New tech on the block: 5 steps to drive technology adoption across the business

    October 26, 2023

    Human beings are creatures of habit. We like what we know, and we don’t like having to change our routines. 

    This is why technology adoption can prove challenging for many organizations.

    A new technology – whether it’s a new digital shelf tool or something as simple as opening email for the first time – always means change. There is a learning curve: we have to learn to use the tool before we can extract value from it. 

    At times, this can seem more trouble than it’s worth. Especially at the beginning, new users often go through a rough patch where change feels like a lot of hard work without producing compelling results – yet.

    One of the main objectives of any technology adoption program, therefore, is to push users through that rough patch so they can see results as quickly as possible. Momentum is key: a slugging rollout will keep teams in a state of limbo where the old ways of working always seem like the easier option.

    Based on our experience of onboarding thousands of users to new digital shelf and ecommerce tools,  here are 5 proven steps to help companies drive technology adoption across the organization.

    Step 1: Assessment and alignment

    Successful tech adoption starts with a clear view of the status quo and the goals the organization is working toward. It’s essential that all stakeholders understand why they are being asked to change their ways of working. 

    Companies will sometimes buy an expensive piece of technology and not communicate the expectations to their users of how long it will take them to learn to use the new tech, or why a new tool is being introduced in the first place. This is a recipe for failure.

    When articulating goals, be explicit: spell out the limitations of the current tech stack, pinpoint what the new technology will enable the organization to do that it cannot do today, and explain how and why this will help it succeed.

    Above all, don’t be tempted to skip or rush this step. Assessment and alignment may not feel as ‘meaty’ as some of the later, more implementation-focused steps, but this is where you lay the foundations for tech adoption success.

    Step 2: Education and training

    Users will need guidance and training to help them get the most out of new technology. When planning to introduce new tools, make sure you – and your provider of choice – have dedicated sufficient resource to get people to use them and drive value. 

    Crucially, be realistic about the timescales involved. The time to get to value with digital shelf tools is very quick, but they contain a lot of information – it may take weeks for a user to become a full expert. 

    In our experience, it’s best to start with some intensive bursts of training to create a baseline of understanding and build from there. We typically provide 2-4 hours of focused training to get users up to speed on basic functionality, so they can start driving value straight away. 

    After that, we work with individual teams and users to identify common use cases and teach them how to utilize the new tools for those. The training and education can be fairly light-touch at this stage. A few hours a month are enough to ensure your teams are successfully integrating the new technology into their everyday routines. Need a refresher on a digital shelf analytics feature? Our platform includes rich eLearning capabilities that can be easily accessed by platform users. 

    Having said that, you do need to carve out some time. We’re all busy people – if you want users to learn a new tool, you need to make sure you’ve freed up time for them to do so.

    Step 3: Pilot implementation

    Smart piloting is critical when introducing any new technology. Before committing to a rollout at scale, pick a few select areas and use cases to test the new tool, identify potential challenges, and verify that you can get the value you need from it.

    The focus at this stage is often solely on technical capability, but do take the opportunity to test education and training materials if you can.

    It is useful to get early feedback from users on how useful and intuitive they find the training offered by your provider, so adjustments can be made where required.

    Step 4: Feedback and iteration

    Once the pilot has been completed, collate feedback on what has and hasn’t worked, where the challenges are, and what changes need to be made to ensure the technology is deployed successfully. 

    The key priority at this stage is to identify challenges and/or requirements that are unique to your organization, so the provider can tailor a solution that’s right for you and your teams.

    Again, while technical capability is understandably the focus here, do try to gather feedback on the support, guidance, and education supplied by your technology provider. 

    Where possible, this should include feedback on the training formats being offered – are your teams getting the right mix of classroom-based training, self-learning tools, and written materials? Do you need to increase training resources in certain areas? 

    Step 5: Scalable deployment

    With piloting, feedback, and iteration completed, the new technology is ready to be rolled out across your organization

    Pace and focus are essential at this stage. At the end of the day, the technology you have bought is not a solution for one team – its success depends on the entire organization getting on board and using it.

    Once the technology has been rolled out, it is also important to measure how successfully your organization has adopted it. We recommend using several KPIs to do this.

    At a basic level, we can look at how many fundamentals within our tool are being used by your organization, and the number of active users you have for each fundamental over the course of a year. 

    But active users only tell part of the story. You don’t want to be in a situation where your teams are fiddling around with the tool all day and seeing interesting insights – but they’re not actually able to use those insights to drive value for the business. This is why we layer ROI calculations on top of active user numbers to demonstrate how much value your organization is deriving from the tool. 

    We also recommend checking back in with teams and running training refreshers at regular intervals. Not only will this keep new tools front of mind and ensure users are aware of any updates and new functionality, it will also help push your teams to the next level in terms of how they use those tools. 

    A year into rolling out a new technology, your organization is likely getting good results from it – regular refreshers and updates will help you turn these into great results.


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