Many of us have been there.  Your organisation makes a strategic decision to run Enterprise Applications from mainstream SaaS vendors or have applications deployed in the cloud.  It’s a new world that promises faster deployment, access to best practice and cutting-edge solutions that involve little downtime and applications that are upgraded while we sleep.

Your Business Analysts and the chosen vendor do a great job of working with user groups to run workshop after workshop to tease out detailed requirements.  Many of these changes are rubber stamped by the Project Sponsor and signed off by the Project Board.

Because the most experienced users are enlisted for the UAT, this runs without significant hitches, the configuration and customisations are accepted and the UAT team signs off.  Remaining small changes and fixes are implemented and “go live” is organised.  The final phase of user training takes place and there’s an air of positive anticipation offset by just a twinge of anxiety and uncertainty.

Monday morning and everyone is on the system, expectations are high, users are getting to grips with the new interface and the mood is good.

And then it happens.  Slowly but steadily, users voice difficulties in using the system.  Reports are run and these show that some of the data is clearly “out”; in this context “out” is a little less dramatic substitute for the word “wrong”.  A group of more outspoken users report (moan) that the new system isn’t quite the same as the old one and things seem to take a lot longer.

An edict goes out to Departmental Managers and Team Leaders to ensure that their groups are “properly engaging” with the new system.  This is translated by some as “double down and make it work”.

Overnight, IT reports that no less than 5,432 records need to be updated because users misunderstood the meaning of one of the fields and entered wrong data.  Nobody flags that only 1,845 records were correctly entered during the same period.

Driven by the realisation that they must fix the errors, some users begin to get upset; it’s fair to state that a mood of disillusionment and discontent descends on the organisation.  Using a popular vernacular: “the User Experience sucks”.

The Operations Director works with HR and IT leadership to organise additional, urgent training; supervisors are asked to run more frequent reports to help identify and tackle data quality as well as “remaining problems with application use”.

But alas, as if guided by the script of a dark comedy, further problems arise.  More data has been entered incorrectly and now there’s evidence that some users aren’t following process guidelines for an important free-text field.

The final straw comes when somebody edits a standard report and saves it with the same name.  Now the report is wrong, the data is wrong and there’s no mitigation plan.  The consultants have left the building.

It could have been so different.

A Software Adoption solution ( would have eliminated many of these problems.  Firstly, Application Usage Analytics deployed during UAT would have clearly flagged potential data field accuracy issues.  Plus, the combination of comprehensive help, guidance and data field verification that are fully aligned with your organisational policies and procedures would have addressed these common new application challenges.

And, if it’s difficult for existing users who have the advantage of tacit knowledge, how do you think that new employees will fare?

In addition to help, guidance and workflow, Software Adoption solutions typically include automation capabilities.  These make the task of running routine reports or the execution of time-consuming repetitive tasks quick and free of the risk of user error.

Usage Tracking and Analytics should run continuously to feed into a Kaizen-style, continuous improvement regime so that the last penny of value can be extracted from the new system.  Equally as important, the critical goodwill and trust of employees can be preserved; as users become more proficient, they may start to “adopt and adore” the new system too.

If you’re interested in learning more about deploying important but minor changes to new applications in a more agile way, please get in touch.

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