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    August 10, 2023

    Managing the ‘People Side’ of Change: The Importance of Adoption and Change Management (ACM) in Collaboration Technologies

    “Organizational change requires individual change”
    - Prosci 

    Let's face it: Most of us are creatures of habit, particularly where technology is concerned. Even the most tech-savvy organization or individual may sometimes find it difficult, if not downright daunting, to change the way things are done, even if the “new way” offers clear benefits that the “old way” does not.  

    This is especially true in the world of voice-to-cloud digital transformation and Collaboration Technologies, where changes often prove to be disruptive—particularly for employees in non-technical roles. For this reason, many organizations find it beneficial to work with a dedicated Adoption and Change Management (ACM) team. 

    What exactly is ACM and how will it benefit my company?  

    ACM is a critical aspect of all technology implementations, and it involves both the technical side of the project as well as the “people side.” To be successful in implementing any new technology, both the tech and the user of that tech, the human (or people) sides, must work together. If the people side is overlooked or not taken as seriously as the technical side, the overall success of the project will be impacted. 

    Success, then, starts with the end-user, the individual employee who may or may not want to embrace any new and/or challenging technology. When we work with ACM customers, we make sure that they prioritize—as one of the most important parts of their technology roadmap—the development of strategies for end-user adoption in their organization. What’s the best way to introduce new technologies to our employees? How will we manage resistance to the adoption of such technologies? These issues need to be addressed in a strategic way, or even the most committed organization will likely encounter roadblocks to company-wide adoption.  

    This is where a robust ACM program can benefit an organization in moving forward with a Collaboration Technologies approach. While some organizations may believe they can move forward without a rigorous ACM plan, in fact, the implementation of a successful ACM strategy –one that maximizes adoption and increases employee satisfaction—has a vital role to play.  

    Understanding the human impact of ACM 

    Without a doubt, the introduction of new technologies to employees, along with the expectation that they change how they work on a day-to-day basis, will create some resistance. It’s human nature. Managing and mitigating that resistance by involving and engaging employees from the start will help ensure that they feel valued and heard. This is the beginning of a successful ACM program. 

    ACM prioritizes an understanding of the current state of the organization, identifies the underlying barriers to change, and creates a plan focused on maximizing the benefits of new technology from the employees’ perspective.  

    The importance of internal communications: WIIFM? 

    In our work with organizations, we see the importance of an effective internal communications program as being absolutely vital to the success of any initiative involving technology change, making it crystal clear “What’s in it for me—WIIFM.”  

    Communications can include intranet articles, project websites, internal social media channels and learning portals; however, the most common type of communication vehicle is the email campaign. What seems to work best is an email “drip marketing” approach, which includes several emails sent in succession over time, leading up to the date of the actual technology change. Employees must be informed about the reasons for the change, the benefits of the new technology, and the impact it will have on them individually and the organization collectively.  

    Training is key 

    So, you’ve communicated the benefits of this new technology to the team. But your work is not yet over if you want to ensure that your efforts to introduce this new technology are successful. That’s where training comes in as a vital component of ACM. It is essential to provide employees with the skills and knowledge they need to use the new technology effectively. A variety of training methods should be offered to reach all types of learners, including visual (Quick Start Guides), auditory (Videos) and kinesthetic (Instructor-led).  

    Communications and training are high value aspects of ACM and including both will help maximize the intended benefits of a new technology and will be a key component to the success of the project. 

    ACM helps leaders prepare employees for technology change   

    Technology is constantly evolving, and organizations must adapt to stay competitive. Implementing new technologies always has its challenges, especially when it comes to preparing employees ahead of time to accept the change. When leaders in an organization invest in ACM, they are investing in their people--the all-important “people side” of change. In addition, many organizations have found that establishing a network of “champions” helps ensure that the organization is primed and ready to accept technology change. 

    A network of champions 

    Champions are employees who have a great understanding of your organization and are good networkers who have a sphere of influence that extends beyond their work group. A positive attitude that is contagious is a huge bonus as it can impact those around them. Champions can also identify challenges and produce good solutions while providing feedback to the project team and sponsors.  

    What does success look like? 

    It’s important to take a close look at what success looks like to an organization. Is it a reduction in Help Desk tickets, the successful transition from old hard-wired technology to the cloud, or as simple as well-trained and happy employees? Having a strong leadership team behind the change will lend itself to a higher degree of success. Those leaders can and should also be part of a champions network.  

    Our Adoption and Change Management Team  

    The ACM Team at Continuant specializes in helping organizations implement new technologies smoothly and efficiently. Our team of experts can work with you to create a customized plan that addresses the unique needs and challenges that may be facing your employees.  

    Here are some of the ways they can help: 

    Understanding your organization 

    Learning from past successes and challenges: How have other technology rollouts been managed in the past? 
    Communications: What are the key messages you want your employees to receive? 
    Resistance: Are your employees typically resistant to changes in technology? 
    Training: What types of training do your employees tend to gravitate toward? 

    Determining Types of Adopters 

    • Early Adopters – Request the solution before it’s available. 
    • Informed Users – Accept the solution as soon as its value is demonstrated. 
    • Laggards – Reject the solution even when encouraged to change.

    Determining Types of Learners 

    • Self-Motivated – Seek out resources, learn by doing. 
    • Team Players – Enjoy group and interactive training; they’ll go along with coworkers. 
    • Handholding Seekers – Expect “white glove” or one-on-one assistance.

    Understanding Work Settings 

    • On the road – Spends most of their day on the road, driving around. 
    • Remote Worker – Works from home or another remote location. 
    • Mobile @ Work – Works in office but rarely at their desk. 
    • Desk-Bound – At their desk most of the day.

    Without a doubt, an ACM program can benefit most organizations as they move forward with implementing Collaboration Technologies. By putting in place a robust ACM strategy, you will not only maximize adoption of “what’s new” but also increase employee satisfaction throughout your organization. 

    Want to learn more? 

    Check out our video series on Continuant's approach to Adoption and Change Management.



    Continuant, a Managed Services Provider and Systems Integrator, offering world-class solutions for Cloud, Voice Systems, Networking, UC, and AV. From UC and AV solution design and installation to post-installation support, Continuant focuses on delivering exceptional service to the enterprise. We manage complex...

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