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Implementation vs Adoption

A new technology system is only as good as its rate of adoption.
Organizations spend money and use resources to develop and implement a new system, but if it doesn’t get used, it falls flat.
Adoption is key.

“Everybody likes to talk about implementation but almost nobody talks about adoption,” says Paul Theisen, principal and founder of TAG CXO.
Implementation is money spent by the organization. Adoption, if done correctly and successfully, represents money made by the organization.

What is implementation?

Implementation is installing and configuring a new software system or tool and training the staff on how to use it. A system is implemented when it’s developed, funded and is in place and ready to go.

Often organizations use two metrics when implementing an IT project – is the project going to be on time and on budget?
Those are important factors, but they provide an incomplete measurement of success.

What is adoption?

“Adoption is a system that is implemented but that also gets used, and used successfully, and successfully achieves that for which it was intended,” Theisen says.

Adoption means the new system is embraced by the entire organization, becomes part of the workflow and, as a result, the users become more effective and achieve the desired outcome.

The path to adoption can be found by using a formula – U.S.D.A. – useful, simple, dependable and accessible.

  • Useful – ask the following questions: Is the system solving a problem or fulfilling a need? Is the system more desirable than the current program? Does it represent leverage? If not, it won’t be adopted. Each user will have an individual experience and the system must be useful to them. The new system must be seen as an alternative that’s much more desirable and efficient and helps get the job done in a way that’s more meaningful than yesterday.
  • Simple – if it’s too complex, even if it’s a useful tool, the user will be less likely to use it. A simple system shortens the training curve. A complex system means more money will be spent on training. By today’s design standards, software should be intuitive and easy to comprehend.
  • Assuming that the system is useful and simple, then how Dependable is it? It doesn’t matter how useful it is, how simple it is, how great it is, if it’s offline regularly and it’s not dependable, it’s not going to get used. Users will default to methods they trust and know, they’ll take the long way round because it’s comfortable. No matter how good the new system is, if it’s not always running, it won’t be used and it won’t be adopted.
  • “All day long the IT engine runs and is supposed to be dependable, reliable, offer predictable services, that’s the foundation of provisioning IT services,” Theisen says.
  • Is the system Accessible? Does the tool live where its users do? Is it at their computer, on a web browser? Can they access it by phone or on a device? Does the new system work and operate in all the environments its users are in? It should work when and where those users are ready to work, often that’s not just at a desk.

Utilizing the U.S.D.A. formula will ensure an organization adopts a new IT tool. Users will adopt it, use it and sell it to other people, and those investment dollars will start to pay dividends.

The CIOs at TAG CXO are well versed in IT systems implementation and adoption. Fractional CIO Paul Theisen recently built and launched a customized technology suite that was well received and has been successfully used by the organization. Read about Paul Theisen here:

About TAG CXO:

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, TAG CXO is a privately held company, providing Interim and Fractional IT leadership executives, founded in 2019. The company maintains a bench of industry-trained, enterprise-level executives, available on demand to mid-market CEOs. TAG CXO executives help to round out a firm’s leadership team and close the IT talent gap with fully qualified expertise, offering a more affordable, lower-risk option than hiring full-time staff. Learn more at: