“But why don’t they use it?”

14 October 2022 Martin Cheetham

One of the biggest issues with implementing any new platform or system in an organisation is the adoption by the employees meant to be using it.

Whatever is being implemented needs to make the intended users’ lives easier while delivering the required value to the business.

Usually, the initial idea will start with the business need (eg we need x insight from data captured). This usually moves to the ever-faithful IT department where they search for a solution that will meet their needs. The solution gets decided on and implemented with minimal input (if any) from the actual people that will be dependent on using it to reach the desired outcome.

This is where most new systems usually start crumbling. The platform adds a layer of complication to their already-busy lives. Sometimes they don’t even understand why they are now being asked to use it. They don’t get the intended value and all they can see is another cumbersome tool that wastes their valuable time. There is a fantastic quote from Alan Cooper that sums this up so well: “If we want users to like our software, we should design it to behave like a likeable person: respectful, generous and helpful.”

Whether the solution is a CRM (client relationship manager), an intranet, collaboration tool or comms platform (the list goes on and on),  it needs to speak to the users’ needs as well as the business. If not, it will be met with indignation regardless of how beautifully it’s packaged or incentivized. Productivity will be affected and objectives will not be met.

One interesting statistic from Finances Online shows that 32% of sales representatives spend more than an hour each day on manual data entry. It’s also the primary reason for the lack of CRM adoption. If the software instituted wastes more time than saving it, uptake will always be low.

“People ignore design that ignores people” – Frank Chimero

I recently tried out a fitness app that is a social app as well. It sounded amazing in principle as I could share workouts with friends and we could comment and motivate each other to meet our goals. However, it wouldn’t automatically sync with other apps that I already to use to track certain stats. So it resulted in me having to capture info twice. I’m sure you can guess the outcome: within a few days, I stopped using it, and a week later it joined my ever-expanding trashcan-in-the-sky of deleted apps.

The solution needs to be designed to meet both the business needs and the users’. And the only way to do this is by speaking to the relevant people on both sides.

Speaking to users is crucial for the success of any platform that they are meant to engage with. It’s not just a user-experience nicety, it’s a business fundamental. Without proper research, we don’t understand how a user will interact with a solution or even if they would at all.

And if they don’t engage, the business ultimately suffers.