I have had many thoughtful congratulations over the past week as Neochange steams past the 15 year mark. Thanks to all of you that have made our journey so interesting. As more notes have come in I took the time to reflect on the most obvious question for a 15 year old endeavor - why we are still working on the user adoption challenge after all these years?
What motivates us to work in the user adoption space after all these years?
- User are economically more important than ever. We have always been interested in the people side of technology change equation. But as enterprise software functionality has moved well beyond transaction processing, and continues to proliferate through mobile devices, the user is increasingly the center of economic value.
- Lopsided investments in software versus users. As an industry, or society, we still get overly excited by new tech toys, whether that be software or hardware. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that. But as we have experienced the proliferation of enterprise software, we still continue to underinvest in user support and education. As a result effective usage suffers. This is the definition of insanity – repeating the same process and expecting a different result.
- Technology adoption process needs to transform. The enterprise technology adoption process was designed around the on-premise software upgrade lifecycle. This is a problem in a “cloud” world and more importantly does not address over two-thirds of the user lifecycle, aka before and after a technology change. We need a bigshift in mindset here.
What are the biggest differences in the user adoption space over the past 15 years?
- Change management services are now a commodity. In 1999 I would argue with executives over the necessity of investing in change management services – “the users have no choice” was their rally cry. Later, people investments during change became accepted as a necessary business cost - insurance if you will. Today these services are common place and the prices points are way lower.
- Explosion of data – especially “machine data”. Six years ago we had to rely on qualitative data to inform our adoption work. Three years ago we still struggled to get decent data that we could turn into adoption insight. With the proliferation of IoT monitoring, companies are now drowning in data and struggle to find the signal in the noise.
- User experience is being recognized as a service experience. Historically we tend to think of the user experience in terms of functionality and the user interface. Advances in the consumer technology space are causing the enterprise to think of the user experience in terms of all the services (onboarding, education support) a user will experience as they attempt to consume technology to create value.
The bottom line for Neochange is we still have quite an opportunity to transform the enterprise software space. And with our current goal of providing user adoption insight for all IT lifecycle decisions, the next 15 years are likely to be very busy.