Sometimes the hardest challenge in switching systems is not the data migration or translating business requirements, it is the adoption of the users. I have read many articles relating the retiring or replacing of a system to the 7 stages a person goes through while grieving.
We have recently been doing a number of system migrations fromSalesForce.com to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. During these migrations we have been getting questions from project managers and project sponsors about user acceptance. Frankly, the question should not be about user acceptance, it should be about user inclusion.
From our experience, if the users have not been actively involved with the design of the system, the users are less likely to accept the system. Even in the case of moving from SalesForce.com to Microsoft Dynamics CRM where the functionality and business processes are similar, the users can be organized to talk about existing pain points, screen layout, and missing functionality. If the users are part of the system selection process, given demos at the onset of the project, and asked questions about the current processes and issues, the user is going have more ownership in the system. At the end of the day, we want everyone to have skin in the game.
If the question of user acceptance is coming up right around go-live, there will probably not be much. At this point, it will be the job of the management to force compliance. Typically this comes at a time when management has not been all that involved in the design anyway, so it is becomes a painful process on all fronts.
Putting more time in up front to get everyone on board and let everyone have a say will save you time at the end.
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By: Bob Kanzler – New Jersey Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner