Why Effective Internal Communication is Critical to a Successful Application Rollout

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Whether it’s ERP, CRM, HRIS, content management, or some other platform or application, you expect it to significantly improve employee productivity and corporate operations. The specs look great and you expect no problems integrating your shiny new tech into the rest of your corporate infrastructure. But have you considered the most critical component of your system? Do you know what that component is?

It’s the system’s new user base—your people.

Success depends on instantaneous communication and problem solving

Getting your employees on board with the new system you expect them to use is absolutely vital to the success of a technology rollout. Without an effective internal communication strategy and a reserve of support resources for new users to draw on when they run into snags, employees will quickly turn against the new technology. If they can, they may even abandon altogether in favor of an existing legacy application that hasn’t been decommissioned, or even for a self-provisioned application that they adopt without IT’s knowledge or approval. And just like that, your big rollout risks turning into a big disaster.

Avoiding a failed technology rollout will require your organization to consider not only the technological side of the implementation, but also the human side.

What are your employees’ concerns about new technology rollouts? Here are three common worries:

  • Will the new system be hard to learn/use?
  • Who do I contact if I have a question?
  • What happens if I make a mistake?

What you do to address these questions and anticipate others as you roll out your new system will make or break the technology rollout.

Provide easily searchable answers and curated knowledge

The first order of business is using your Kaleo enterprise knowledge network to build a solid, accessible, and easily searchable foundation of collective information about the system before it goes live to your workforce. This will serve as your employees’ first point of contact if they run into problems or have questions that their training didn’t answer.

When it comes to anticipating employee questions and issues, you have two key resources readily available: the support team your vendor has assigned to you, and your own employees. Ask your vendor to provide FAQs and a list of common support topics and their solutions, and use those to pre-populate your enterprise knowledge network.

Start small and then scale 

Select a group of employees to serve as a test bed for your technology pilot program. These employees should not be selected at random. They should include representatives from each unit or line of business that will be expected to use the technology, and individuals should be selected for their demonstrated willingness and ability to speak up, speak out, and make their concerns heard within the organization. The more vocal the employee, the better.

Pre-rollout, give your pilot program and group members a long enough timeframe to really dig into the new technology and use it for their daily responsibilities. As they do so, make sure they’re consistently entering their questions into your enterprise knowledge network (and encourage them to answer open questions if they can!). When questions appear in your knowledge network that no one in the pilot program can answer, reach out to your vendor’s support staff.

Investing in training and change management are key to successful technology rollouts, but rollouts don’t have to involve a dozen pricey change management consultants and a year of training workshops when you know how to leverage the human assets you already have on hand. Using a pilot program to populate your enterprise knowledge network with common issues and solutions will significantly ease rollout pains and increase your chances of success with minimal productivity loss.

 

Karen Chisholm

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