User Adoption is One Click Away, The First Ten Things approach

Study after study will tell us that half of all CRM implementations will be viewed by their organization as a failure.  These studies then tell us the main reason for these failures is the lack of "user adoption".  What exactly does user adoption mean?  According to Wikipedia, adoption deals with the transfer between an old system to a target system within an organization.  In my experience, I have found that true user adoption can often be difficult.  One of the more challenging experiences I have had when it comes to adoption was working through an implementation where systems, CRM included, were often seen as disjointed and misaligned with business process.

THE SCENE

There we were, at the 11th hour, running through our “Go-Live” checklist dotting the i’s and crossing all our t’s.  We were huddled in “The War Room” with just about anyone and everyone whom had played a hand during our implementation up to that point, when finally our VP of Sales and Project Sponsor asked THE question.  Anyone who has been around a CRM or any software rollout in general has asked him or herself this exact question before – “Will the users use it? Will they LOVE it?”  The panic, the blank stares, the “we hope so”, they were all there when we finally agreed collectively that we needed to break this down and get an approach. 

It was time to get creative, we had to get creative.  Everyone in the room was asked to write down 3 things they thought were imperative for system success as well as three things that could doom our rollout.  The idea, of course, was to avoid anything on the second list, while hitting a bunch of bingos on the first.  We chalked about 25 different ideas for system success on the board and then did our best to enumerate their importance and priority.  The results were… Interesting.  This was a cross-sectional group of all levels and areas of the organization so we expected a variety of results but the variance is not what caught my attention.  Simply, it was the term that was on everyone’s list – it has to be EASY.  This actually caught all of our attention and at what seemed like the most inopportune time, we were questioning our mindfulness to keep it simple for the user.  We felt like we had done a great job of keeping our user interfacing elements, like forms and views, designed with the audience in mind.  We had quality integrated data and great documentation, but it did feel like we were missing something.  What was the direction?  Where was our sales force supposed to start?  We looked over our documentation and training materials, then it hit us.  We needed to give our user the direction, and that direction would be one place to do “The First Ten Things”.  

We grouped 80% of the system functionality into ten distinct scenarios, "The First Ten Things".  We would then use these ten scenarios as a starting point to guide users throughout the system.  Agreeing on the First Ten  was a challenge, but once we had that, we were off.  We decided that a dashboard to put these First Ten one click away was the next logical step and that is exactly what I want to share with the blogosphere.  By putting together a quick  “Launchpad”, we were able to drive user adoption by putting the ten most common scenarios in our CRM one click away for the user.  We also found that this increased use and adoption in things NOT in the First Ten, mostly because our users were now focused on doing these big scenarios in the system.   We made it easy.

LP

 

THE SOLUTION

I would never condone adding a last minute requirement 3 days before you go-live but this was an exception.  We built a compartmentalized dashboard in a few easy steps utilizing CRM 2011’s web resource functionality.  Here’s how:

  1. Our base html web resource is the actual landing page.  When we put this together, the "Metro" look had just been released and we wanted to utilize that look and feel for the LaunchPad.  It would be responsive, yet look very "simple".  This landing page html would have our ten compartments for each button (the links have been removed from the code below for anonymity).  Each button is circled in a different color.Landingpageresource
  2. Our second web resource was a JavaScript library that we referenced in the HTML landing page.  This script contained all of the functions for launching our First Ten, including:
    1. Creating a Prospect – This snippet opens a new customer window: NewProspect
    2. Update Opportunities – This snippet opens up a list of the users opportunities in a new window:  Updateopps
    3. Open SAP GUI – This snippet opens a SAP GUI in a new window:  OpenSAP
  3. The last step was to nest it on a dashboard.  We created a new system dashboard with a web resource as the only component with the landing html page as the resource. Webresourcedb

We ran the finished product by our core project team with stellar results barring a few tweaks.  After making the last minute changes, the dashboard was ready to rock and that is exactly what it did.  One other design note that I would like to emphasize is the importance of a compartmentalized approach due to the ever changing scenarios in the First Ten.  For example, one of the original ten was the ability to quickly leave feedback or a functionality request (which we did within CRM) so we had a button that drove us to that form.  After a few months, that button was used less frequently so we dropped in a new button, which would be used much more often (opened the newly developed sales pipeline report).  With the compartmentalized approach, that can be a very simple task.

THE RESULT 

In short, we knocked it out of the park.  User adoption was increased; the buy-in and purpose for our system as a whole were off the charts.  The system perception changed from a business tool (which it still was) to our daily starting point (which was exactly our goal). 

Now this is by no means a tell all story about user adoption or how to maximize your system love, there are plenty of other factors that should be planned and executed way before the 11th hour.  Proper requirements gathering, system vision and strategy alignment, documenting your expected adoption, and road mapping a plan on how to get there (among other things) are far more critical to a project’s success. However, this was a nifty trick that may just move you from good to great with your implementation.