Companies view the adoption of SaaS applications as a way to improve their operations by lowering costs, driving efficiencies and encouraging innovation. The appeal of the cloud environment is that it has a low barrier to entry, it’s flexible and scalable, it allows companies to quickly deploy applications and it leaves the management of IT resources to the cloud provider.
Many organizations have researched, planned and implemented SaaS applications only to have end users reject them as “no better that the previous application” and push to revert to the old familiar application. There are many reasons why implementations result in poor user acceptance or outright failure but generally it comes down to a lack of communication regarding what the end-user really needs or expects and inadequate training provided on the new software. For example, the ability to generate reports in the format needed is a common complaint when transitioning to a new application.
The costs of a failed or abandoned implementation for an organization are enormous as measured by the amount of time invested, cost of software and lost productivity. On the flip side, vendors also want customers to successfully implement their SaaS applications. Time and expense is invested by the vendor who goes through the sales, implementation and support cycles. Customer satisfaction and the vendor’s reputation are inextricably linked and it’s important to the vendor’s long-term success and growth of its business to have satisfied customers.
Learn how ChangeGear raised the bar for IT Change Management and how it helps to increase business agility!
It’s safe to say that neither party invests its time and effort to have an implementation fail during the “home stretch” of the project. So, the critical question is what steps are necessary to ensure that end users will accept, adopt and use new applications? Several key factors are critical to consider for a successful roll-out.
End User Expectations
High-level user requirements are often put together quickly and don’t adequately reflect the detailed day-to-day workflow and needs of end-users. For example, will all data contained in the old system be available in the new system and will the new system be able to generate reports that are needed? It’s important to include key stakeholders up front and throughout the process so that needs are identified, product demonstrations delivered and questions and concerns addressed. Careful planning and attention to details goes a long way to achieving end-user buy-in and acceptance of the new application.
On the job end user training is often used to save time with the belief that end users will figure out how to use the new application on the fly. This can lead to user frustration and dissatisfaction because individuals learn and adapt at different speeds and in different ways. Some people lean quickly in a hands-on manner but others learn through auditory and visual methods. Understanding this and taking the time to create varied and effective training can make or break an implementation.
The key takeaway is that it’s critical to include key stakeholders including end users in the research, planning and implementation phases of the project and to ensure that adequate training and support is provided before going live. A successful implementation will be reflected by high user adoption rates of the new application.