Are you struggling with new system implementation?
That’s because it’s hard, no matter how big or small the change is.
These changes fall into four categories:
- Complex software – like an ERP
- Simple software – like Extelli
- Mixed systems – like an Excel-based reporting process that jumps in and out of tabs and browsers and share drive locations
- Updates – like process changes or the latest product upgrade
If you’ve been deploying systems for a while, you already know a big challenge is ahead.
We’re exploring why systems adoption is so challenging, best practices for system adoption, and how Extelli makes it downright easy to deploy, support, and scale systems by turning your users into collaborators. The gist:
- To deploy systems faster and better, you need to create a common language, provide a self-service library, and teach and learn from users
- Extelli provides the only operations-first platform to turn users into collaborators
Why System Implementation Is Hard
The short answer: people resist change.
But that’s not a great answer for your organization because you need the new system to grow revenue, retain customers, and/or reduce costs.
Let’s take a look at the main challenges:
- User Acceptance
- Integration with Current Systems and Data
- Security and Compliance
The system has to work seamlessly with people and other systems. Issues pop up during development and deployment. Like when launching a new product to a market, the early experiences are most important psychologically.
People dislike change. They have a way that works for them. This means any change is automatically perceived as “more difficult”. It’s essential to involve power users early, provide initial and ongoing training, and great ongoing support. Most importantly, the user must understand how the new system improves their life.
Integration with Current Systems and Data
Moving data from legacy systems to new systems can be challenging, especially when dealing with large volumes of data. Organizations must ensure the data is accurate, complete, and migrated securely and efficiently.
Creating integrations with current systems can be complex and time-consuming. You will inevitably find unexpected problems, too.
The system – and related training and support – has to grow with your team. This includes demand, usage, and unique uses. This can add to hardware, software, and human capital costs. Great systems become more effective as they grow.
Any new system includes visible and hidden costs. Visible costs are easy; they’re what you agreed to pay for. Hidden costs are more frustrating: expensive support, integrations not mentioned during the buying process, retraining, and finding out you need an FTE to support the system that promised to reduce headcount.
Buried in all this is opportunity cost: the cost of working on this system instead of your next highest-value activity.
Security and Compliance
The system has to meet your rules and the rules of the customers and industries you serve. These requirements can be complex and create unexpected challenges.
It may feel like you have months of high-risk, high-cost work ahead. Is the work even worth it?
Best Practices For System Implementation
Project Management is an entire profession that we won’t summarize here. The good news? Making system adoption is as easy as turning your users into collaborators.
Turning users into collaborators is a superpower. With everyone onboard, incentivized, and given a voice, you can leverage everyone’s real-time experience to do the job quickly.
How do you create collaborators to make system adoption easy?
- Create a common language
- Provide a self-service library
- Teach users and learn from them
Create a Common Language
Every business problem is a people problem. People who speak a common language resolve problems and create great outcomes easily.
Your first step is to create a common language.
For system adoption, this is best done visually with supporting content.
The “How To Guide” is the industry standard. But these take a long time to create, are hard to keep updated, and depend on one power user with a limited perspective.
Tools like Loom, Extelli, and Guru emerged to tackle this problem.
Provide a Self-Service Library
Once you’ve created a common language, it’s time to make it available to everyone. No one wants to chase you down to learn how to use the system. They want to answer their own question fast.
With their classic sub-folder structure, file directories organize information in a hierarchy. Still, they can be tough to navigate and manage and do a mediocre job of contextualizing information. It’s a lot like how foreign language classes teach you many words and phrases but not how to converse.
The good news is that by creating a common visual-based language, you already have the materials for your library. Now it must be accessible for every user, on-demand, without complex training for finding information.
Teach Users and Learn From Them
“Build it and they will come” is the fatal flaw of any deployment. People are busy. They won’t waste one minute learning your new library unless you teach them.
Unfortunately, typical education happens in boring webinars months before someone needs the system or as one-off inbox requests and calls. You don’t have time for that.
Education has to be easy to create, assign, track, and complete.
But there’s a hidden risk: if you teach users the wrong information, they will lose trust in you… and may not even tell you!
This is best managed by creating a relationship with your users. After all, they spend more time in the system than you do. And they know their unique situation. And their unique challenges.
Instead of making education a monologue, make it a dialogue. Give your users a voice. Show them when you improve your information with their feedback. Make them a co-editor.
This is a lot to ask from any team, much less any software. The good news? We made a knowledge management system that helps you bring it all together.
How Extelli Makes System Implementation Easy
Creating a common language. Managing a self-service library. Teaching and learning from users.
Modern knowledge management systems address one or two of these challenges. They’re usually built solely for internal use or for your Customer Success team to support customers.
But you need an integrated solution for teams, partners, and customers. That’s Extelli.
Create knowledge 10x faster
Making a simple 5-step process can take 10 minutes for the fastest creator. Loom recordings are great… until you make a mistake or the process changes. And not everyone loves learning an on-screen process from a fast-moving video.
It all starts with a click. Turn on your extension and click through your process. Extelli turns every click into a screenshot with a highlighted step and automatic step name. The same 5-step process can be documented and shared in 30 seconds.
Need to edit images, add descriptions, rearrange steps, or replace screenshots with new images, GIFs, flowcharts, links, and embedded videos? That’s easy.
Imagine spending a single afternoon building an entire support library that would have taken weeks. That’s the power of Extelli.
A self-service Library for everyone
The Guide you just made in 30 seconds now lives in your Extelli Library for anyone to find when needed.
Want a toolbox for a common problem? Assign a handful of Guides to a Collection.
Wanted a guided learning path that can be assigned to team members, partners, and customers? Assign sequenced Guides to a Learning Module.
Need a hand? Turn your super users into Authors who can make and edit content with you.
Self-service Libraries can be created even faster than Guides with Extelli.
The knowledge is documented… in one afternoon. Learning Modules – “Onboarding for Salesforce” – are auto-assigned to every new user. Your work seems almost done.
Until a step is wrong. Or the system changes. Or a new question appears in your inbox.
Coming soon, Extelli will empower users to flag any step with one click. You’ll be notified, quickly upgrade the Guide, and republish, and the user will be notified.
You didn’t waste time reviewing old content for updates. The user showed you the new best knowledge. And best of all, you now have a healthy relationship with that user.
They’re more than an anonymous user now – they’re a collaborator.
This is how you calm the chaos, bring your people, process, and product operations together, and deploy your new system faster and better.
Extelli: The System Deployment Team In Your Pocket
We’ve covered a lot today. Here’s a recap:
System adoption is hard – technical, risk, cost, scale, and user adoption all play a role.
Great adoption happens when you create a common language, provide a self-service library, and teach and learn from users.
Extelli provides the only operations-first platform for:
- Documenting knowledge in seconds, not weeks
- Providing self-service libraries even faster than documentation
- Teaching users and turning them into collaborators
It’s like eight extra hands on your team for the cost of a team lunch.
If Extelli doesn’t become your team’s go-to knowledge manager in 30 days, your next month is on us.
Join the Conversation
Extelli lives in the world we’re discussing here… and we would love for you to join the conversation. Check out our post about this topic on LinkedIn.