• Swathi Young

What you can learn from advertisements to increase user adoption of enterprise software

​“15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance” immediately makes you think of GEICO. By hearing this multiple times, the adage is stuck in your head and the next time you pay your car insurance, I’m sure you have thought about GEICO at least once to see if there are potential savings.

Most organizations today are challenged with justifying their IT budget due to poor user adoption of new software. This also leads to productivity loss, wastage of resources and a disrespectful outlook of the IT department.

You can learn from the world of commercial advertisements ‘rate of adoption’ technique very successfully when introducing new software applications in an organization. If there is a manual process being automated or new software replaces the old (think Oracle Sales being replaced by Salesforce.com), the ROI (return on investment) and the potential savings can only be achieved if more and more users start utilizing the newly introduced application.

The challenge is that old habits die hard and users would rather stick to their tried and tested methods.

Here are 4 tricks that can help you increase the rate of adoption:

First, make an awesome application. If the application is bad, the adoption rate would be low, that is a given. Enterprise applications have a bad reputation of having terrible user interfaces. Ensure that the UI is fun as well as easy to use. Invest as much time in building the UI as you would on features. Slack has proved that it is possible to do so.


This should be your highest priority while building the application.


Second, communicate and over-communicate. Use all the methods available  – in-person training, webinars as well as automated pre-recorded trainings. Have a countdown for the launch date. Send periodic emails with catchy headlines. Utilizing these methods multiple times leads to an “advertisement” effect that piques users’ curiosity.Make it user-centric instead of tech-centric. Meet with the users periodically and get feedback. Prioritize the feedback and let them know which ones you would be working on.


Initially you would be frustrated with the amount of feedback from everyone but this has a two-fold effect – 1. Users love being heard and 2. Users feel that they were a part of the building process and hence would be excited to use something that they were involved with.Early Adopters are key to your software’s success.


Collect quotes of enthusiasm from these folks and display on corridors in your office. Bonus points for awesome wall art. This attracts attention, maintains interest and helps grow your user base.I have used most of the above techniques effectively when we rolled out new scheduling software and measured the rate of adoption increase from 18% to upward of 78%.

What are you doing to increase your adoption rates?

Please share your thoughts in the comments or tweet me @SwathiYoung.

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