We’ve all done it: you successfully jumped through all the hoops to buy that fancy new technology with all the bells and whistles that are going to change your life... and then promptly proceeded to use only one-fourth of the features. It’s easy to fall back into old patterns. But now that you’ve won over your procurement team with a flashy parade of “new features” and “ROI” and “long-term cost savings”, here’s how to make sure to truly get the value out of your software purchase. Remember, teams are getting leaner every day, and many IT teams are beginning to implement usage audits or similar measures to make sure every purchase is worthwhile. Don’t get called out for low usage. In the future, a Low Volume User may be even worse than Guy who Brought his Tuna Sandwich to a Meeting. Dark!
Onboard asap. My first tip to get maximum usage out of your software purchase is to begin the onboarding process right away. How quickly you onboard is the first true signal about how important this new software really is to your company. By jumping right in, you impress urgency upon your team. Many vendors report that time-to-onboard is the single biggest predictor of usage volume over time. Moral of the story? Start strong; have high usage all year long. That’s a usage poem. It’s yours to keep.
Use your support resources. An all-too-common reason new software is underutilized is because teams realize they don’t actually know how to use it as well as they thought. Again, we’ve all been there.The software vetting process is intense and fast-paced. You may be more focused on convincing the powers-that-be rather than investigating the software to the fullest extent. Honestly, even if you’ve gone through multiple demos and done all the due diligence, there are still questions that will slip through the cracks. That is why it is important that when you buy a new software, you utilize your support resources from the vendor. Does your software come with an account manager? That person is your new best friend. They can teach you everything you need to know, from the basics to the secret superhero features that you’d never know on your own. No account manager? Is there a resource and education section on the software website? Watching the product tutorials and webinars, and reading the eBooks in these sections are a great and stealthy way to get up to speed in no time. And if all else fails, remember there is no such thing as a dumb question when you’re learning a new technology.
Evangelize and Increase adoption. A final great way to get the most from your software purchase is to socialize it within your org and enroll as many users as possible. Using single systems makes for better collaboration and helps you stop The Process Wars. No more instances of your Google-Doc-loving Product Manager busting over to demand where the latest product one-pager is–even though you’ve sent him the Asana link twenty times. So that’s a perk. To bring this back to the topic at hand; increased adoption generally brings more value to the company. This is not a one-(wo)man job! Find a few enthusiastic early adopters on your team who love your new software and are eager to help everyone up to speed. Most software is seat-based and offers lower costs per head as you scale up your users. Save money and work more efficiently by having your whole team on the same page.
By using what you already have and milking that technology for all its worth, you can feel truly validated in your purchase and be good steward of your company’s budget. In my experience, the right technology can give you back hours a day - but only if you have the discipline and the focus to maximize your usage.