The Key to Successful User Adoption in ECM Migration

So you’re thinking about an ECM change…

When considering migration from a legacy ECM system, stakeholders are often concerned about the obstacles that will occur in the data migration process. For instance, the size or complexity of the data is so great, how will we accomplish this without losing access to data during the possible lengthy migration or losing data from the legacy system entirely? These concerns are valid, and we take care to address them at the onset of the project, however, as BAs one of our primary concerns is looking to the end of the process, after the migration is complete, to the point where the new system is deployed and end users have the first opportunity to engage with it. It makes us think about the old saying, “If you build it, they will come.” Our question is, “If we build it, will they use it?” We see user adoption as a key challenge in many ECM migration cases and one that needs to be addressed early on in the discovery phase of the project.

Ways to Increase User Adoption

There are many reasonable suggestions often touted for improving user adoption after an ECM migration. Some will say, be sure to talk to key stakeholders and get their buy-in before making a change. Others stress the importance of making sure the new solution really meets all users’ needs and is truly a good solution to the problems with the old system. And others believe that starting with small changes and providing ongoing support after implementation will make a big difference. We agree that all of these are useful but in our experience, the piece that really makes the biggest difference comes in the discovery stage, at the very beginning. We like to do as Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.”

stack of business booksThe Key to Migration Success

The key to migration success is to start by considering the human element of the equation. Designing an ECM solution that adapts to the native processes of the end users is critical in the overall success of an ECM migration. This is because humans hate change. We don’t want to be forced to learn a new way of doing something. We don’t want to spend time acclimating ourselves to a new process. We like things to stay as they are because that is easy. So at Blue Fish, we work hard to understand the current processes being used by each individual and make sure that in the end, the new system will allow them to continue to behave or work in a similar way to how they did before the migration.

For example, we have an e-commerce client that produces a bottled product and has a multi-step approval process for the labels placed on the bottles. Each stakeholder involved in the review process uses a different application or platform to complete their work. One may use their email, while another uses Google Docs and another is more comfortable with something else. So our plan is to implement a new platform that will be compatible with their current workflows and behaviors. If we design a system that fits right into the habits of the stakeholders involved in the approval process that is already in place, we will experience significantly less push-back than when asking users to learn an entirely new system or way of completing their work. Now, of course, if we find ways to improve efficiency in their process by making some changes, we will certainly suggest those, but overall, the goal is for the new system to enhance their workflows by making the transition as smooth and simple as possible with the end user experience at the forefront.

By planning, building and utilizing the right ECM tool that will allow for all of these stakeholders to work comfortably in a way that is natural to them, we can create a much easier transition to the new system and ensure user adoption is as high as possible. For help with your ECM project, drop us a note here.


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