How to Ensure a Tech Adoption Failure

One of the questions we are frequently asked is “How did you get your people to use POUNCE?

Like any software tool, the success of POUNCE (or any new tech tool) largely dependent on the extent to which users embrace it.

New technology can help drive efficiencies in your marketing and sales efforts and can even create competitive advantages for your firm, but only if the people within your firm actually use the new technology as intended.

Before selecting and implementing new tech tools, consider your plan for maximizing user adoption. If you want to ensure your tech investment is a big waste of time and money, follow these steps:

1. Start with technology instead of strategy.

We are surrounded by technology in the workplace. And as new solutions are developed and older solutions become more affordable, we continue to acquire even more technology.

With new tools being introduced all the time, it can be easy to fall into the “shiny object syndrome” trap. We all go to conferences and talk with peers about the tools that they are using in their respective firms, and it’s natural to want to try approaches that others are having success with. While sharing ideas with peers is undoubtedly important, it is also important to remember that no two firms are alike and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

Instead of starting with the tools, start by examining the underlying challenge or opportunity.

Think big picture. By creating a strategy that clearly aligns technology with larger firm goals, you can help maximize your technology investments and drive business results.

2. Leave end-users out of the decision-making and implementation process.

To increase the likelihood and degree of technology adoption success, involve users early in the process. Adoption will always improve if end-users have a voice in the evaluation, planning and implementation processes.

Involving all types of users early in the process offers two main benefits:

  • End-users can help you clearly define your priorities at the beginning. They can help identify features that are deal-breakers and which ones are nice-to-have, but maybe not necessary.
  • Early involvement gives end-users a sense of pride and ownership in the process. They can serve as ambassadors of the new tool, and can help persuade others to get on board.

3. Ignore the WIIFM.

Before you ask any team member to learn a new technology, be sure you can answer the “what’s-in-it-for-me” (WIIFM) question for each group. When users understand the potential benefits and long-term strategy, they are more likely to invest their time and energy up front.

Emphasize how the new technology benefits both your organization and your users as individuals.

4. Set unrealistic expectations for user adoption.

It’s important to enter into the tech evaluation, selection and implementation process with realistic expectations of how your end-users will adopt the new system. Based on our own experience with introducing new tools and processes over the years, we see users fall into three main groups:

  • Power Users/Early Adopters make up about 20% of your user base. This group embraces new technology like an office puppy. They are excited by new ideas and new ways of doing things and are typically eager to get on board with new tools. Use this group’s excitement and influence to your advantage and make sure to involve these users early in the process (see #2 above).
  • Moderate Users comprise about 60% of your user base. This group is likely to use new tech tools if they have a clear understanding of the potential benefits to them (see #3 above). Since they represent the majority of your user base, it is important to integrate moderate users into your process early (see #2 above).
  • Light Users/Laggards make up approximately 20% of your user base. This group is allergic to the office puppy. Laggards tend to have a skeptical view of new tools and a stronger aversion to change. It may not be your best use of time to try to persuade these users to embrace a change, but it is important to consider the obstacles or challenges associated with non-use by these individuals. (What happens if you have users that do not use the tool as intended? Are there reasonable workarounds that can be easily applied?)

For example, when we designed POUNCE, we were well aware that we had a few professionals in our firm that would likely never be persuaded to use the system themselves. As a workaround, we created a separate user type and trained administrative assistants throughout the firm to use the system on behalf of these professionals.

5. Over-complicate the system or process.

When selecting new technology, simplicity and turnkey functionality should be top of mind.

Systems should be simple to use once the initial setup has been completed. This is especially important when working with teams of varying levels of technical expertise and comfort. Considering the multi-generational workforce that is the norm in most firms these days, it’s important to select tools that can be utilized by both younger team members who have grown up with technology, as well as older team members who may be less comfortable with new technology.

Also, technology should be personalized to match your firm’s processes and terminology.

For example, when P&N decided to implement a CRM to help us manage our sales pipeline, it was important to us to ensure field titles matched the terminology our doer-sellers had already become accustomed to, and to build reports that were already familiar to them.

Technology should add VALUE, not WORKLOAD. The best tools enable users to be better at their job by simply using the tool to complete tasks they are already doing.

6. Treat communication as an after-thought.

The technical and functional aspects of the software implementation process can be time-consuming and overwhelming, no doubt. BUT it’s important to have a clear communication plan from Day 1.

Don’t wait for launch day to let employees know what’s going on. Employees should be informed of new tools and technology as soon as possible so there is a clear understanding of when new processes will take effect.

Make sure employees are aware of the benefits that the new technology will provide (see #3 above) and offer training and support. Being transparent and communicative throughout the process will make onboarding users more efficient and effective in the long run.


Any system your firm implements will only be effective if your people use it. They key to getting a significant return on a tech tool investment is to ensure you have a carefully considered plan for encouraging user adoption throughout the process.


Ready for a tech tool that your people will actually use? Contact us for a free POUNCE demo.


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