Choosing the right file-sharing solution — one that gives your users the freedom to work securely on any device, anywhere — is simple; it’s the implementation and adoption that’s hard (especially when your users are already married to legacy systems). However, with a few considerations and some foresight, you can make your end users happy while giving your organization the software update it needs.

Start by remembering this: While it’s one thing to introduce software across the business, ensuring adoption among targeted groups within the workforce is a different beast. Successful adoption hinges on the implementation process, so it’s critical to understand how each decision will affect the next. And you don’t get success without your end users. If you don’t consider the user experience, even the best solution could fail.

With this in mind, here are 5 best practices to ensure success for you, your end users and the business.

  1. Identify your goals

Before you can embark on the journey, you need a clear idea of why you need a new solution and what you hope it will achieve. The answer is key in selecting the right software for end-user adoption. Here’s why: Leadership and the employees will want to understand the decision-making behind the selected solution and how it will improve the way work gets done.

  1. Make sure end users understand the “why”

Nothing makes employees more uncertain than experiencing change and feeling like they didn’t receive adequate communication. If you think issues in this area don’t have a cost, consider this data the Holmes Report cites:

  • In a year, you could lose more than $62 million due to poor communication.
  • For productivity alone, the annual cost per worker as a result of communication errors could exceed $26,000.
  1. Meet with end users to grow organic support

Your end users are a big deal. Not only do you want them to look forward to the new product implementation, but you also want them to be cheerleaders throughout the process. Beta test with small groups to establish a feedback loop. This strategy helps ensure the final product meets their needs. It also gives them an opportunity to have a stake in achieving organizational goals.

If the crowd goes mild during adoption, the consequences could be worse than a few employees not raving about the new solution in the break room. Financial losses could climb to the hundreds of thousands. And while some employees may just decide to keep using the legacy system, others may turn in their resignation if the software misses the mark.

  1. Acquire leadership buy-in

Push for executive buy-in from the start. This step works in the same way as getting end users involved: You tailor your goals and choices before you make a final decision. Additionally, you’ll get an idea of how your objectives align with those of the organization and where it’s headed.

Keep in mind your approach to the execs shouldn’t be the same as your talks with your end users. You need to sell your idea in the business context. So use phrases like “cost-effective measure” and “saved productivity” to pinpoint issues that resonate with senior leadership while addressing end users’ concerns.

Here are a few other strategies that can help:

  • Know your audience: Before you pitch your ideas for a software upgrade, do some research on the execs who will help you get the project from start to finish. Nuance is the name of the game, and you want to have something for everyone in your pitch.
  • Let the numbers talk: Charts and graphs appear in business-centered stock photos because data is king in the real world. To illustrate and support the qualitative elements, present quantitative cost and benefits data in a way that’s both visually engaging and consumable.
  1. Look for expert-guided training

Training should be continuous. It starts during deployment and shouldn’t stop once the new technology is installed. Your end users aren’t pros just because they’ve learned a few keyboard shortcuts. With this in mind, be sure to provide multiple and ongoing training opportunities. You’ll also want to offer a variety of trainings that accommodate different learning styles. Whether your training is delivered online or in person, incorporate a combination of supplemental tools in your implementation plan to ensure a positive user experience.

Deploying new technologies is complicated and requires thorough, thoughtful planning and execution. Just remember, the success of a new product or service depends on your ability to anticipate and address the needs and behaviors of your end users. So use these tips to increase your chances of a successful rollout.

Once you have the data to prove the new product’s positive impact, you can rest assured the solution was a worthwhile investment.

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