The main cause of user adoption issues in Dynamics 365

In this pilot episode we will be talking about a recent poll we made in which we asked "What is the main cause of user adoption issues in Dynamics 365 projects." - A solid poll with over 12.000 industry people viewing the poll and more than 300 participating.

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The quick overview

This podcast takes a look at the the landscape of Digital Adoption.

Listen in when Microsoft Dynamics 365 MVP Rick McCutcheon and ClickLearn CEO Joachim Schiermacher invites industry expert to talk about Digital Adoption.

In this pilot episode we will be talking about a recent poll we made in which we asked “What is the main cause of user adoption issues in Dynamics 365 projects.” – A solid poll with over 12.000 industry people viewing the poll and more than 300 participating. 

Listen and watch to the podcast on YouTube

The full transcript

What are the main causes of user adoption issues in Dynamics 365 projects?

[00:00:00] Digital adoption across the Microsoft Cloud

Rick McCutcheon: Hello, my name’s Rick McCutcheon and I want to thank you for spending your valuable time today tuning into the Digital Adoption Talk Show. I’m an eight time recipient of the Microsoft Dynamics MVP Award for the category of business applications, and one of my longtime business obsessions has been helping organizations to improve digital adoption for their CRM users.

But now there are over 300,000 business professionals with digital adoption in their job titles on LinkedIn. So we thought it would be a good time to expand the subject matter of this show to cover digital adoption across the Microsoft Cloud. To do this, I’ll be working with another digital adoption expert, Joachim Schiermacher, the CEO of ClickLearn.

[00:01:00] Expert working with digital adoption and user adoption for the last 12 years

Joachim Schiermacher: Hey Rick. Really good to be here. Super excited about our first episode kicking off today. As, you mentioned, I’m the c e O of ClickLearn. We have been working with digital adoption and user adoption for the last 12 years. I’m an extremely happy person. When you mentioned that we now have 300,000 professionals, so seems that at least some of the work that we’ve been doing is been useful.

 Rick McCutcheon: I thought we’ve been planning this event for quite some time, so a few weeks ago I put a poll up on LinkedIn and we wanted to find out what other Microsoft business applications professionals thought about digital adoption. So we asked the question, what is the main cause of user adoption issues in Dynamics 365 projects?

And we had somewhere over 12,000. Professionals view the poll and over 300 actually participated in the poll. So we had a, pretty good cross section of consultants, developers, people that work for Microsoft. So it was really, good feedback and what came out, number one is what we thought.

[00:02:00] What is the main cause of user adoption issues in D 365 projects?

Number one at 50% was lack of training. Number two at 21% was poor design number three at 14% was lack of support. And the remainder 15% was of various other reasons. I just wanted to get your feedback on that poll.

Joachim Schiermacher: I don’t think it’s surprising in any way. The, lack of training should be at the very top of things. I think what’s more interesting is what, what’s hiding inside the other category. I’m hoping that we’ll get a chance to investigate that a little bit together. 

[00:03:00] Digital adoption solutions merge support and training

I think that when you, when we look at, one of the things that I can see in, in terms of user adoption is that the two disciplines of support and training are getting merged together inside a digital adoption solution. So, in a sense we are trying we, are doing that in various ways. We are doing various communications  around that. We’re saying we are reducing the workload on the support team by having in-app guidance inside the applications.
But I think that if you take the two and, merge them together and say they’re basically, they are a. Know, there might be the, same spear that we are looking at and the same problem area, then I think that, the poll really shows that that’s a, that we still have a long way to go.

Rick McCutcheon: A absolutely. And I’ve been teaching this subject through the user group community for 20 years user adoption and productivity and different subjects around mostly crm and. When I went into a project, usually as an mvp, I never got into a project that was easy. It seemed that I got into a project that was having problems.

[00:04:00] Project planning needs a user adoption phase

So I get into a project and we’d really look at how they put the whole thing together. And what I realized very quickly is you gotta break it down into three areas. You gotta break it down into your design, right? And getting understanding what people do and how they work today. The build has to be a phase to develop the application.

And then a phase has to be what I called user adoption, right? Which is user training, user support, coaching, all kinds of things to make sure that the, technology was absorbed. And what I found really interesting, if the company had a project plan and we looked on that project plan, there may be one line. 200 lines of items. For training and a lot of times it would say, train the trainer. And those are the ones we always seem to have the problems with.

[00:05:00] Drive productivity with the right collaterals, available at the time of need

Joachim Schiermacher: Yeah. And I, think there’s something in the methodology that we’ve been using over the the last couple of decades in terms of, providing user training inside application spaces. So I think there’s something there that we, also need to look at. I think that the idea that we have a smiley test, which is basically what we are getting back from the training as a result Is, are you happy with your training? Did you have a good stay at the hotel? Did you enjoy Vegas?

That’s probably not the way that we are driving productivity for an everyday employee inside an application space. And I think that today we have the, technologies, I represent one of those companies that have the technology to replace the smiley test. With direct measurement of employee effectiveness and making sure that at the moment of need, you have the right training collateral available for you inside the application when you need it.

Not running through tons of videos but, giving you direct access to get your task done and learn as you go along.

[00:06:00] Training is not a one-time event

Rick McCutcheon: And when I was rolling out CRM systems, I would try to make the customer understand that training’s not a one-time event. It’s fantastic. We’re gonna, and it was usually at a sales meeting, I’d bring in the sales team and they would say, how long do you need to train them?
And it was usually at one hour on their agenda. I said, no, at least give me a half a day to get started. And we’d actually do a half a day training where I’d be instructing at the front and I’d say, we want an instructor in the back. I want somebody behind making sure somebody’s on our application, not doing emails right and right. That they’re following along and they’re doing it. And not only the sales team, I wanted the sales management in there too. They had to learn the system. So it was really we had to, plan the training. But then I, would say this is now gonna take three months over the next three months, we’re gonna plan out some more training.
 And this is before I ever saw product like ClickLearn where where we could digitize the training, give it to them in in very small pieces through video, through PowerPoints and, different formats. And really build a comprehensive training program, right?

[00:07:00] Training should be driven by user needs

Joachim Schiermacher: The transition from the event based training that we used to do in the good old days. And into something that is continuously running and, not on an event basis, but driven by user needs and driven by the, individual adoption of the users. That is basically where the entire industry is moving now. Right? now, and that is why we have 300,000 digital adoption specialists,

Rick McCutcheon: and we’re global. Even if we can pull people together for one day or two days or three days, they go back and. They go back and work in their own language which is always one of the, one of the things that was difficult to support.

Joachim Schiermacher: Technology like ours, it’s not about our technology today but, it’s more about the space. But technology like ours completely support that by making sure that we can use the original recording and basically iterate that across a number of different languages and provided in the user’s own language and across multiple regionalization of the user interface as well.

 [00:08:00] With technology, training is no longer only event-driven

So I think that today the technology is there for us to take a step in a different direction when we are talking about the, usual categories of this is training and afterwards comes support and, this is what the pyramid looks like. It should probably be turned around and say, look it’s, one big activity.
It’s no longer event driven. But it’s a consistent trainer that is with you on a daily basis that can make sure that you get more productive inside the application, which seems to be the only measurement of success, right? It’s not about the pool in Vegas or how great the stain was. It’s really about whether you’re driving the user engagement and, the user effectiveness.

Rick McCutcheon: And, don’t get me wrong, I still want to go to Vegas and help train people. By all means. We don’t wanna eliminate that piece.

Joachim Schiermacher: No,

[00:09:00] Results of poll – Point to increasing importance for digital adoption

Rick McCutcheon: All right let’s look at some of the comments that we actually got.
On the, yeah, on the poll. And I’ve gotta say we’ve had, I feel some of the people I know, these were top  consultants and dynamics who actually came in, and commented.

First of all, I’ll read off what Richard Hughes, and he’s from CRM 365. Now they’re all about digital adoption as well. They’ve got a really interesting application for going in and gathering requirements. So he says, as training is typically one of the last phases of the project. I have seen this element being overlooked as customers are running out of money and energy. Okay. It’s a shame as it’s the number one predictor of the customer adopting the solution and gaining the benefits they were looking for.

[00:09:40] Why do people not budget for training?

Joachim Schiermacher: I think that they do. I think that in the beginning I think that most people are not training specialists, so they do not really understand the impact of training. And it’s one of those it’s, an item, right? You, look at the entire quote that you’re getting from your vendor.

You look at it’s, one item says, Here’s your training. A tradition is handled by we, are gonna train a couple of super users and then they’re gonna train you. And we know that there’s dilution of knowledge inside that entire framework. So that’s not exactly working the way that we want it to.

But I think that originally the budget is there. What happens is that now the features right? When you’re looking at this from an IT perspective. Yeah, good point. It’s more important that we can actually do the quote, we didn’t really plan for that we need to do some amendments here, so I’m gonna steal somewhere inside that project.

[00:10:32] Don’t nickel and dime with training

And what’s it’s always an activity in the future and nothing is more in the future right now than the training. It’s the very last one. So I’m just gonna sock that up and at the end you’ll be you’ll be down to nickel and diming. And, basically you’re looking at something like, we’ll do the Tencent training, or we are gonna skip it all together.

[00:11:00] Skimping on training leads to poor user adoption

I’ve seen projects, large projects being where you’re saying, oh look we, don’t need the training. We’ll just do that somehow internally and, then two, two months later, they’re coming back to the vendor and say, take down the software. Doesn’t work. But absolutely no fault of the software, obviously.

Rick McCutcheon: So there, there could be something to this that the person who owns the project at this point, when they’re building it may not own training. Exactly. And if they don’t own training, then I’m not really concerned about it.

Joachim Schiermacher: Exactly. And that it’s a, it’s another department’s happening somewhere else in, the entire chain. And it has absolutely no impact and I, as long as it’s not my problem and it’s probably not a problem at all.

[00:11:35] The lack of change management strategy is a key adoption blocker

Rick McCutcheon: Here’s another good comment from Matthew Mead from Microsoft. I think the lack of change management strategy once a deployment is live, is a key adoption blocker. Having a steering committee set up of super users from across the business who are the voice of the end users and capture any new requirements is important.

[00:12:00] Change management strategy helps through the pains of change

This helps the pain of change and ensures ideas get prioritized and implemented. I’ve seen this done well only a few times. So why only a few times do they actually get the user community involved with a project?
Joachim Schiermacher: Yeah it follow the money. Rick the money is there when we start out the project.

There’s a ton of money in there. Right there. There’s money to buy the server. There’s money to install the software. There’s money to do the train. There’s everything set out in the budget. It’s probably a large budget when we get to change management, not so much because we still consider the idea of around software to be a one off. It’s a one off. Yeah. You, buy it, you implement it. And then we’ve taken the entire workload. Now we are only harvesting the benefits. Yeah. 

[00:13:00] Allocate resources for version 2, not just version 1

We can actually see that not just in the change management of the application itself. That’s extremely important, the idea that there’s a version two and, that we, control the releases and make sure that we also listen in on the user group to their needs and we  allocate money to actually serve those needs. Because otherwise you’re stuck with the worst possible experience in version one, right? And now you’re just living with it. But we actually see the same pattern going on when it comes to training, right? There’s money and training right after the installation. And then there’s absolutely nothing when the changes come into the system, right?

There’s no money, there’s no money to keep the chain the, training current or to retrain the users. And that’s a gigantic problem. So no one is serving that audience that, that are now getting in the new features. And that’s important because back in the good old days of on-prem software, we had a rollout maybe once or twice a year, of new applications.

[00:14:00] People are working across systems, making standardized training difficult

Rick McCutcheon: Now in the cloud world, it’s continuous. And we’re not working in one application, especially if we’re following the, Microsoft cloud strategy, we’re working across dynamic CRM business Central or finance. Then we’re working across teams into SharePoint, into Outlook. Like we’re going exactly across applications now.

Joachim Schiermacher: Yeah. I agree. The, mainframes are out, right. We’re not in a single system anymore. It’s a complex hybrid. It’s a really, large amount of of products that we have. And we are using on a daily basis and the individual for each company as well. So that makes the standardized training really difficult. I think that one of the things that people should look at when they’re investing in something like a training solution, saying, good, we know that we have 12, 15 software projects coming along this year. And that’s, the pace we are going at now, right?

 [00:15:00] Make sure accommodate the update cycles in training

It’s no longer the one of every second year. I think that they should be looking at something that’s maintainable. So maintainability how do we keep that updated? This is possible with that solution to keep it updated constantly. Because what’s gonna happen is once you’re in inside an environment, you’re gonna see that your application’s now being rolled on.

It’s just happening automatically. And you have no validity in terms of your own processes, whether they’re actually still working on day three, and you have no way of delivering those new features to, to the end users. They’re basically taking on a really large pallet of services and they’re getting absolutely no train.

So I think that is something to look at when you’re looking at, this, those option solution. Find something out there that actually is capable of updating the collateral very, easily. Automated. And, then I think it’s it’s, really interesting to see that that what is happening on the vendor side as well, right?

[00:16:00] Responsibility for training is being passed on to vendors

Because part of the responsibility for the training was typically with the customers, but the customers now facing these large amount of digital training projects and they’re saying, forget about it. I’m not doing 12-15 trainings for my staff annually. You should have a model for that.

You’re the vendor. You should know how to do this, right? It should be part of your proposition. So my expectations is now that look you’re gonna help me on the training part. You’re gonna, you’re gonna make sure that our, customers are there because your software is now running at a rate that’s much lower than if it was a petrol license, right?

So you are easy to get out. If I don’t like your software, then I’ll let you out. And I don’t care whether it’s about user adoption or functionality. I’m just gonna throw down and, that is something for the vendor to look into now that there’s an, increase in the demands that are coming from the customer side, that we are seeing that the, responsibility of the training and this training solution you’re providing, that should also be up to par.

[00:17:00] The number of applications may be problematic for user adoption

Rick McCutcheon: You know what’s interesting too? I’m, thinking about the ISV vendor. Vendor, right? Because in a typical, let’s say an F&O finance project, there may be 10, 15 ISV vendors. In a CRM project, there may be three or four or five. Yeah. Or someone building custom power apps applications.

So all these little things that really need to be captured as part of digital adoption because. They’re getting pushed in all the time. And those applications, even though people are gonna try to make ’em look like the core dynamics, they’re gonna look and operate a little bit differently.

Joachim Schiermacher: Yeah. And, that’s a massive problem, especially if you are you are a small, medium sized ISV. That’s a massive problem. You probably need to have multiple regions multiple languages provided with, your training solution, you need to have something that’s running inside your application space so that it you don’t need to perform the manual training.

[00:18:00] Run training & support so end users can achieve maximum performance

For each user, you are now really relying on that revenue stream coming in as well. And there’s less money in that. So, your entire business is pushed as well to the limits in terms of are you gonna hire the new developer or are you gonna get someone in with a digital adoption specialist that can help me do the training?

I think that I think that the ISVs, they absolutely will need to look at this podcast and to to get a sense of how do we effectively run our business in terms of not just looking at, training perspective, but the support perspective as well. Making sure that our end users are performing to the absolute maximum of what they can do.

Rick McCutcheon: Yeah. When I talk to ISVs about digital adoption, it’s almost three areas. They’ve got training, they’ve got support, and they need custom documentation. Yeah. All really part of digital adoption.

[00:19:00] Transform business with affordable, scalable training in-the-moment, inside applications

Joachim Schiermacher: A agreed and all of this it’s the single solution. Yeah, it’s a single solution to the problem.
You need to reconsider, go away from the event driven model that you’ve been running your training on and go into another model that, that is customer self-serviced at the moment of need inside the applications. That is where you should be looking to transform your business.
And it’s not impossible, and it’s not it’s not gonna be a key business cost for you. You, are able to do that today.

Rick McCutcheon: So the, last quote we’re gonna look at is from Richard Dennis, who’s the CRM practice lead over at Think Max. And he said, what a great question. Thank you Richard.

Typically but not always. I see adoption challenges centered around the lack of training and organizational change management, cus customers try and reduce project cost by eliminating effective training. Unfortunately, this is where the rubber meets the road and the end users buy-in is critical.

So I think it’s the organizational change management piece that we sometimes leave out of these projects.

[00:20:00] Effective training should not be only event-based

Joachim Schiermacher: Yeah, and I think it’s really interesting because one of the things that we do when we are running the event-driven training is that we are catering for the audience of today. We are not at all looking at what does our organization look like in two years?

The ones who are on board now, they get the Vegas trip. The ones that are coming a month later, they get absolutely nothing, right? They, don’t even get the t-shirt.

Rick McCutcheon: And we’re lucky if they get any training. 

[00:20:29] Keep training open for everyone, especially when the organization is changing

Joachim Schiermacher: They probably and we seem to be satisfied with that model saying, look, as long as we have a large population inside our entire business being trained, then you know they’re, just gonna, the rest of ’em are just gonna sell it up.

It’s just not happening. It’s not how it happens. I have to say so, keeping a proposition open for everyone, including when the organization is changing. Meaning that new employees are coming in replacements.

[00:21:00] Take a quick replacement cycle into account in your training strategy

We are bringing a lot of technology into to blue collar worker areas as well, where the replacement cycle is somewhat different than, the normal office jobs. We, we need to take this into consideration.

Rick McCutcheon: Okay. Joachim, thanks for your time today because this was a great conversation on digital adoption. First one. The first one, right? In the future we’re gonna be talking more about this explosion to digital adoption and digital adoption applications such as your ClickLearn product.

[00:21:33] There’s enormous traction right now in digital adoption

And we’re also gonna start talking too. Some of these 300,000 digital adoption professionals that are out there that work in our dynamic space. So I’m very excited about what’s coming up. Do you have any sort of closing thoughts or remarks?

Joachim Schiermacher: I, really look forward to to doing complete series around this and, continuing the, efforts.
I think that there’s enormous traction right now and a movement going on and I just really look forward to participating in that.