adoption, you need three things to be in place, or there’s going to be a gap between what you are providing users and what users need. In terms of documentation and support for using these technologies, your reference content for using the software needs to be 1) relevant to users, 2) easy to access, and 3) painless to consume.

There are some deep-rooted ideas about enterprise technology adoption that hurt everyone involved—both the frontline users and the organization as a whole. Let’s dispel them to discover how to ensure your employees have what they need and increase their adoption rate, and therefore, realize a greater ROI on the massive investment that is your new enterprise technology system.

Myth 1

Technology is already so prevalent in our lives, personally and professionally, that we don’t need to worry about providing training or online resources for using the new platform.

The prevalence of technology in our lives is so apparent and all-consuming that this impulse makes complete sense. Employees are already using tools like Teams, Zoom, and Outlook to communicate, plan, and execute goals at work, and they use multiple social media apps in their personal lives. But we should not assume adopting entirely new systems in the workplace is as easy as sending a Teams chat message or scrolling through Facebook.

Let’s imagine I’m being asked to use a new time-keeping system, but I don’t have the slightest clue what to select for workplace location. It’s a crucial component of my timesheet, but I don’t know if I should select my physical location, my supervisor’s location, or headquarters. I search back through my emails for help because I remember receiving some reference material, and I find a 30-page user manual to refer to. It takes nearly an entire minute for the document to download, and what I need is buried 20 pages in, so it’s difficult for me to find the answer to my question. This learning content is not relevant, not easily accessible, and quite painful to use. I probably won’t go back to the manual because it was so discouraging and time-consuming.

With personal technology, you have the luxury to play around with it, maybe hit a dead end, and then redirect yourself with little to no consequences. But with workplace technology, there are complex business roles to consider. And as a user, you are likely not the decider of those business roles, nor will you have an intimate understanding of why they’re so important. This is where the necessity of providing quality reference content comes into play.

Myth 2

We don’t need to create custom content for our employees because we have superusers who can help end users with technology adoption.

Superusers, or people highly familiar with the new software and business processes, are critical to the adoption solution because these individuals know both the people and the software. But superusers are not superhumans. If you rely on them to be the primary source of knowledge, they may be welcoming to people who have questions for the first several days or perhaps even weeks after adoption, but they will inevitably become overloaded and burnt out helping others master these systems while also staying on top of their usual job.

New workplace technology practically demands that you plan to make a repository of relevant content accessible to users. People may move around an organization, but reference information should always remain in the same place and can be added to and updated as required.

Myth 3

Our employees are modern learners who prefer online, self-paced references, so there’s no need to provide live training workshops or Q&A forums for technology adoption.

All adults in the workplace have learning preferences. It is our job to find what those preferences are and how broadly they range among entire teams or organizations. It may be the case that those preferences are there because it’s something innate inside them that leads to them wanting to have higher control over their learning. But it is entirely possible that with a great change, their apparent preferences may shift. And further, it’s also possible they may not be able to fully absorb self-study materials without live training where they can engage with experts.

These learning preferences can and should be explored in a learning needs assessment before content is ever created. Then, once learning needs have been identified, you can construct the solution to fit your employee’s needs. People usually still want the option to have some expert-led workshops, whether that means hosting live, recorded webinars or having face-to-face training sessions. We want to offer them what they need to learn best, but live training is not the “end all be all.” Live webinars can orient people to items they can explore and consult when a need arises on the job, which means the live training events become a building block for the rest of an adoption solution.

Providing a blended learning journey to your people is providing a modern learning journey. A blended learning journey will lead to the most success and make learning content as palatable as possible. Give people a chance to ask questions and connect before they engage in self-guided learning at their moments of learning need.

Myth 4

The project team can create the learning content for the technology adoption; they know what they’re doing.

This is a common mistake. In many cases, the project team leading a technology adoption has the knowledge others need. The problem is that these individuals are so deep in the functional technology that they cannot recall being at the level of a beginner. Documenting a project team member’s depth of knowledge is not the best solution for frontline users. Users just need to know what to do from one screen to the next; they don’t need to know the reason behind every element of every page.

Another issue with this misconception is that the project team is typically very time-constrained, and when a project is on a schedule, they’re already multitasking. The last thing this team wants to do is stick to training or documentation design guidelines—if they find the time to create learning content, it will likely be similar to the situation described in Myth #1. On top of that, this burden of knowledge the project team carries can lead to discounting the needs of people who are not on the project team. Having dedicated instructional designers create learning content is the safest bet because they have a different perspective on the technology and the needs of the people who will use it.

Myth 5

English is our global language for business, so my users don’t need the resource content translated into our local language.

Having worked on many global projects, this is another common misconception. While organizations may hope that people will be able to navigate through English reference materials, this may not be the case. This is another situation that should be addressed in the learning needs assessment before any content is created. In that assessment, all the impacted roles—factory workers, inventory managers, HR representatives, etc.—should be consulted to discover their comfort levels with reading, speaking, and listening in English versus their local language. It can be tiring for a learner to parse important information from a highly technical, non-native language, so during the learning needs assessment, you may discover some of the content needs to be translated so that people can really become comfortable with the new processes.

This is not an all-or-nothing decision, either. You can discover needs and localize responses to them appropriately, which can be as simple as having live webinars in your local language. It’s crucial to plan for and determine these situations early on, or you may experience sudden, urgent costs to provide language-appropriate resources to your employees down the road.

Further Resources for Technology Adoption

There are many myths involved with technology adoption, but avoiding these situations is quite simple; don’t plunge into creating learning content right away. Take the time to complete a learning assessment with a learning specialist or instructional designer before developing grand plans for learning content. Another important step to consider taking, if the technology adoption is an overhaul of important existing systems, is a change impact assessment by a change management expert.

If you’re considering a new technology adoption and want to ensure your people have what they need to succeed, reach out to GP Strategies for comprehensive digital transformation solutions.

About the Authors

Ellen Kumar
Ms. Kumar is a Solution Architect with GP Strategies, and has served in roles ranging from Account Executive, to Operations Director, to Project Manager/Training Consultant. Prior to GP Strategies, she worked for University of Dayton Research Institute and GE Aircraft Engines (now GE Aerospace). She holds an M.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from University of Dayton.

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