After the Technology adoption Matters – Part 1 post, in this article, I’m going to focus on the 2nd segment, workgroups. Workgroups can be organizationally structured (e.g., departments, geographic offices) or they can be ‘virtual’ teams of two or more individuals working collaboratively. What we’re looking at are how technology adoption requires buy-in from the groups within an enterprise that are intent on being productive and driving measurable results for specific projects.
Rhonda is a world-class seller, always on the lookout for a chance to engage her customers more effectively. Over a casual lunch with her colleague Michael, she learns that he’s been piloting their new extranet, and with IT’s help created an online site that he shares with his customers. He explains how it has allowed him to stay engaged and informed, a trusted partner in his client’s successes. Rhonda can’t wait to talk with her Business Liaison to find out more – hopefully she can decrease the number of hours spent on the road just trying to ‘stay visible’ to her customers!
Workgroups are the segment where technology (and the partners that deliver it) seems to settle, enabling small to medium groups of users that are aligned by department, geography or project. In fact, anecdotes suggest that the usage (adoption) of technology in an organization is directly related to how broadly it is used in workgroups.
The thinking is that there is a ‘tipping point’ at which the enterprise will organically embrace it and IT will make it their ‘go-to’ platform for solutions. How is this possible? The importance of having a plan for piloting how technology will be used cannot be overstated. Again, I’m amazed at how often organizations procure technology for the sake of ‘checking the box’, as if licensing is the hard work and usage will happen through osmosis.
“Orphaned Technology”: technology purchased without a plan for deployment and/or usage
Here are my 2 recommendations for encouraging workgroups in supporting and accelerating a company’s successful adoption of technology:
- Know your audience. Engage that 20% of your workgroups that drive 80% of the important metrics in the company. Encourage their participation in technology decisions, through regular collaboration on the company’s technology roadmap and prioritization of solutions. If your company has liaisons between the business units and IT, take them to lunch regularly – they are the eyes & ears of what matters most.
- Pilot technology solutions immediately after the purchase. Proof-of-Concepts are a waste of your time and money – seeing the potential is great, but do it on the vendor’s dime (i.e., pre-purchase). In fact, negotiate help with the pilot as part of the sale. Those partners that are confident in their solution will jump at the chance because they understand the long-term hook it can be.
Technology adoption at the workgroup level delivers the scale that can’t be attained focusing solely on individuals, or by reaching for the stars by targeting enterprise solutions alone. But it is important that companies and their technology partners be diligent to engage as broadly and deeply as necessary to get the impact necessary for adoption.
My hope is that what I am sharing is not so much insightful as it is practical steps that you already know are needful – my goal is to encourage you that they are paramount to the successful licensing, deployment and adoption of technology in your company.
Where I have seen companies follow these activities, the rate of adoption and the speed with with the important metrics ‘lit green’ was markedly better than those than either did nothing or tossed technology over the IT wall.
In summary, don’t underestimate the importance of engaging work groups effectively when introducing technology in the enterprise. With the right contacts and buy-in, you’ll find they will greatly influence the rate at which the company deploys and adopts the solutions that matter.