It’s a story repeated ad nauseam: IT professionals being told they need to be more “business-minded” these days, and that they need to embrace the fact that business units are adopting their own cloud-based tools. Sounds simple right? Well, IT also has the important job of overseeing and governing the various tools being used. So once IT recognizes a powerful new solution in various pockets of the organization, how do they unify the business units around that one solution? Especially when looking at competing cross-departmental products, choosing one solution and driving adoption is risky and often laden with resistance. This is largely due to one universal truth: changing people’s behavior is hard.

But effective change management is more than just having a solution that is simple to set up. Driving adoption of tools requires integrations with familiar legacy products as a stepping-stone to “get people there”. It also helps to have support from the vendor to move things along. In this blog, I talk about the importance of choosing enterprise tech that is designed to facilitate change management in order to measurably increase adoption rates.

User-friendly cloud solutions are great, but they won’t ensure user adoption

I won’t waste your time by echoing the benefits of cloud-based enterprise solutions, and I also won’t claim that “the cloud” will solve all your IT concerns. Cloud-based implementations have their own roadblocks, but many CIOs agree that it’s not the technology which stymies a cloud computing project, it’s the human dimension. In other words, some cloud products are simply asking too much of business users to change behavior, and while those cloud solutions may offer genuine benefits, legacy products are often just too familiar and comfortable.

But as the move to cloud goes mainstream, it’s become apparent that integration with legacy systems is critical to facilitate change management, as evidenced by record demand for IT talent with the skills to integrate new solutions with existing enterprise systems. But in order to ensure success, IT needs to also carefully select cloud products that are built to facilitate user adoption. For example, cloud solutions need to recognize the importance of identity management so that IT doesn’t need to worry about manually provisioning users onto new systems or be concerned that departing employees retain access to confidential documents. A robust API also opens the door for creative integrations and space for IT to design bespoke products using 3rdparty vendor data.

Finally, legacy tools like Microsoft SharePoint, the Office suite, and Outlook are well-entrenched in the daily workflow of many enterprise users, and any new solutions from vendors that don’t acknowledge that fact are setting themselves up for failure. Human behavior is hard to change, so cloud-based file sharing and collaboration solutions need a comprehensive strategy to integrate with the sticky tools that business users are familiar with, while meeting the IT goals of secure and agile products with variable cost structures.

Seek cloud solutions with an integration strategy

Change management won’t be solved by agile cloud technology alone, but vendors with a realistic appreciation for user behavior will be able to work with you to ensure adoption. Today we released Huddle for Office, an integration that connects Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to a secure cloud workspace to share, comment, and collaborate around one version of your files. The effect of this integration cannot be understated, as it allows users to maintain the familiar workflow of creating and saving documents, while layering on powerful collaboration features.

Moreover, many IT and business users loathe SharePoint, but as an expensive and deeply entrenched legacy product, it’s also not going away soon. Bloated legacy software is often under-utilized due to its complexity, as evidenced by how SharePoint is often used as a basic document repository. So we offer a service to seamlessly bring those documents to the cloud to delight users with a beautiful solution that’s empowers both external and internal collaboration.

You should also seek vendors who align their internal success metrics with complete adoption of their products. Huddle’s Customer Success team offers a 100% guarantee that your user groups will be trained and using the product actively, a confident declaration that comes from a well-integrated product and a dedicated team with expertise in change management.

Why you should start looking now

Some legacy systems, like SharePoint, are often so entrenched into the business that IT feels it’s too daunting a task to displace them. However, while business users are taking it upon themselves to finance their own IT, IT has an opportunity now to embrace this trend and implement tools that both meet the goals of IT while delighting users.

Savvy IT professionals are starting to recognize that a modern solution with a seamless integration can be a powerful first step to weaning yourself off of those legacy products over the next year. If you’ve made it this far in the blog, take two extra minutes to learn more about our integrations or take a quick tour of the product.

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Nick Fisher


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