How to Build an Adoption Plan for Success

People are confronted with questions all the time, some as simple as “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” and others not so simple like “who owns software adoption?” All sarcasm aside, these two questions are related as they both apply to the world of SaaS.

In order to drive business value, an organization needs to adopt its new software quickly and use it as designed and intended. Not a lot of argument there. But, what comes before the adoption is critical to adoption happening at all, hence the chicken and the egg question.

Machines don’t adopt software, people do. In order for that to happen, an organization needs an actual written plan that maps objectives, timelines, and goals. It needs to map the changes in behaviors people need to make to adopt the new software and do so efficiently in the timeframe desired.

Let’s look at what we call “The 4+1 Keys to successful software adoption” where we point out those critical concepts needed for successful software adoption outcomes:


Key # 1: Software adoption is all about your people, not IT systems:

Let’s take Key #1 as a fundamental. For years most firms saddled IT with what was “adoption”, but was really “build it and they will come”. It was a passive and largely inefficient approach to get people to change behaviors and switch how they did their day to day jobs. Many times, it was really not successful.

“Machines don’t adopt software, people do.” IT does not own adoption because it can’t. IT is awesome at getting systems live, keeping them that way, and making sure that things work as intended. It’s more than a full-time job and does not involve identifying human bottlenecks in an organization that wishes to resist change.

Software adoption is a people issue, it’s that simple, and it’s all about getting people to identify and embrace new behaviors that will increase business value achieved with the new software.

Key #2: Software adoption needs a clear & transparent plan before, during and after Go-Live

When your organization is planning to launch a new major software purchase, everyone owes it to themselves, particularly the key stakeholders, to begin the software adoption planning process early.

Very early.

Very early, as in during the software selection process, and most definitely well before go-live. All 4+1 Keys are actively and effectively addressed in the planning processes. No two plans are the same, and that’s why the 4+1 Keys are so important to the overall process.

Adoption planning is more that application training and communications. Since a software change is expected to increase efficiency and create tangible business value, an adoption plan needs to identify opportunities and obstacles to success. These can exist at many levels, and the work needs to be done to identify and catalog how each opportunity and obstacle should be addressed, and by whom.

The adoption plan needs to be very transparent so that the entire organization affected by the new software is fully briefed and onboard with what the plan is and how it will affect them.