How does IT ensure the software they select will be adopted by their users?

Don Busiek
Jul 30, 2014

 

An IT Director’s plate is overflowing and unfortunately, not with tasty treats. It is overwhelming for any IT professional to tackle everything on the to-do list, especially given the challenges IT faces every day: Shrinking budgets, smaller teams, increasingly complex solutions, vendor audits, 24x7 clinician support, rip-and-replace upgrades, progressively complicated demands of end users, BYOD, demanding clinicians, security concerns…the list goes on and on and on.

To complicate matters further, the role of IT has changed over the years. IT is no longer a back-office function; it is now considered a business partner and is expected to consistently provide technology solutions that help clinicians deliver better care to their patients. So, how do IT leaders, who have more challenges than time, make sure they select the right software solution for their company? How do they select software that will be adopted? How do they ensure users will take to the software like kids to birthday cake at a six-year-olds party?

IT Directors wrestle with this question all the time. Budgets are massively finite and as precious as water in the dessert. Due to the lengthy list of challenges facing IT, there is limited time to select the right software to help to help bring the company to the next level. Yet, success of IT is often a reflection of the technology solution that is selected.

Adding to the pressure, IT always has to make the right choice when selecting a software partner. Failure is not an option. So, the typical process is to first map vendors to a matrix of business and technical requirements then second, create a selection committee which includes clinicians and other end users. The scoring output from that matrix is what drives which software vendor to select. This is the tried and somewhat true method IT uses to select a vendor. So, why does software still go un-deployed? Why, after all this careful scrutiny in the selection process do end users still complain that their needs are not met?

The software selected needs to not only fix the pain point, but must also be incredibly easy to adopt and use. The reality is that if IT selects software that fixes a pain point, but is too complicated for anyone to use, it will just become shelfware. The factor that is often left out of the vendor selection process is the focus on user experience. The bottom line is that user experience really matters and is often the most critical factor in driving user adoption and avoiding dreaded shelfware.

Some critical questions that should be asked during the vendor selection process, yet rarely are, include: Does the vendor have a UX team? Does the vendor conduct “Voice of the Customer” sessions? Does the UI match clinician workflows? Are the admin screens easy to use? Is the install painless?

If IT leadership adds these questions to any software selection process, and it is it is highly likely there would be less shelfware (and wasted money) and a dramatic increase in user adoption. From the IT perspective, adding User Experience to the vendor selection criteria will significantly reduce the number of challenges IT faces. . So take a deep breath, you may just have the time now to do it.