In the wild world of technology, change is constant. But making the move from the current system to a new one requires planning. Whether the change is as complex as an entire revamp of the IT tools or as simple as the email signature employees use, (http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/04/the-art-and-science-of-the-email-signature/) a plan needs to consider the Big Buy-in.
The users of the system need to adopt the system and its processes. ActiveOffice can build fantastic collaborative tools, but without the buy-in from day-to-day users, the value is never realized. An online sales tool or CRM system can connect management, clients and sales reps, but if only part of the system is used, efficiencies suffer.
The barriers are fairly simple. Change can be hard. You’ll hear things like, “we’ve always done it this way” or “… but the way I do it works for me.” The key seems to be leadership.
I can list a multitude of other barriers: cost, ease, training… all great points. But without the leadership to guide all the users to a new system, there is a risk of “partial” adoption –which of course means the system’s value is greatly reduced.
With the Big Buy-in, though, rewards exist. When all users see the value and participate in whatever system is implemented, good things happen. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is when the client has this epiphany. Something clicks. And then I get comments such as “You took us from ‘what the heck is this?’ to ‘how the heck are we going to live without it!’
Remember “New Coke”? People didn’t buy it. And no one really asked them if they wanted it. Don’t push things on your users without being able to tell them how it will benefit them. Get input from employees and customers. Plan carefully. Be a leader who listens. Then, you’ll gain The Big Buy-in.
There are oh-so-many apps out there. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a wish list. The following list is purely for humor:
Caller I.D. I.D.: This app would show me what someone sees on their smartphone when I call them. Am I listed in their contacts, or does it just show my phone number? Is it showing my family-oriented pic from Facebook or some college party pic my friend uses in my contact info on his phone? Caller I.D. I.D. would give me a screenshot of exactly what the person I am calling sees on their phone. Bonus points if it can play the ringtone they are using for my calls.
Turn Signal App: This one is for all the folks who are driving with one hand and talking on the phone with the other. About to turn left? Why not let people know. A click on TurnSignal© app and, viola! Your car’s left turn signal is activated. Since it would be interacting with your car & GPS, maybe it could send a text message to the user noting how many turns were made without using a turn signal.
The Forgotten App App: This app would remind you that you have an app downloaded, but haven’t used it. After 30 days of non-use you would get a prompt, “Have you forgot about ‘FatBurner2k’?”, with a link to delete it.
App Filler: While the smartphone market continues to expand, not all users are using their phones as much as they could. Then a friend picks up your phone and says “Geez, don’t you know how to download apps?” The App Filler App would create fake icons on your home screen making it appear that you have downloaded half of the apps available for your phone. This would avoid the embarrassment of spending hundreds of dollars on a phone and the only app you have downloaded is Angry Birds (and “FatBurner2k”).
The Five Star-Free alert: When I scroll through the app store I am a sucker for anything that has a 5 star review and is free (this excludes games). So I would like an app that mines the app store and sends me an alert when a free app reaches 5 stars.
The Zap App: While I know some of the most popular apps are games, I have forsaken having games on my laptop, phone or tablet. Since I use all of these devices for business, games are a distraction. So if my resolve ever weakens I would like an app that would deliver a small electrical zap to my hand if I attempt to download an app in the “Games” category. If the hardware is ever developed to allow for this app I can see a plethora of uses (stolen phone, late night texting, etc.).
Again, this list is purely for humor… unless someone runs with one of the ideas. Then it won’t be funny.
During what should have been a routine set-up of a new server, our company needed to buy a new software license. Simple enough. You would think. Two days later the process had devolved into a frustrating exercise in phone trees, online forms and two “help desk” sessions. It boiled down to this conversation: “You have a product for sale. We want to purchase this product. Why are you making it so hard for me to give you money?” The company, which will remain nameless, is in a fairly narrow niche. Maybe that is why they afford to put their customers through grueling processes to make a simple purchase. But this happens at brick & mortar stores as well. You have the product in hand, you are at the cashier… and here it comes. “Can I have your phone number? ZIP code? Email address? Rewards card? Care for an extended warranty?” Yikes! I was able to leave the hospital with my first born son with less questions.
In a world where technology has widened the market place and sped up the buying process, companies that make that process a pleasurable experience will gain and retain customers.
“Google-Threat” (a term I made up but could very well exist somewhere in the blogosphere) means a service or product from a company so large that users do not have control over possible changes. We see this in Google, Yahoo! and others. Every time Facebook makes a change in the layout or privacy settings, users unite in an uproar that their free service has changed. To paraphrase an old axiom: How does an 800 lb. gorilla configure their software? Anyway they want. While the gorillas may use some ideas ideas from users, the bottom-line is their bottom-line.
If your organization chooses to use a free product for day-to-day business, you will have to recognize that the product can change or go away at any time. If these services are used to connect to your clients, customers, members, etc., the risk is extended.
Remember, “When something online is free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.” (a term I did not make up).
An Inc. magazine article reports on a survey by Appcelerator and research firm IDC that found a majority of mobile developers believe mobile development will reshape business in the future. While I agree in part with points in the survey, it is like asking GM if people will be driving cars in the future. The survey included: “… Mobile has the power to reshape entire industries and these changes will be swift….” The adoption rate for mobile apps has been rapid. But the success of mobile apps is owed in part to the trail blazed by “traditional” web technologies. As mobile grows it will look & feel like websites and websites will look more like mobile as web design pares down. Simple navigation will replace “flaming logos.” Business sites will focus on the process and offload the fluff. To what degree remains to be seen, but the open playing field of mobile development will benefit businesses and consumers.