How Change Management is key to unlocking product adoption for Technology Vendors

Posted by David Miller

We all know that effective implementation is what our customers value.  With great implementation of your technology your customers are more likely to renew their licences, invest more technology and get a higher return on investment on their technology purchases. This makes everyone happy and it also means that you need to be thinking about adoption services and engagement as a central part of your product and technology adoption strategy.


Alongside this we also know that people, as well as technology and process are THE critical components of successful implementation and ROI. It’s commonly understood that to get people to change you need strong Organizational Change Management (OCM) practices that are either applied by your customers or by your consultants and/or service delivery personnel. 

Back in 2002 McKinsey clearly demonstrated in a survey (Helping Employees Embrace Change) that systematic change management led to improved design, transition, buy-in, and substantially higher ROI.  Take a look at the survey – even now the results are stark.

Why is it then that after more than 15 years, technology customers still complain about poor change management?  For example, Forrester Research spoke to 38 companies about how their transformation consultants performed in 12 key areas.  OCM consistently received the lowest scores. Customers talk about the great support they get from consultants until ‘the rubber hits the road’ and it’s ‘implementation time’. Somehow, just when the customer is wondering – how am I going to get all these users to adopt this change? -  all the great vendor analytical and professional rigor disappears and is replaced by either “OCM is really just good communications and training” (which in a small part it is - but that’s only a quarter of the story) or a ‘resident tree-hugger’ is brought in to tell leadership teams that its all about “making people feel positive about the change” (which would be great if it happens but, even if it does, is insufficient to drive committed adoption).

So, what do other independent reports tell us ? There have been a number of reports over the last few years, that give us some clues as to why organizations under-perform in OCM. They point to:

  1. Lack of Budget - the majority of respondents to an IBM survey (Making Change Work Study) reported investing 5% or less of the total project budget on change management

  2. Lack of Focus - 87% of IBM respondents stated that not enough focus is placed on managing change in critical projects

  3. Lack of Confidence - only 20% of IBM respondents consider that their organizations are successful at managing change

  4. Lack of Skills - a May 2013 PWC survey reported that 48% of respondents say their companies don’t have the necessary capabilities to ensure the changes are sustained

Whatever the reasons, the picture painted is not an optimistic one. Now, you could be up-front with your customers and say you simply don’t do OCM or get involved in product adoption services. You could say that you only “install” your products and you believe it’s up to them to ensure that users commit to the solution and change their ways of working to meet the new requirements (aka Implementation). Nothing wrong with this approach whatsoever. It’s perfectly legitimate and has the big advantage of being crystal clear. The problem is that more and more customers are holding you accountable for ROI and even if they don’t – when technology adoption fails and users DON'T use the solution they will blame your product.

This approach would be a shame because this lack of change management expertise throws up a great opportunity for Technology Vendors. Vendors who ‘grasp the nettle’ will be able to delight their customers and improve their own financial performance.  

So how can Technology Vendors improve the implementation of their technology in their customer’s organizations?  
We see two practical options for you:

  1. You could build a dedicated OCM practice to work with your customers collaboratively to ensure implementation success. This is a strong approach if you have the resources to pay for it, you can find good OCM professionals and customers are up for strangers working with their people on sensitive people issues. You could license a platform so that you can teach and collaborate with your customers effectively as well as rapidly up-skill new hires and contractors to work with you. But, it certainly can work. I have seen it on many occasions.

  2. You could take a route that has become more common. Forrester refer to it as ‘Reusable Assets’. You differentiate yourself by providing a change management toolkit to your customer that maximises their capabilities and productivity. You are automating and enabling customer self-service.  You can provide OCM training, tools, metrics and processes all via a cloud-based platform. Your consultants then coach and support your customers to use the platform.

As digital transformation gathers pace option 2 becomes increasingly attractive in terms of time to market, overall solution cost and the agility it brings to your rollout process. 

Make OCM part of your adoption strategy with Roadmap Pro

Roadmap Pro takes the tough part of solution delivery as a Technology Vendor – change management – and makes it simpler, more collaborative, and more effective

Roadmap Pro:

  1. Increases adoption of your technology by enabling your customers to transform user ways of working
  2. Enhances your reputation for helping customers meet their adoption goals
  3. Increases stickiness by using the platform to effectively collaborate with your customers
  4. Increases productivity and effectiveness of your teams and customers

 Find out more about Roadmap Pro

Leave a comment

Recent Posts


Posts by Tag

see all