Hope is Not a Strategy: Self-Service Adoption Relies on Change Management

2 min read
01-Jul-2020 14:30:00

Determined businessman climbing building with help of rope

Self-service adoption can't be left to chance; you'll need a plan to change user behavior. No plan, no ROI.

There is an old military saying: "Hope is not a strategy". Even if you build the perfect IT self-service portal, people won't use it unless you tell them about it and give them a reason to use it.


It's not a case of "Build it and they will come", it's a case of "Build it and give them a compelling reason to use it, and wrap it in a great user experience, and then they will come".

Organizational Change Management

When you put a new system in front of your employees, you'll get a range of responses—from excitement to apathy to fear. Everybody is on this "change appetite spectrum". Some people are always looking for the next big thing.

Others like things just that way they are now. They know where they are and they like their "comfort zone". If you want them to move; you'll need to put energy into fighting their inertia.

Fear manifests as resistance. Excitement manifests as support. The people who are afraid of change will fight against change. The people who love new things will advocate those new things to others.

The challenge is to negate the former and amplify the latter to drive mass adoption so that you can get the Return on Investment (ROI) that you want from your IT self-service initiative. Remember: no users means no ROI.

Prevent Fear from Turning into Active Resistance

Fear of change can usually be handled through clear communication. People need to know what's happening, why, how and when. They don't like surprises.

They also want to know what's in it for them. This means working out the benefits for different groups and applying targeted communication. It's like a political campaign trail, where candidates focus on different issues and policies in different cities.

They also need to know about what they need to do to get from where they are now to where you want them to be. This means education and training. Knowledge dispels fear, so once people have been helped to "get their head around it", many people will switch from resister to advocate.

Amplify Enthusiasm

Enthusiasts can help you create groundswell and handle resistance. Recruit them as advocates to help expand your reach into different business units. Have them act as local champions, educators and trainers, matchmaking them with the active resisters to neutralize them.

To do so, you will need to find these enthusiasts, get them involved, arm them with the benefits for each group, and support them throughout. With a little bit of effort, you can leverage their enthusiasm to amplify support, achieve mainstream adoption, and deliver the intended ROI from your self-service portal.


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