A is for Adoption

One of the wonderful aspects of my role is the interaction with customers and specifically the varied conversations which I encounter.  The spectrum is broad, and can range from disgruntled to energized.  But in every interaction I cherish the opportunity to learn more about how we can improve.  Sometimes the improvements are obvious: Fix this; stop doing that; increase communication here; explain what happened there.  But human nature is such that the improvements are not always so obvious – there are always two sides to a story; moreover there are often mitigating circumstances or dependencies, unforeseen consequences.  And, most importantly the things we learn come down to changes which often impact people. Changing mindsets, behaviors, culture – well let’s face it, how hard can that be? 

In recent times, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a number of our customers that form our Customer Advisory Board.  What can I learn from these conversations?  Well, as we talk we often explore how SugarCRM is being used within their respective organizations.  One topic keeps coming up.  There is a pattern that emerges, and it centers on the “A” word – that’s right, I’m talking about “Adoption”.  There isn’t an customer I know who has not encountered their fair share of Adoption Blues.  And the main thing I have learnt is … that most of us are in the same boat.  Namely, we get super excited about implementing a new system that is going to revolutionize how we do business, we launch, and then wonder why users don’t rush to embrace the changes we want them to adopt.

Adoption is not a walk in the park, but the second thing I have learnt by talking with different customers is that there is a path.  And, the best part is … you already know the answer.  There are several mechanisms which make up a classic change management strategy, but to short circuit the process, here are some basics:

  1. Set a vision/goal and be sure to communicate why you are doing this (regularly)
  2. Make sure everyone can see how their part fits into a bigger picture
  3. Communicate with everyone. Do it often – then repeat
  4. Publish small bite size tips
  5. Vary how you communicate.  Set up webinars; lunch&learns; use newsletters; run surveys; use collaboration chat rooms (e.g. Slack / MS Teams)
  6. Don’t be afraid to publish short videos.  Maybe look at self-help tools like Walk.me or Pendo guidance
  7. And.. enlist super-users or ambassadors.  Amplify your message

Stay tuned, you can expect to see more information, tools, tips and resources from Sugar to help you with adoption.

  • Haha - god point I've set up myself up for a bright blogging future :-)

  • Great post! I like the point about varying communication modes. Having a comms strategy can feel obvious, but it is less obvious to acknowledge that people are more/less receptive in different channels - reflecting our learning preferences and where our attention is... its just so human to miss things in an email even if its blasted several times.

    Particularly rate the usage of lunch&learns - but am curious - what sort of experience everyone has had with running these types of sessions virtually? Real time+visual is a great way to validate if people are actually "getting it", and many change management strategies are too focused on one-way communication - and hence miss this.

    PS , if A is for Adoption, what does B stand for? I look forward to the rest of your 26-part series Slight smile