Are you planning to implement, have begun implementing or are currently managing an enterprise software solution for your company?
Maybe it’s a Digital Asset Management, Work Management, Marketing Resource Management or ERP solution. In fact, it really doesn’t matter what type of solution it is. My advice, regardless of where you are on your solution management journey, is to “Think Like a Marketer” and weave that mindset throughout the fabric of your solution management team and service delivery model. By doing so, you will ensure you get to your destination with all users and stakeholders on board. Why? Because to be successful you’ll need user adoption, and marketers are all about “user adoption.”
From a marketer’s perspective, adoption occurs when their target audience buys their company’s product or services, uses it to solve their problem, becomes a brand ambassador and evangelizes that product/service to others. And this is exactly what you want your users and business stakeholders to do.
A Marketer’s Objective #1: get the target audience to buy their company’s product or services
Your users don’t actually “buy” anything (with their own dollars), but you do want them to “buy-in” to the solution value proposition. Their currency isn’t money, it’s their time, and we all know time is money. You want your users spending their time leveraging that solution to support the company’s business goals and objectives. Adoption may be targeted at the end users, but user adoption (or lack of) rolls directly up to the solution business owner and business stakeholders at the speed of light and they are spending real dollars (software licenses, hosting, consulting fees and ongoing support). Yes, competitive threats do exist, and the business can decide to switch platforms, solution partners and project team members.
Define your target audience, segment that audience into the different personas, understand their problem and align each unique value proposition’s messaging to the right persona and your customer acquisition and retention machine will be on track and headed in the right direction. Think Like a Marketer.
A Marketer’s Objective #2: get the target audience to use their company’s product/services to solve their problem
Software solutions are implemented for the sole purpose of solving business problems. Getting your users to “buy-in” to the value proposition of the solution is step number one, but it does not equate to getting them the use the system or use the system as intended throughout the life of the solution. To achieve this, you must enable you users. User enablement is not a “one and done” tactic. User enablement requires an ongoing consistent feed of communication, training and support throughout the life of the solution. I emphasized “throughout” because change happens and will happen throughout the life of your solution. Platforms change, your solution will change, new users will be onboarded, existing user’s responsibilities change, and business objectives change. This element of change produces cracks & gaps that become solution usability barriers for your users. Your job (if you want “off-the-chart” user adoption) is to fill those gaps and keep you users aligned to their solution. Think Like a Marketer.
A Marketer’s Objective #3: get the target audience to become brand ambassadors and evangelize the product/service to others
News flash: no one will embrace and evangelize a solution that doesn’t measure up to the promise. Thinking like a marketer after rollout won’t help you one bit if the design or functionality of the solution isn’t aligned to the user’s needs. But you can avoid this outcome by thinking like a marketer during the planning and design of your solution prior to rolling it out. The total cost of ownership to implement and manage the ongoing day-to-day operational activities is very significant and it’s critical you identify and understand that cost during the initiative planning phase. Regardless of where you are on your solution management journey you should always have a running three year financial forecast of the total cost of ownership along with the projected savings (return on investment). I guarantee, by doing so, you will view your initiative from the lens of a business initiative rather than the lens of a technology initiative. Give the keys to the business and leverage the supporting technology and solution partners to help guide the business on their solution management journey. Think Like a Marketer.
At EMMsphere we believe there are three guiding principles you must understand and follow if you want to establish, nurture and grow user adoption within your enterprise solution community.
- Adoption cannot be mandated or pushed onto users
- Adoption happens when users demand the solution and can’t imagine doing their job without it
- Adoption happens when users willingly embrace, utilize & evangelize the solution
At Emmsphere, Everything We Do Is About User Adoption
EMMsphere has been helping organizations select, implement, support and optimize their DAM, marketing resource management and work management solutions for over 18 years. EMMsphere is headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC.