How to boost technology adoption – and productivity

Technology rollouts can be highly disruptive to individuals, especially when the upgrade involves the productivity tools they use daily. A “learning path” approach can show users new and better ways to accomplish their day-to-day tasks.

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Upgrading to new applications and tools can do so much for a business. Up-to-date software can improve efficiencies and boost productivity, leading to both top-line and bottom-line gains. But getting that payoff means getting people on board with the change and comfortable with the new systems.

Unfortunately, a lot of companies struggle with this critical step.

Consider a PwC study in which 90% of executives believe their company pays attention to people’s needs when introducing new technology, but only 53% of staff members agree. Additionally, only 50% of staff members say they’re satisfied with the resources available at their company to learn how to use new technology.

Moving to a new platform or productivity suite can be highly disruptive to individuals and administrators. Often the new software is installed overnight or over the weekend, and when employees come into work the next day, they have a new system that they’re expected to start using right away.

Too often, there’s no process for helping users to understand the new functions they need for their job and how the new platform can help them. When people aren’t aware of the range of collaboration tools they have access to, they default to the programs and processes they’re already comfortable with.

Behavioral change and a baseline of training

The reality is that successful adoption of any new technology—including Microsoft 365, which brings new functionality and new ways of working—requires behavioral change and a baseline of training to ensure it’s used most effectively.

If traditional training methods – or no training at all – have hampered technology adoption at your organization, consider a new approach. For Microsoft 365, Robert Crane, principal at technology consultancy CIAOPS, recommends a “learning path” that features staged, short-burst training on each application in the suite, including showing users new and better ways to accomplish their day-to-day tasks.

Employees are likely familiar with Microsoft Office and Windows, but Microsoft 365 includes a much broader set of functionality and tools that can overwhelm users—or be ignored entirely if individuals don’t discover them on their own or know how to use them.

A typical learning path might include the following:

  • Begin with basic lessons around core functionality, such as adding an attachment or uploading a file to a shared workspace. This training, delivered in short tutorials or 2-minute videos, allows users to learn about new features or functions while still getting their work done.
  • Consider grouping these lessons by app – for example, five lessons on OneDrive, followed by five lessons on Teams, etc.
  • Next, you can provide lessons on how the apps integrate with one another. “Show them the whole environment and how all the tools work together,” says Crane. “Because they don’t know what they don’t know.”
  • More advanced training involves helping users to rethink traditional processes. For example, “you don’t want to just transfer an F drive into Microsoft collaboration solutions,” says Crane. “You need to think about what’s the best tool for the job—some of those files may go to OneDrive, others will go to SharePoint, some will go to Teams. You want to rethink and reorganize to get the most from the tools.”

While some people will be very quick to understand the value of new technology, others won’t immediately grasp it. They need to see how specific features or tools will save time and make them more productive. This type of training pays for itself by getting people working sooner and better on the new system.

Proper training “makes a big difference in getting over the initial hump,” Crane says. “I generally don’t see businesses giving their employees the time and the training to get comfortable in their new space. When they do, they start to see the benefits—and that’s when the magic happens.”

Download the Modernizing with Microsoft 365 Playbook.

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