The critical role that adoption plays in the success of your cloud reporting



In this post I am focussing on the importance that user adoption has within any business as they look to make an organisational system change, such as moving your reports from an excel spreadsheet to a cloud based BI tool.


Why is user adoption so important?

Let’s be clear, people inherently don’t like change. People like knowing what they’re doing and the comfort that having that knowledge gives them.


If you put yourself in an unfamiliar situation then the normal reaction is not to like it and want to return back to a more comfortable one. Asking employees to change a system, affecting how they conduct their daily jobs, is the same.


If people aren’t told what changes are coming, and things are just thrust upon them then they tend not to like it. Some things we just have to get on with, such as the rather turbulent 2020 we are enjoying, whilst others we have a choice to go back to what we know and prefer, like your brand of bread not being available in your local store.


If you tell someone that the change is coming then they can prepare, they can learn to adapt to the change and be less resistant to what the future is going to hold.


Remember this too, if you don’t have your team using the tools that you have invested in, how are you going to get the expected return on the investment?


Have a plan

Developing a plan for user adoption within your team can help them navigate the changes that you are asking them to undergo. This means that not only will they feel supported and informed, but they will be much more open to the change that is coming.


The plan for user adoption is about features and benefits, its about spreading the word, and providing as much information as possible ahead of a launch and keeping that going once you have launched.


When it comes to launching a new BI tool into your business its likely that the main barriers that you will need to overcome to achieve adoption are around the fear of moving away from a tool like excel, that they know and feel familiar with, to a cloud based system that they have never seen and works in a very different way.


The plan that you make needs to overcome these fears and ensure that your team is comfortable with the change, as shoving down their throats just isn’t going to work.


Provide good communication

One of the keys to a good level of user adoption is communication. This is about telling people that the change is coming, that you are moving away from their normal excel reporting and into a cloud based BI system. This communication needs to take different forms and should be focussed on building excitement within your business.


Using posters, email newsletters, internal social media, webinars and even town halls can help prepare people for the changes. The right communication will help build excitement and therefore lower the resistance that comes with not knowing.


It’s not all about you

For me, one of the biggest things that you should communicate is that this change isn’t about your business, that it isn’t about cost savings or efficiencies that most people don’t see. The communications should focus on the benefits to them and how they operate.


Being focussed on how transitioning your reporting from Excel to a Business Intelligence tool is going to save your operations team time in updating the reports is an easy sell. They will be on board quickly.


But the people that use the reports for analysis, for the day to day tracking of their KPI’s need a different message. They don’t know and, in many cases, don’t care how long the reports take to update and to them this isn’t a good enough reason for moving away from what they are used to.


For these end users you will need to tell them how the new cloud reporting will save them time in accessing the data, how they can access their reports anywhere, or how they will be able to get to what they need to quicker and easier than they could before.


Talking about the benefits that matter to each of your departments and to each of the job roles will help bring everyone board. If you only focus on the benefits for one team or one area of the business, then you will risk alienating others and risk having lower adoption from them


Find your super users

Having super users across your business helps adoption by having people who not only act like cheerleaders shouting about how good the system is, but can also act as go to people for questions or tips that others may have.


These super users should cover a range of job roles and a range of departments. The wider the spread of super users across your organisation the more voices in different places will be singing the praises of the transition and the more likely others are to adopt the change.


Be sure to give the more visibility of the adoption plan so that they can help communicate the right messages on behalf of your project team.


Training isn’t just for the launch

Training is one of the most important parts to your user adoption plan. Training your team on not just how to use their new reports, but the benefits of the new tools as you do it will allow them will allow them to not just learn the functionality but also why the new functionality matters to them.


Training is much more than simply proving training at the point of launch. For strong user adoption the training and information needs to be continuous. The continued use of ‘lunch and learn’ sessions or drop in sessions will provide your teams with time that they can come along and ask their questions or pick up new tips that they didn’t get out of their initial training.


If you think about when you get a new phone, someone will show you how to set it up and you can make calls, send messages, and look at your social media. But its only after you have used the phone for a while that someone may point out to you a new feature that would interest you. The feature was always there, but it wasn’t something that you needed to know or wanted to use at the beginning.


Thinking about how your team will pick up the tricks and tips in the second and third phase of your new reporting solution will help increase adoption and ultimately get more out of the initial investment that you put into the system.


Up Next

In the next part of our Cutting the Cord series we are going to be looking at ‘How to save hours with automation’.

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