SaaS Misconceptions

Easy to use tech guarantees success

By Andrew Barlow

There are many businesses out there who believe their new technology is so intuitive that their people will just adopt it. Of all the misconceptions that impact transformation projects, this is perhaps the most common.

The point is often made about how sites like Amazon don’t need adoption support, so why should business technologies be any different. However, I personally believe that there is a big difference between buying a book and managing enterprise-wide strategies and processes.

There is also a ‘have to vs want to’ argument. People actively engage with consumer technologies because they want to, whereas they are often forced to use business technologies because they have to.

Simple tasks like booking time off may be intuitive enough to require limited if any support, especially as most users will want to do this task. However, to consistently succeed, other complex, infrequent or less desirable processes certainly require communication, training or support.

It’s also important to remember that just because something is easy, it doesn’t mean that someone is going to do it. An example would be updating a personal employee profile with interests and contact information. This should be simple, but it’s often overlooked or ignored unless made mandatory, simply because the value to the colleague has to be clear.

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Any way you look at it, the belief that a technology’s intuitiveness can lead to universal adoption is largely not achievable in modern complex businesses.

There are many businesses that have embarked on technology transformation projects believing this misconception only for the ‘aha’ moment to hit them when adoption suffers, and they are often left without a budget to solve the issue.

We must also consider the change impact of introducing a new technology. Often, this is not just asking people to adopt a new tool. In many circumstances we are asking them to adopt a new strategy, culture or process, which often require new behaviors and skills.

The software is just one component for practitioners to consider, and it’s often the easy part. In fact, the speed of technology change is faster than the speed of behavioral change, but both are required for true digital adoption and successful transformation.

How does this impact businesses?

Even if the technology is intuitive—and let’s face it, most SaaS solutions have to be at this point—it doesn’t guarantee successful business outcomes. If this misconception makes its way into a project, it often affects the change budget itself. This often means that come launch, users don’t understand the value of the tool and don’t adopt it

And when it comes to software, adoption equals value. The higher quality adoption you have of a technology and business process, the higher value that process, technology and function bring to the business.

The common outcomes for businesses that fall foul of this intuitiveness misconception include:

  • Unhappy end users who have not had the support they need to embrace change
  • Poor adoption of their transformation initiative with no budget to solve the problem.
  • Diluted value and unachieved business outcomes from their investment.
  • The potential of their technology investment goes unrealized

To avoid falling into this, businesses need to understand the basis of change related to technology, which we’ve covered in our Six Pillars of Digital Adoption.

Understanding the difference between adoption and change management is also key. Change management is often about getting a business from a current to a desired state and managing change appropriately. This transactional point to point approach doesn’t apply to adopting technology, particularly SaaS.

Modern technologies change frequently, so getting a business from A to B very quickly changes to B to C, before moving down the rest of the alphabet. On the other hand, digital adoption is cyclical by default, with any strategy considering any post-go-live changes, such as software updates, business process changes and ongoing employee turnover.

Only once a business understands that ease-of-use is a starting point rather than a guarantee is it possible to manage a transformation and plan for digital adoption appropriately.


 

“We had to invest in understanding what it is users want to do. The same routine isn’t the same for every single person, so we had to understand what those needs are. We had to do some time management studies to see what it is those people were currently doing and where they would need help.”

Rolls-Royce’s Global Head of HRIT Solutions, Simon Barker.

Learn how to maximize the value of your applications and bring certainty to your SaaS investments. Watch our on-demand webinar with Rolls-Royce here.