User Onboarding: Do You Have a Post-Launch Success Plan?

Tom Casillas | May 11, 2018

You’re just days from your go live date — and it’s pretty exciting. You’ve invested a lot of time and energy in selecting the right vendor to solve your business need. You’ve made sure you have a solid business case, including calculating ROI. And, you’ve worked with the C-suite, mid-level managers, and even end users to make sure you have buy-in across all levels of the organization.

But, wait. Before you put on the party hats and blow kazoos, is it possible you’ve forgotten one small, but critical detail?

Your post-launch success plan.

If you’re response is, “We have multiple days of training planned and there is a help menu,” you might want to reconsider.

While training and help menus are valuable in assisting your end users gain familiarity with the application, these tools will not help you:

  • Determine if your application is being used the right way.
  • Identify friction points between the application and end users so you can proactively work to remedy them.
  • Gauge user adoption and establish a plan to grow and improve user adoption.
  • Measure whether your ROI projections are on target.

Simply launching an application and providing users with training does not guarantee user onboarding and adoption success.

Here’s what will give you insight into these issues and help provide a better return on your investment in the application.

Measure End User Adoption Post-Launch

Less than half (44 percent) of firms using a CRM system have an adoption rate greater than 90 percent according to CSO Insights research. The biggest reason is poor user onboarding and adoption.

In fact, a Forrester survey found that for CRM deployments that weren’t meeting intended results, nearly two-fifths (38%) of issues were the result of people problems, such as slow user adoption.

Whether it’s CRM, ERP, or some other enterprise application, the challenge and risk of poor user adoption is real. To combat poor user adoption, you need to start by measuring it.

First, just as you created metrics to evaluate your ROI on your software investment, you need to create metrics to evaluate user onboarding and adoption. These metrics might include:

  • How many users are using the software and at what frequency?
  • How often do users reach out to the Help Desk for support?
  • How often do they need to access a Help Menu or Knowledgebase for additional support?
  • How quickly are they able to finish specific tasks in the application?

Next, you’ll need a way to gather the actual data. One way to do this is through deploying end user surveys and tracking help desk tickets. However, this is a labor-intensive approach that might not capture all the data you need. A more streamlined approach would be to invest in a performance support system that integrates with your enterprise application and automatically tracks these type of metrics.

Apply Insights to Proactively Improve User Adoption

Use the data you collect to gain insights into where there are friction points for the end user. If you see there are certain tasks or processes that are taking end users a long time to complete, are requiring the aid of the Help Desk, or aren’t getting done at all in the application — you know you need to step in and provide better training and support.

You may also see some teams or individuals frequently using the application, and other teams using it minimally, or not at all. This gives you another opportunity to learn why user adoption is high for one team and not for another. Is there enough management support and buy-in around application adoption for the poorly performing team? Is there a language localization issue for your team in the Philippines that your team in the U.S. isn’t having?

Having clear data on how, when, and who is interacting with the application can help you proactively pinpoint issues and resolve them before users disengage with the application.

Validate User Adoption

The data you collect can also help you validate user adoption and better prove the applications’ overall ROI. Points of validation can include:

  • Decrease in help desk tickets
  • Overall time spent in the application
  • Greater efficiency in performing specific tasks within the application

Not only will the metrics indicate that user adoption is occurring, they will also demonstrate that your business is realizing increased return on investment from the solution as employees productivity goes up.

Implement Continuous Training

The truth about post-launch success is that there is no ultimate finish line. Your applications will have updates that require end users to learn new processes, new hires will come onboard and need assistance with the application, and different projects may require different strategies depending on their complexity.

A successful post-launch plan includes continuous review of your user onboarding processes and the progress of user adoption. Host reviews quarterly and include champions and end users in your review committee.

During the quarterly reviews:

  • Evaluate your current strategies, objectives, and outcomes for user onboarding and adoption, and gain understanding into how they drive ROI.
  • Adjust your strategies as needed based on the metrics and results you’re gathering to validate user adoption.
  • Apply change management or different training and onboarding processes as needed to increase user adoption.

Celebrate, But Don’t Check Out

Going live is a big deal — it can take months or even years to get a complex enterprise application deployed. So, yes, blow those kazoos and give yourself a big pat on the back at launch, but also make sure you don’t stop there. Staying engaged in the user onboarding process continually and consistently is critical to achieving true post-launch success and higher adoption rates.

Have you just launched a new application? I’d love to know how it’s going and what challenges or success you might be experiencing with your user onboarding process.

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