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Why Digital Initiatives Fail: Poor Implementation and Support

Why Digital Initiatives Fail: Poor Implementation and Support

Your firstline workers face critical challenges and you need business results. What’s the solution? In many cases, technology is an excellent remedy—but only if it’s developed and implemented correctly. In other blogs, we’ve discussed common reasons digital solutions for mobile workers fail, including lack of strategic planning and designing solutions from a boardroom.

However, let’s imagine your development team nailed those two steps, creating a solid business strategy and incorporating plenty of end-user feedback into the final solution. Unfortunately, this is the point where many organizations make an enormous success-busting mistake: not focusing enough on strong implementation, user engagement, and ongoing support of the new solution.


The problem

Many companies spend months and thousands—or even millions—of dollars creating a digital solution to support their firstline workers, but then put it in the field with little to no implementation strategy. They might offer users a little up-front training (with no ongoing support) or may just blindly send the solution into the field.

After the time and resource commitment of creating an effective digital solution, implementation is often a step that is simply overlooked by companies eager to see their investment in action. However, it is a fatal mistake. Even the most intuitive technology tools won’t succeed on a large scale without training and support, both up-front and ongoing.

Each worker has different experience levels and comfortability with technology, plus there will be varying levels of resistance to change. Without a clear implementation and support plan, the solution has no chance of long-term success.


The consequences

Significant consequences are felt by all three main stakeholder groups when the implementation and training stage is forgotten.

Field workers/end users

Without proper training and ongoing support, many workers will never use the solution at all out of frustration, either because they don’t know how or don’t feel bought in. Other workers may try the new technology out, but without widespread adoption, usage rates will taper. Even if up-front training is provided, long-term user engagement and adoption isn’t likely if there isn’t also new-hire training and ongoing support available.

IT/ development team

The best digital solutions are not just sent into the world and forgotten, but rather evaluated, iterated on, and enhanced as time goes on. Without widespread adoption and ongoing user engagement, it’s impossible to understand how workers are using the solution and how to improve it.

Business leaders/ organization

The operations leaders who spearheaded this project (and the organization as a whole) perhaps take the biggest hit in terms of consequences. If the firstline workers aren’t using the solution at a high rate, the original business objectives will not be achieved. That means all the time and money spent creating the solution was wasted, with no understanding of the effectiveness or results of the tool.


How to do it right

When rolling out a new digital solution to your firstline workforce, it’s critical to create an implementation plan to ensure adoption, buy-in, and long-term utilization. Consider the following components.

  • Upfront training is a must, to teach every worker how to use the technology effectively and answer questions as needed. This should include digital training and engagement tools incorporated into the solution, such as in-app guidance & assessments to help workers navigate the new application.
  • Up-front training is only the start; ongoing coaching is also critical for successful long-term adoption. Again, digital training & engagement tools can be useful in assisting users when they get stuck and guiding users through additional features.
  • Because technology is sure to have hiccups, ongoing user support is essential to troubleshoot issues and answer one-off questions.
  • New employees will need to be trained as well, so a new employee training program should be created.
  • Finally, use digital training & engagement tools to analyze adoption to ensure the solution is achieving predetermined goals and gather regular user feedback to continually enhance the solution to best fit your workers’ needs.


A successful initiative start to finish

Interested in more tips for managing successful digital initiatives—-and avoiding common mistakes? Check out this guide, which includes a checklist that will help your team hit the right marks from start to finish.

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