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Going viral: influencing solution adoption


The modern conundrum. A business is facing a complex challenge, a need to transform productivity, reduce costs or drive sales, writes Paul Morgan, chief technical officer at Decision Inc.
The result is investment into a solution which addresses this challenge using the latest analytics technology. This solution is then rolled out across the company to much business applause. It is going to revolutionise the way things are done. It will cut task time in half.
It doesn’t.
Uptake is scattered, disengaged and low. Users rarely engage with the system and it slowly gathers corporate cobwebs, visited only by the few who recognise its value. Companies have to find new ways of igniting employee engagement and increasing the adoption of business intelligence (BI) solutions otherwise they will continue to be a costly investment with low percentage pay-off.
Organisations spend millions building solutions which use the best technologies and provide fantastic visualisation tools, and then their employees don’t use them, but prefer Excel instead. Then, six months down the line, the business wonders why nobody has adopted the system and what’s gone wrong.
This issue doesn’t generally exist in transactional systems, such as Finance and Payroll. There are no alternatives for these users – they have to adopt the system or no work can be done at all.
In the BI world, an adoption rate of 20% is considered high. This is an unacceptably low return, especially in light of the investment and effort spent on establishing the solution and maintaining it.
The question that needs to be asked is – how can BI solutions tap into the successes of viral videogames and ‘go viral’ in an organisation? How can they catch that emotive and addictive nature of games and capture user attention, but within a business context?”
There are a number of approaches currently being assessed in terms of creating viral-type solutions for organisations. One of the most predominant is looking into how to change behaviours. How to engage with people on a behavioural level by focusing on the elements of behaviour change and the core motivations that surround it. The BJ Fogg Behaviour Model focuses on Motivation, Ability and Triggers as the primary elements of behaviour change; and time, money, effort, cycles, deviance and routine as the core motivators. If a solution is easy and users have the ability to do it, if they feel motivated to do it and there is a trigger attached to its success, then it is very likely to succeed.
The organisation needs to establish what reason an employee has to use the system – does it save them time, does it offer unique insights into a problem, or does it help identify where money could be saved? The employee has to understand the value they are getting from using it.
The system also has to be easy to use, and there must be enough training so employees feel like they know how to take advantage of it and are not intimidated. If it is too complex or too slow, motivation and ability will be non-existent. Finally, there needs to be a trigger. BI solutions are generally not used constantly, so employees have to be reminded of the benefits on an ongoing basis and inspired to keep on using the solution regularly. Otherwise the system may just end up being forgotten.
BI project teams should fine tune their implementation strategy in order to boost engagement beyond that 20% mark. Often decisions around new solutions are made at the top and filtered down to the rest of the organisation. People are not engaged in its arrival from the start, but if there is buy in from users at the start of a new project, then motivation will already be high.
If you want to change people’s perceptions of a system, continuously explain the reasons why it should be used and open up discussions throughout the process. This kind of social engagement is also part of the hook for many successful modern games. By inspiring people through motivational reward, they will feel as if they are part of a community and they will be more inclined to inspire others.
There could be a points system which encourages people to take part, perhaps nominating the best person to take the lead and head up the community. If you can build a solution which captures attention and heart, then you’re off to a viral winning start.