How to Drive Technology Adoption

Charlene OHanlon

Dimension Data, a provider of IT services, understands that sometimes, technology doesn't sell itself.
No matter how cool, how whiz-bang, how neat-o a technology is, there comes a time when customers will simply shrug their shoulders and say, 'Nah.'

That has been the case with unified communications, the IT services company believes. So rather than let its customers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on technologies its employees may never use, Dimension Data has developed an internal marketing and awareness campaign that melds IT expertise with the skills of the marketing department to help spur adoption.

The campaign, called the Adoption Management Program (AMP), which the company is rolling out this week at VoiceCon to its customers, grew out of a campaign Dimension Data rolled out to its internal workforce when it implemented unified communications.

Mitch Hershkowitz, national solutions manager at Dimension Data, said employees were not sold on the benefits of unified communications, and needed a push to use the technology.

'When we rolled out unified communications at our company, we encountered some adoption issues,' he said. 'The problem was not how to use the technology, because we had training programs for that, but more that people were just confused as to what it means to their daily lives. We decided we needed more than just training.'

Over 400 hours of labor later, Dimension Data developed a campaign that included educational tools, promotional tools and measurement tools. The result? The program drove an adoption rate of 95 percent in two months, which contributed to a 50 percent reduction in travel costs.

Dimension Data knew it was on to something. And it was something its customers could use as well.

'In speaking to the field, we saw a real need for this. IT departments don't have the expertise to roll out communications pieces, and the communications departments don't have the expertise to roll out the IT pieces. This bridges that gap,' said Lisa Grimes, director of corporate communications for Dimension Data.

AMP is available as a self-service program, with all of the collateral provided in their native formats via a thumb drive, for $30,000. Dimension Data also offers a fully customizable option, for which the company will provide whatever the customer needs. The price for that varies on what is needed and how long it takes. Hershkowitz notes that $30,000 is just a fraction of the cost of implementing a unified communications system.

'One of my peers calls it protection of investment,' he said. 'It allows customers to feel secure that they invested all this money in hardware, software and licensing and it's actually going to be used.'

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