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I.T are you eggsasperated by a lack of user adoption? Talk to HR this Easter

A useful blog for I.T types, detailing some ways HR can help drive greater user adoption.

Imagine the scene. You’re the last I.T expert in the office before the holiday exodus and you’re looking forward to dinner. Then the emails come in.

The CFO’s reconciling his budget, and wants to know why only two people use that £5k workflow app. The CEO’s released his seasonal message on your collaboration platform, and wonders why nobody has watched it. The Sales Director’s pulled off a report, and asks why the figures seem massively skewed. You need to apply patches to twelve company laptops… all sitting unloved in desks, whose users “upgraded” to their own machines.

That’s why “user adoption” is a misnomer. Users love adopting things. The trouble is they don’t always adopt what you want. And that’s why Easter, for the average I.T department, isn’t always a holiday.

The spectre of shadow IT

The rise of shadow I.T is well documented. But it doesn’t have to hinder your goals. With the help of the Human Resources Department, it can assist them.

81% of workers admit using shadow I.T apps.

That’s right. HR can be I.T’s biggest friend. Because you’re both interested in making people perform better.

So before you settle into a feast of roast chicken and chocolate eggs, think about these discussion points… and consider raising them with HR.

Discussion 1: The “everyone’s bringing their own device” discussion

All managers like to feel in control. And often, they try to control the devices their employees connect to the network. But in a world where everyone owns a dozen gadgets for communicating and consuming information, controlling technology choices is a losing battle.

Nine out of ten enterprise CIOs consider shadow I.T a security risk.

So why not sidestep the battle… by not entering the battlefield?

Great I.T policy takes account of every worker wanting to use his own devices. It can lead to better work, lower IT expenditure, and greater creativity. And where there’s policy definition required you need to engage HR.

Talk about how bring-your-own-device doesn’t mean lower security… as long as I.T knows about it. Are there versions of your supported software for non-standard platforms you could easily make available? Talk to HR about them.

In general the freedom to BYOD is welcomed by job applicants – which gets everyone, not just the tech-savvy Millennials, on your side.

Discussion 2: The “stick to what we know” discussion

Sometimes, a large investment in workflow and collaboration software needs an even larger investment in user training. Very often, employees will stick with what they know rather than adopting new tools.

Did you know 28% of IT spending happens outside the I.T Department?

Again, HR can help. The solution isn’t to outlaw unsupported tools and applications – that creates resentment. Rather, talk about how adopting the new software will help each individual’s productivity.

Ask yourself how do skills with the new software equip them for the promotion ladder? How does timely, accurate information help them make better decisions? How can using the “official” app list improve their work/life balance? HR can communicate these benefits…in language each worker understands.

Discussion 3: The “garbage-in, garbage-out” discussion

Information out is only as good as that which went in. If people aren’t adding the right information to your systems – an accounting app, a collaboration platform, a CRM module – it can affect the bottom line.

Adoption rates shoot up when managers trust their software applications.

Use the carrot instead of the stick, talk about how a timely entry of a sales lead led to bonuses for a whole team. Show how a weekly report gives Marketing the information to target prospects more precisely. People adopt tech much faster when they can see what’s in it for them.

Discussion 4: The “duvet days” discussion

Today’s employees love remote and flexible working options (and employers are bound by law to consider requests for them). HR needs to lead this charge to the digital workplace from the front.

The top reason for low user adoption rates is cultural, not technological.

Communication and collaboration platforms – allow individuals to work flexible, securely and productively and to keep teams connected. Proving that  days out of the office do equate to productive work time, and help your remote workers feel more connected to their teams.

So talk about these options. VPNs can turn countless devices, company-owned or employee-owned, into secure collaboration platforms. Embrace this flexibility and you’ll see adoption rates skyrocketing.

Emerging from the cave

Engagement and adoption rates are becoming a shared agenda for both IT and HR. Who knows, HR might even buy you an Easter Egg.

Takeaways:

  • Barriers to adoption are mostly cultural – HR can help solve them
  • Shadow IT like BYODs and SaaSs can be an asset, not a liability
  • 28% of IT spending happening outside the IT dept means a lot of unauthorised apps
  • Embracing shadow IT rather than shunning it can attract the best Millennial staff

Discover how to manage and empower your remote workforce while driving user adoption in our eGuide bundle, specially designed for I.T managers like you. Download I.T’s Connected Business Bundle now.

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About the author

Ryan O'Reilly is a progressive, visionary leader with 16 years operational experience of managing technical departments, deploying carrier grade IT and Telecommunication infrastructures and delivering world class hosting solutions. Ryan has proven success in defining operational and technical rollout strategies and leading high performance teams to exceed company objectives in highly pressurised, high pace working environments.

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