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Ten essential steps for user adoption of technology

Kevin Hanegan, Chief Learning Officer, Qlik


User adoption is critical for organizations to successfully get value from new technology.

We live in a world today with unprecedented flux and innovation. The ability for organizations to keep up with the pace of new technology is critical. Numerous studies highlight that the biggest hurdle to this is user adoption. The ability for individuals to adopt and accept new technology goes beyond just providing a training course and checking the box. It requires a change management process that not only provides the right information at the right level at the right time, but it also requires individuals to have a growth mindset and unlearn older approaches.

What can organizations do to help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of digital adoption for their individual users? Follow the 10 steps below.


The process needs to start with awareness and answering the question: “What is in it for me?” Individuals will not embrace something new if they do not understand how it fits into the bigger picture, what it will replace and how it will help them.

1. Focus communications and demos on how the new technology will help individuals do their job better or faster. If there are different answers for different sets of stakeholders, draft different communications for each one, specific to how it helps them. Include specific examples of tasks that took longer to perform before, or tasks that were not even possible before, and visually show how they are now possible using the new technology.

2. As individuals begin to become aware, they will first try to understand any gaps that may exist and whether this technology will do exactly what they need it to do. Focus on making individuals aware that the technology can be customized to meet their specific business needs.

3. As individuals process the information, they will then focus on how much effort is required for them to make this change. Show individuals the process to start using the new technology, including how they will learn it, and how they will make use of it.

4. Individuals will then try to understand how important it is for them to embrace this new technology. Social implications play a key role in this. Make individuals aware that experts, leaders and other influencers in the organization are using the new technology too.


Once individuals are aware and form perceptions around the importance and value of the new technology, they will begin the learning phase of their adoption. This is where they should obtain an understanding of the technology and how it integrates with their current work processes.

5. A major hurdle in the adoption process is when individuals have the desire to change, but they have an existing mental model, which is preventing them from changing quickly. To help with this critical step, spend time helping individuals unlearn any old mental models and embrace the new approach. This is easier when the individual and the organization foster a culture that supports growth mindset.

6. The next step is to make individuals feel comfortable they have the right knowledge of the technology to actually use it. This is where role-based learning that focuses on job specific capabilities comes into play.

7. The level of comfort should not just focus on the technology itself, though. Too many implementations focus only on the technology and not about the human side. The learning needs to include how to actually consume the technology, use it and get value from it.

Trial and Application

After the learning, the individuals then have the task of experimenting on how to use this technology in their work processes. During this process, the individuals need to see the benefits and value of the technology in real-time.

8. As individuals begin using the technology in their job, they still haven’t completely adopted it. It is critical to make them feel supported for when they run into hiccups and challenges. To help with this, make individuals aware that there are resources available to help them when needed. This can include links to a user community and additional learning and performance support.

9. As one of the last parts of the adoption process, individuals need to believe the technology is there for the long haul and is reliable and responsive. To help with this, make them aware of the processes for keeping the technology running and of the organizations that are dedicated to supporting it.


If all goes well, individuals are now using the technology, realizing the value and will start to incorporate the solution as an indispensable part of their job.

10. Use this stage to celebrate the successes that individuals have using the new technology. This will help the individuals feel good about their use of the technology, and it will also help with the awareness and motivation of other individuals who are just starting out their own journey.