Implementing major new IT systems or making significant changes to existing ones can be disruptive for general business users. But involving these users early and giving them a voice in the process can ease the transition and get them onboard with the changes.
Here are some tips for empowering users and making them active participants in major IT change initiatives:
Communicate Early and Often
Don’t wait until the new system is ready to launch to tell users about it. Keep them updated from the initial planning stages. Share the reasons and vision behind the change. Be transparent about the timeline, the benefits users can expect, and any temporary disruptions the transition may cause.
Listen to User Concerns
Solicit feedback through surveys, focus groups, or user acceptance testing. Encourage users to voice their questions, worries, and suggestions. Be prepared to address their concerns and incorporate user ideas when feasible.
Involve Users in Testing
Bring end users in to test the new system before launch. Identify power users who are frequent users and give them early access. Gather their feedback to catch issues and improve the user experience. This hands-on time also allows users to get familiar with the new system.
Offer Ongoing Training
Classroom training before a system launch gives users a foundation. But learning sinks in best when users can immediately apply it. Provide job-specific training materials and on-demand resources (videos, help docs, etc.) users can reference as they gain hands-on experience after the system goes live.
Continually emphasise how the new system benefits users directly in their day-to-day work. Whether it’s faster processing, easier access to data, or a smoother workflow, remind users of what’s in it for them.
Support the Transition
In the initial days and weeks after launch, provide extra coaching and assistance to users. Have team members on hand to answer questions and troubleshoot issues. Set up a feedback channel users can use to report problems or ask for help. Make it clear you are committed to working out the kinks with them.
Major IT changes inevitably involve a learning curve. But following these best practices for user empowerment and engagement can smooth the transition and help users embrace, rather than resist, the new system. With their valuable input incorporated and their needs addressed, users are much more likely to get on board.