If you are launching a digital transformation project, this post is for you. All the more so if your project is global and transversal, such as a new intranet, digital workplace or collaboration platform.
In any digital transformation initiative, success is measured first and foremost in terms of adoption. If the project gets traction, other KPIs can be brought forward to justify your ROI – productivity, time gains and so forth. But without wide and lasting adoption, none of those metrics has any real value on the enterprise scale.
So the question is: what can you do to ensure successful and lasting adoption of your tool?
In our experience, you can tackle this problem in different ways. Depending on your particular situation, you can choose one or several of the strategies that we present later.
But first, let us debunk some common myths about intranet adoption.
Common myths about adoption
Myth 1. Viral adoption
There is no such as thing as spontaneous viral adoption in an enterprise setting.
However beautiful and user friendly your tool is, or however useful, people always greet change with mistrust. In an enterprise setting, they are worried about getting it wrong and being judged. So change needs to be pushed and promoted gradually.
Myth 2. Silver bullet
There is no silver bullet solution to handle your change management and adoption.
Changing behaviours is a complicated problem and has no simple solution. In particular, the problem has no one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your particular context, you will face challenges and constraints that other companies might not have to deal with, and vice versa.
Myth 3. Adoption issues is a big company problem
There is no link between the size of your company and adoption.
Company size in itself is less a factor than the makeup of the workforce. A large company 80% filled with millennials fresh out of college might be a less challenging ground for digital transformation than a small 500-person company with senior, digitally reluctant staff.
Myth 4. My launch went great, it’s a win
There is no immediate AND lasting adoption.
The adoption curve is always bell shaped. To start, you will get a lot of hype and traction (if you manage your communication campaign well), and the curve will go up. And then, after the wow effect, the curve will always go down…. and then it should slowly climb up again. Adoption is a process. Let’s dive deeper into that.
The three stages of adoption
How can we judge the level of intranet adoption? Adoption happens gradually, in three usually successive stages:
0- No adoption
The users ignore the tool.
1- Passive consumption/participation
2- Active consumption/participation
Then users start participating in conversations. They like, they comment, they express their opinions in reaction to others’ opinions.
The final stage is when users start interacting with each other. They post their own opinions, they contribute knowledge, they create collaboration spaces and invite other users to join, and so on.
At any given point in time after your launch, your collaboration workforce’s behaviour will be spread among those types of behaviour.
For example, you can start with most people in level 1, some in level 2, and rare champions in level 3. The goal would be to gradually push people from 1 to 2 and from 2 to 3.
It is rather rare to reach a level 3 adoption for 100% of a collaboration workforce. In some contexts, you can come close. In other more challenging contexts, 50% between 1, 2 and 3 is already a huge success. Depending on your particular context, choose your own realistic goals.
The bottom line is that adoption is not easy. This realisation is the first step to a successful digital transformation initiative. So what are the common hurdles to successful intranet adoption?
Common hurdles to digital transformation adoption
Depending on your context, you might face all or some of these challenges to intranet adoption.
1- Your workforce
Your workforce can be more or less ready to embrace the change. The most common factor to consider is the generations spread within your collaboration workforce. Usually, younger more digitally savvy users will be easier to move than users in the older generations.
2- Your company culture
Your company culture may be an obstacle to overcome in your digital transformation efforts. The culture of secrecy is a pertinent example: when people equate knowledge with power, it is difficult to promote knowledge sharing digital practices.
3- Your management
A lot depends on whether your management actively supports your initiative at all levels. In practice, their involvement is one of the surest and most reliable ways to help with intranet adoption.
Let’s sum up
- Transformation is never easy – so be prepared
- Change is a gradual process – so choose realistic goals
- Identify your challenges and find strategies to address them
Always keep in mind that business value is the only thing that ensures lasting adoption.
We will dive into strategies to address adoption challenges in our next post.
Meanwhile, comments and ideas are welcome!