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User Adoption: a critical education strategy for a successful Lync implementation


By Kris Gielen, Learning Solutions Architect for HP Education Services, EMEA


Kris_Gielen_badge.jpg“I had to double-check the report, because I couldn’t believe the low number of calls we got for this”. I smiled when I heard the Help Desk manager say this during the close-out meeting of a Lync 2013 implementation. It was probably the best indication that our efforts to ensure the adoption of the new technology by the end-users had worked.


When customers come to HP to assist them with the introduction of unified communication solutions like Lync, they often are mostly concerned about the technical aspects of the project. They want to make the most out of the potential investment and are looking for a partner they can trust to help them in making the transition. Few of them realize at the beginning of such a project that it will only be a success if the people factor is taken into account as well. This does not just mean Training: these type of projects imply a change for the end-user, and that’s where User Adoption comes into play.


Whether you call it User Adoption or Management of Change (MoC) is not that important. What is crucial is the understanding that most people have a natural resistance towards change. Before you start training people on a new system or service, you need to take away their fear of the change and then build their enthusiasm.


In pre-sales discussions with customers I often summarize this by saying that “in order for a project to be successful, the people that are impacted need to be ready, willing and able." Let’s look at each of these aspects:


• Ready: First and foremost, people need to be informed about what will happen and when. By communicating early about the change, you prepare people for it.


• Willing: People want to know what’s in there for them: why the change is being made and what benefits they will get from it.


• Able: People need to be trained to use the new service or system. A variety of options should be available, as in most cases “one (education) solution does not fit all."


If the people component of a technical project is being thought of at all, most companies typically only think about the able part: they are looking for training solutions to educate their end-users. While that is an important element of User Adoption, chances are a big part of the investment will be lost if people are not ready or not willing. If people don’t know what will happen or don’t see how this would help them, they most probably will be reluctant to spend the time and energy to take training. On the other hand, if people are informed and they are enthusiastic about what will come, they most probably will be eager to learn how to use the new system.


User Adoption therefore is a smart combination of Communication and Training. The Communication part focuses mainly on the ready and willing aspects, the Training is mostly addressing the able objective.


The customer we helped with its Lync 2013 project that I mentioned earlier was convinced of the need for User Adoption. It was a disruptive change, as employees would lose their physical phone and had to learn to make calls using their PC. We worked out a Communication Plan that addressed the ready and willing elements, with emails, articles on the intranet, a special screensaver, posters and a short video on the internal video system. We also tackled the able aspect, by offering hands-on training sessions for Key Users, information sessions, Quick Reference Guides, a Web-based FAQ section and floor-walkers who provided individual support right after the migration.


And so I smiled when I heard what the Help Desk manager said. It clearly had worked.


Interested in how HP can help make your U&CC implementation a success? Check out our Unified Communications page.


To learn more about me and how I can help you manage change, visit my HP Expert profile. And you can follow me on Twitter: @KrisGielen 


Kris Gielen is Learning Solutions Architect for HP Education Services EMEA. In this role, he helps businesses analyze their current situation and define educational and training activities to improve their performance. Kris has over 22 years of IT industry experience, having held development, support, help-desk managing, marketing, communication and education roles. He has a passion for quality in complex IT training and development projects with a focus on enhancing productivity and effectiveness. Kris holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Leuven, Belgium.

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