Technology alone is not the key to business success. Technology adoption is. Investments in technology — especially software — only create the potential for employees and businesses to perform with greater productivity. Users must work with that technology properly, and with regularity, to realize its true potential.

Too often, only a small group of users adequately utilize a software’s solution capabilities. The organization pays for capability that goes to waste. It doesn’t take much for a software program to show value.

If usage expands to 40 to 50 percent of a software program’s features, organizations can see a dramatic improvement. Those advancements continue if the software includes features that contribute to primary business goals such as higher employee productivity, improved customer satisfaction or more effective mitigation of regulatory risk.

That’s why any organization intent on success in today’s increasingly digital marketplace should optimize its investments in software technology with rightsized investments in software adoption.

Moving the Needle

Decades of experience with software deployment prove that organizations can substantially improve software penetration. Here are a few basic techniques on how that can be done:

Directed coaching. Increasingly, developers go to great lengths to make software easy to use. Because of this, we often assume users don’t need any training. Even an easy-to-use feature can remain underutilized if users don’t understand why they should use it. Implementing a good software adoption program highlights high-value features so they aren’t neglected due to inadequate awareness.

QuickStart and Keep Going Guides. Microsoft QuickStart Cards and Brainstorms help users understand all of a solution’s most important features and functions. Once users achieve that baseline competency, organizations should provide a Keep Going guide that encourages users to explore still more of the software’s potential value.

Gamification. Most people enjoy contests, and they love to win — even if the prize is more valuable symbolically than economically. By turning software acceptance into a contest, organizations can significantly increase usage while bringing a welcome note of fun into the workplace.

Management leadership. Line-of-business managers rarely participate in the software adoption process — even though they can push users to the technology with a simple email or announcement at a team meeting. By letting potential users know that adoption matters, managers can nurture behaviors that help optimize return on investment in the technology.

Of course, every organization is different. Organizations must choose the techniques that best fit their objectives, structure and culture. Intentional actions can affect software adoption. Without those actions, real application of these solutions gets left to chance.

For more on how to get users to adopt technology, check out this video.

Why It’s Worth It

Pushing software adoption can feel like one more unwelcome item on a manager’s to-do list. While easy to overlook, software adoption efforts can:

  • Empower employees to increase productivity, giving them more time for higher-value tasks
  • Boost organizational performance in ways that improve key productivity indicators, ranging from quarterly revenue to long-term customer retention
  • Increase technology ROI by ensuring an organization consistently gets value out of software investments
  • Enhance organizational agility by accelerating the speed with which new software capabilities can be brought on board
  • Strengthen employee engagement by promoting continuous improvement of everyone’s digital skills

Best of all, an ounce of adoption can deliver a pound of business impact. That’s because software adoption programs enable organizations to achieve benefits without excessive effort or cost. IT decision-makers should strongly consider integrating software support activities into every new and existing implementation.

Applications are only valuable to businesses if users take full advantage of them — otherwise, investments go to waste. Learn how to make the most out of your software purchases and check out this BizTech Magazine article for more information.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for the CDW Solutions Blog monthly e-newsletter to stay on the cutting edge of tech news.