It’s no different in the IT world. In this blog post, Annemieke Matyas, Business Consultant at Ctac, explains why paying attention to user adoption is so important.

Start with the end in mind

Stephen Covey refers to Seneca’s statement in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. According to him, one of the seven things that will make you more effective is the habit of starting with the end in mind. In IT people often think that the project ends the moment the metaphorical switch is thrown. You build a system and then one day, it’s all finished. Then you flick the switch, and if nothing breaks down, the project is successful. But we believe that life is rather more complex. IT is a means to achieving an end. That goal is to add value to your business. And you don’t do that by flicking a switch. You only added value once your people are happy with the new environment, are able to find their way round it with ease, and feel that it has helped them.

When is a project successful?

Before you start a project, it is therefore important to agree when the project qualifies as successful. That should have nothing to do with technology, but everything to do with business objectives and user satisfaction. If you formulate these objectives as SMARTly as possible, there is a much greater chance that the project will truly be a success. If you don’t do so, you’ll have dissatisfied users who have had an application forced down their throats that makes them unhappy and – worse still – that they ignore.

The trio of project management, change management and sponsorship

You need to invest more time in setting the objectives up front and thinking about what steps are needed to achieve these objectives. This requires good cooperation between project management, which is responsible for the switch; change management, which focuses on the users; and sponsorship, the advocates for the change. At Ctac, we are a fan of the Prosci® change management methodology. This evidence-based methodology offers a results-oriented approach to achieving the desired business objectives. By making your users aware of the positive things that the changes will bring them, you can get them on board for the whole journey. That’s rather different from focusing on the technology and just looking at whether the bits and bytes add up.

Promoting collaboration in practice

For example, we assisted with an adoption process for a customer who had already made the move to Office 365 (with another partner). The switch was already made, but only to Exchange Online, so what next?  We organised a Route365 Cooker workshop with the champions, who represented the business side. Following the workshop, we were able to set up basic work agreements. Things like: Which app do you use when? How do we collaborate on documents within our organisation? Things that have nothing to do with technology, but with how to use it and how to promote cooperation. We also helped this customer with a communication plan that was in line with Prosci®-ADKAR principles. With a Big Bang, this organisation switched from an RDS environment to Office 365, with the documents in SharePoint instead of on the file server. The champions prepared their own training material based on the training and the materials we provided to them.  There have been few or no incidents. The users were well prepared, the champions were closely involved, and the changes were digestible and supported by management. Now that the foundations are in place and the change has been successful, the organisation is open to more transformation and improvements, such as automating certain tasks and workflows.


Could you use some support during the adoption of your new IT solution? We will be happy to assist you. We do this with a pragmatic approach, working in small steps. This allows us to keep encouraging users in a positive way and so maximise the chances of success. Feel free to contact me with no obligation: [email protected].