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FYI Solutions Blog

Feb 26, 2013

User Adoption: The “Embrace the Burn” Approach

Author: Narisha Maduray

You wouldn’t believe the number of excuses that I get from people on why they don’t use the business analytics application that took a number of high paying information technology consultants to implement on a state of the art Business Intelligence platform customized to the very requirements that they helped define.

•  I don’t have the time.

•  I am going to use it for the next reporting period.

•  It doesn’t work for me anymore/ I have outgrown the application.

I used to separate these well-meaning excuse-makers from myself, until it dawned on me how similar my excuses were to theirs when it came to getting into shape. Not enough time in the day to get in 20 min of cardio or waiting till the weather warmed up to get to the gym.  Fooling myself into thinking that classic crunches weren’t working on my sneaky abs that were immune to the old school winner.

In learning to love exercise, I have devised three ways to cultivate a strong and healthy appetite for users adopting business analytics capabilities.

Warm Up

Determine how the communication strategy will be implemented.

Invest time in a communications game plan to identify what message(s) to communicate, to what audience, via what channels, and at what time.

E-Learning technologies have made the delivery of consistent messages via video recordings appealing to a diverse audience. It is impractical to put key resources into 1 day training sessions. It takes a comfortable 1 hour to create an online training course. The content can be accessed by a user at his/her convenience, pausing when necessary to fight the occasional fire and then seamlessly returning to a topic.



Embrace the burn

Ensure that training materials for the business analytics capability created are in line with end user needs and stakeholder expectations.

Identify a set of users that represent the target audience. Take them through the material in an interactive setting conducive to feedback and open discussion.

Provide ongoing support of the training program post-roll-out. Attendees on training courses are required to complete evaluation forms after each course. Online training easily facilitates the capture of feedback electronically.

Efficient responses to recommendations in conjunction with analysis of other metrics in feedback forms are vital to assuring users that their comments really do matter.

Facilitators are well poised in training sessions to tap into the pulse of what end users want. It’s the perfect forum to gauge sentiment and introduce new capabilities at the right time to keep them coming back for more.  A true opportunist may even test if the existing specifications meet the current requirements.  Allow time for these probing tangents and then rein in the participants in a timely manner.  Tread carefully, but this will make inroads in stakeholder buy in and end user adoption.


Cool Down

Ultimately, the benefits of embracing the burn will win. Reduce stress, improve focus, and look fantastic.

A feeling of elation surfaces when a project sponsor can quantify the positive return on investment for the business analytics initiative. It is rewarding to witness a user express excitement in being part of a solution that positively affects the decision making process.  The journey of assisting users to realize these benefits starts with a solid communications strategy, evolving training material, and proactive facilitators.


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