Collaboration tools are evolving quickly and continuously, so the need for your workforce to move through the utilization phase and onto full collaboration tool adoption is vital for your business.
But why is adoption so important? And what are the factors limiting the progress from utilization to adoption?
What is the Difference between Utilization and Collaboration Tool Adoption?
Every day, we use our smartphones for hundreds of things – grocery lists, social media, taking notes, setting alarms or timers, calling and texting (of course), Zoom meetings, answering work and personal emails, listening to audiobooks or music – the list is never-ending.
What if you chose to only use your phone for calls and texts? Technically speaking, it’s what the main purpose of a cellphone has been since they were invented, right?
This is the difference between adoption and utilization, respectively.
Utilization is a fancy synonym for the word “use” – which means employees in this phase may be doing certain work in your collaboration platform, but they’re not using it to its fullest capabilities. For example, Microsoft Teams is much more than a chat platform – you can integrate hundreds of programs and apps, share text and multimedia files, and more.
As an adopter, I am constantly thinking of ways to make my smartphone do more for me, or do the same things faster or in a more convenient way. That’s the true value of adoption. And that’s also why adoption is often hard to achieve. If you or your staff are familiar with only the chat function of Microsoft Teams, you are missing out on the value and breadth this collaboration tool possesses.
It seems trivial when you think about it at first – if your staff can reach the utilization phase, odds are they are more productive, right? But reaching full adoption, like with the smartphone example, can open up other avenues of efficiency and reduce workplace anxiety.
Five Factors Affecting Collaboration Tool Adoption
Successful adoption is determined and undermined by a host of varying factors. Everett M. Rogers posited that there are five factors that influence the adoption of any innovative system or technology.
Relative advantage is the idea that the technology or tool you are implementing will be better or more helpful than the tool it is replacing. This is where many laggards will be born – if an employee perceives that the new collaboration tool is less helpful than the current tool, they will be slow to learn and implement the new tool into their workflow.
Compatibility is the measure of whether the new tool is consistent with the mission, vision, and values of your business and the culture therein. Essentially, does the tool “fit” into the office or company?
Complexity is the perceived difficulty level of the new tool – does it seem like learning the new functions will be user-friendly? If so, the road to adoption is much smoother.
Trialability is simply the ability to try (or have a trial period with) the functionality of the collaboration tool before it is implemented.
Giving employees and end-users the opportunity to explore the tool before it replaces the old system can often bolster confidence and willingness to adopt new technology.
Observability includes the ways in which the results of a new innovation or collaboration tool are able to be seen, or observed, and communicated to others. This is also a factor that can determine the rate of adoption. If the observability is high, if your employees are able to see the benefits and advantages of the tool in a measurable way, adoption will also be high.
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