3 Things to know for facilitating Enterprise tool adoption (emphasizing the human and change management factors) (Part 1/2)

In my recent engagements with mainframe customers (and especially with the project managers in charge of the in-house deployment of Rational tooling), I identified a common pattern where we start speaking in-house processes and numbers (of developers or teams), their IT architecture, etc. but where – at some point of time – we take a step back and start discussing how the adoption of their new Enterprise tooling went so far, how it was implemented and the possible concerns that remains.

A common pattern… and one point which needs to be emphasized.

Innovation is a fact ! As is the resistance to change by end users and the necessity to respect company policies. These are the biggest hindrances to a successful (Enterprise) modernization. To mitigate these risks, an appropriate strategy (including adoption, management of expectations, roll-out, training, etc.) is the key for avoiding shelf-ware or rejection.

 A series of TWO articles…

In the first article, we will discuss some core concepts and results from social psychology field.

In the second article, we will elaborate on how customers could keep the right focus when adopting some new Enterprise tooling. From both a generic perspective and in the context of the specific adoptions of IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) and IBM Rational Team Concert Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE) respectively.

Core concepts from social psychology

The purpose of this section is to leverage some core concepts and results from social psychology space. We want some valid terminology  clarifying what one could feel to a certain extent… but yet in a fuzzier way ! Note: to this regard, this post shares a common viewpoint with a previous blog post.

The couple of definitions and concepts I found useful to exhibit in the context of an Adoption process are the following:

  • Effort Expectancy (E.E.) aka “perceived ease of use”
  • Performance Expectancy (P.E.) aka “perceived usefulness”
  • Resistance to Change (R.T.C.)

In the context of a Learning process (borrowing from the field of pedagogy), you can think of:

Writer’s note: as you’ve certainly figured out, there is some overlap in acronyms: “RTC” and “EE” could be interpreted in two ways here… To disambiguate, I shall using the orange color for terms coming from social psychology. That way, Rational Team Concert (RTC) and Resistance to Change (R.T.C.) should not be confused. Same thing for EE and E.E. !

Application to Information Science and Technology

Here I’m relaying some previous results from the following source: “Resistance to change and the adoption of digital libraries: an integrative model” [JASIST’2009]

  • «A user’s intention to adopt a new technology is influenced by a variety of beliefs and perceptions
  • «Domain-specific R.T.C. is both a direct and indirect antecedent of users’ E.E. and P.E.»
  • «Understanding the role of R.T.C. in user adoption can help designers and managers create a better fit between systems’ design and their intended users’ personal characteristics.»

Encourage familiarity with the new tool…

  • «To encourage users who are high on R.T.C., new systems should be designed such that they are not perceived to embody a lot of change. This can be done by retaining as many characteristics of older systems, computerized or not.»
  • «Systems’ implementation and users’ training could be better done if users did not perceive a new system as embodying much change.»
  • «When a new system is introduced, familiar aspects of a new system could be highlighted to mitigate users’ resistance.»

… and demonstrate benefits […] in the context that is important to adopters.

  • «Illustrate to users the potential benefits of the system, and how these can be demonstrated.

by using testimonials, by linking resources to course listings,  and in any other way that will enable users to demonstrate the benefits in the context that is important to them. »

Conclusion

The content of this article could appear far from IT space in the first hand. In the second article, we will elaborate on how customers could keep the right focus when adopting some new Enterprise tooling. From both a generic perspective and in the context of the specific adoptions of IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) and IBM Rational Team Concert Enterprise Extensions (RTC EE) respectively. Keeping in mind the concepts and results from social psychology…

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