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System upgrade? 4 proven strategies to get users on board

All those efficiencies promised by a tech conversion or upgrade? Out the window they go when people can’t adjust to the new system! And no CFO wants to watch their ROI fade away.

That’s why we at CFO Daily News pooled info from IT managers across the country to find out which strategies they found most successful to help their users adapt to tech upgrades.

Here are four of the best:

  1. Let’s go to the videotape! True, people learn in all types of ways. But in today’s world where you can YouTube anything from how to unclog a drain to how to build a boat out of plywood, videos are a great option. One IT manager we know was facing a major and quick moving upgrade to its email system. So before the switch he sent users online videos explaining the new system — some created by the vendors and others the IT staff made themselves. The result? A seamless switch. Note: Even if your vendor offers training videos, you’ll probably want to at least supplement with some homemade ones. And tap your most energetic and even eccentric techie to do them. The personal touch will get users engaged.
  2. “Trivia-lize” it. Sometimes the hardest thing about training people on a new system? Getting it to sink in. Another pro we know found a clever way to do just that, all while keeping gripes at bay. Her solution? Create a series of trivia-type questions based on workings of the new system. They set it up so that the first time users accessed the system once the conversion was complete, a series of trivia questions from the training sessions popped up. Those who answered the most questions correctly could even win some prizes. A little friendly competition kept folks focused on recalling what they learned instead of asking why things had to change.
  3. Make a not-changing list. It may also be worth devoting some time to what won’t be different after an upgrade or conversion. Much of the reason people resist a tech change is that it feels like they’re going to have to do EVERYTHING differently. But that’s likely not the case. And while most IT departments devote their time explaining to users what’s new and changing, spelling out what will remain the same and familiar can go a long way toward keeping stress levels down.
  4. Do a walkabout. Sometimes with all the training in the world beforehand, you won’t know what people need help with until the system is up and running. And the more folks struggle, the lower productivity goes and the higher frustration levels become. Obviously IT will be on the front lines for the first few days – why not actually put them in the trenches? One company we know pulled techs out of the IT department and had them walk the floors for the first four days a new system went live. That way they were always at the ready when someone needed an assist. Yes, it took their eyes off other projects, but by getting everyone up to speed quickly, they conserved a lot more time down the road when it came to the upgrade.
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