6 months after your software project is finished, will this mistake come back to haunt you?

michael-garrett2.jpgIn HP Software Professional Services we often see situations like this: You’re rolling out new technology to customers and you’ve taken care to drive initial adoption. But as you start to get staff churn and the project’s starting to be a few months past implementation, you find yourself facing new challenges. How can your people keep their skills fresh after initial training? How do they retain knowledge of the tools and processes?

 

A year out, perhaps you’ve churned 20% of your staff, you’ve changed the system, changed your processes to meet business needs or are rolling the technology out to a new department—how do you make sure you don’t have to go back to square one? You don’t want to have to go back to your vendor, bring them in again, have people relearn the technology—not to mention spend a bunch of money doing so.

 

I’ve written before about the three keys to driving adoption. But although driving initial adoption is important, it’s just one piece of what should be an ongoing usage model.

 

4 benefits of through-life adoption planning

IT leaders make a mistake when they think that adoption matters only at implementation and shortly thereafter. In order to get the full value return from your software project, you need to consider through-life adoption and education.

 

Industry-leading IT shops recognize the value in having an ongoing education and adoption platform. With it they’re able to:

  • Increase speed of adoption
  • Improve quality of documentation as well as help with certification and training
  • Significantly reduce the cost of enablement through life, particularly when there’s staff churn or incremental roll outs
  • Reduce risk by delivering consistently across departments and regions/languages

 

You can achieve massive reductions in cost and greatly accelerate the speed of your technology projects if you have a through-life adoption plan in place. If you don’t, you’ve got a skills availability and retention problem. You’re limited to passing knowledge from father to son, so to speak, instead of having the knowledge source always there and available.

 

Start earlier, finish later

At HP we’ve started using something we call ART (Adoption Readiness Tool) that’s effectively a digital knowledge capture and transfer or adoption tool. In Professional Services we use it from the very beginning of an engagement as we develop proof of concept. We continue to use it through user training. But it’s also a tool that can be left with the client after implementation. So as customers bring on new staff or start to roll out software to new areas, they can use the tool. Likewise, it’s available to them if they make changes to the software or want to drive out skills development programs. And very importantly in today’s rapidly moving environments, it is available as an on the job performance support tool to prevent knowledge decay and improve productivity. It’s very much a lifecycle approach to adoption.

 

One of our customers, a big financial services firm, recently shared with me that they engaged with ART intending to use it for training just prior to deploying new IT management processes and tools. But they’ve found that ART is also enabling them to capture the knowledge of the consultants who are working with their business teams. The result is an interactive body of knowledge that lives on even as resources transition.

 

Most people look at adoption in terms of a fairly narrow timeframe: How do we drive training and enablement once the project is complete? But really you need to start earlier and finish later. Ideally, you start at the beginning and you never actually finish—that’s the key to deriving maximum business value from your technology investments.

 

Learn more about HP Software Professional Services.

 

Related links:

Blog post: The ART of delivering software education

Blog post: The top 3 conversations from HP Discover

Blog post: 3 key factors for successful software adoption

Blog post: You want to implement out of the box? Here’s how

Blog post: Are you setting your IT transformation up for success?

Blog post: 3 challenges that can keep you from maximising cloud benefits

Blog post: How vendor management can bring cloud success

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