A technology project is a success only when it’s well-conceived, planned, and implemented – and when the users fully adopt the new system. Adoption only happens when communication, training, and support are equally well-conceived, planned, and implemented. And with the proliferation of applications, the complexity of business processes, and more stringent requirements around information governance, security, and privacy – achieving adoption can be challenging. How can your firm derive greater value from its investments in technology? By enhancing its approach to change management and taking a goal-based approach to training. Here are some suggestions for accomplishing this objective at your firm.
Begin with the end in mind
A goal-based approach to change management is the hallmark of a successful technology project. So rather than implementing a big-bang training exercise at the end, which risks poor communication, awkward transitions, and a misalignment of goals, make training and user adoption a key component of success. From the outset of every project and into every step, think about your users, how they work, what they need to know, and how they will benefit. Change management should be a holistic program that incorporates marketing the new system, training, knowledge reinforcement, documentation, and ongoing support.
Prioritize training and user adoption
For large technology projects, a critical success factor is to get influencers and sponsors pulled in at the right times. The same holds true for training and user adoption. All supporting activities should be coordinated and integrated from the initial planning of the implementation to the final post-rollout support. Then you can be sure your whole team, including the training team, understands the business goals and user goals and how the original system has been designed to deliver them. That way, you ensure everyone is working towards the same objectives, and that nothing is lost between the design of the original system and the delivery of the training.
Clarify how you measure success
Taking a more holistic approach to change management, informed by an upfront understanding of how your key stakeholders will determine success, leads to more effective outcomes. Hence, it’s critical to identify goals, desired outcomes, and measurement criteria at the start. Communicate with key stakeholders, document the desired outcomes for those technology users, and then work towards those goals. The result of this approach is that end-user goals are explicitly tied to the firm’s business goals – which leads to much higher user adoption.
Tailor the experience to different personas
Users adopt technology when they see value in it. People will decide if they do or don’t see value in the software you’re asking them to use or the process you’re asking them to follow. It’s a personal decision made by each user. Therefore, your approach to training has to pass the “what’s in it for me?” test. By aligning training and change management to the personas in your firm and the different ways they work, you will deliver a program in which participants are more likely to see the value, use the software, and follow the new processes.
Remember that one size does not fit all personas
Training works best when it is blended so that each training objective is covered most effectively. For instance, covering the fundamentals in online learning, followed by trainer-led workshops with ongoing support tools, allows trainers to focus on the important aspects of your applications. Online learning, videos, instructor-led training, and just-in-time support will become essential parts of your user adoption strategy and facilitate the delivery of relevant training to the different personas. The trick is identifying the best blend for your firm that aligns with its culture, budget, and business objectives.
Partner with a proven provider
Driving change management and providing impactful training requires an in-depth technical understanding of the software and workflows being introduced, and then creating personas and relevant targeted training materials. In many cases, in-house training teams don’t have the time or in-depth software knowledge to do justice to the rollout of mission-critical software such as Elite 3E, Aderant Expert, and Intapp OnePlace. To guarantee the success of vital software roll outs, it is often best to outsource the change management and user adoption training to a specialized training partner. Look for a partner with a comprehensive understanding of the specific application and user workflows and a proven track record for success.
Contact us to discuss your training and change management needs and sign up to attend our upcoming ILTA product tour, taking place Dec 18 at 12 PM ET: Best Practices for Training and Adoption of Financial and Practice Management Systems. Attendees will explore best practices to be better able to:
- Identify business/user goals
- Pinpoint firm- and practice-specific workflows
- Communicate and manage change
- Identify learning objectives for different personas
- Align training to each persona and their unique workflows
- Deliver training using an appropriate blend of training methods