Research Hub > Overcoming Application Overload — Part 2
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Overcoming Application Overload — Part 2

These four key tactics will help your organization maintain application adoption.


In our previous post, we laid out the strategies that CDW uses to help organizations plan a successful application rollout that will lead to getting the most business value out of your application. Following a high-level process like that, it is important to keep the project on track and accomplish your goals, but the details behind what we do as follow-up are where we shine. We have what we call our “Big Four” — categories of adoption enablement that are taken into consideration during each phase of the lifecycle. They include:

  • Marketing and Communication
  • End-User Enablement
  • Success Sustainment and Evergreen IT
  • Measurements That Matter

These each have their own important places in the overall management of your success but are also intertwined.

Marketing and Communication

The fear of the unknown is strong, especially when you say you are going to change the way that people work. Getting the word out through internal marketing and communication about what to expect is critical in any change management plan, but especially so if you want a good user experience and a chance at success. Part of this communication must answer the question of “What’s in it for me?” for end users.

The content should aim to get people excited about the upcoming change and it must be delivered at the optimum time. If it’s too soon, users will think “it doesn’t matter to me right now.” If it’s too late, users can have unnecessary anxiety about the change and they may not have enough time to plan for the change. Get the word out through intranet announcements, team meetings, emails, digital signage, posters and table tents. Having key executives communicate their support through a recorded video or other live mediums can add immeasurable visibility to an otherwise unknown upcoming change.

Enabling the User

Enabling the user to get the most out of the application for the business is the core function of an adoption program. Depending on their role, a user may just need an overview of the features of the application or maybe there’s a specific use case that a walk through would help them better understand. Training and providing an avenue to get questions answered through FAQs, office hours and champion programs are ways to help make your program a success.

Sustain the Success

It’s not enough to just get users set up and trained on how to use the application. An effective plan must also include training the people that support the users. If problems arise and the support team cannot resolve them quickly, user adoption will suffer. Having knowledge-base articles, the skills to configure and troubleshoot the application, and the ability to train future end users can ensure that there are as few barriers to adoption as possible.

Measurements That Matter

While application usage may be an indicator of adoption (the concept being that if they are using it more, they must be getting something out of it), it is not the true goal and could even be misleading. The real key to this component is a multifaceted approach that covers all phases of the lifecycle.

  1. During the envisioning phase, figure out which measurements matter. There are two tracks here: business metrics and usage metrics. The business metrics might be customer satisfaction, time to market or reduced travel and expenses. The usage metrics might include how much time is spent using the application or may measure how they are using it.
  2. Take steps during the success planning phase to understand and prepare to report on these metrics.
  3. The success orchestration phase is where usage data collection is set up and a baseline is captured from both a business and usage standpoint.
  4. The last phase, manage and measure, is where you report on the results of all the adoption activities.

But what happens if you don’t affect the business in the way that you expected? Did you fail? Not necessarily. The usage metrics are key to helping understand if the end-user enablement and communication had the desired outcomes. It is possible that more training or better advertisement of the features might be needed to hit the expected usage patterns.

More Tips for Success

We’ve been doing this for a while now and have learned a few key things that were not obvious when we started:

  • Stakeholder buy-in is key. Without someone from the top giving their support, any change management plan is going to have problems. Change isn’t easy for many people, so the right push by the right person can make a big impact.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of communication.
  • You absolutely must answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” if you expect the user to truly adopt the application.
  • Determine your company’s lines of business and personnel needs early on.

In our final post on improving application adoption, we will go over some additional factors to consider when planning your adoption campaign.

Learn more about how CDW can assist your application needs with a workshop.