As part of our ongoing Technology Adoption series, we thought it would be helpful to capture and share the perspectives from a few industry leaders who face the challenge of technology adoption on a daily basis. Today we are pleased to share this contribution from Iasta.

8 Elements to Drive Value through Sustainable User Adoption (Part 1)

User adoption should be considered at the beginning of any engagement. A user adoption plan should be customized to accommodate the unique personality and requirements of your organization. This article outlines a Structured Rollout process that can be used to successfully drive user adoption.

Element 1: Establish a Steering Team
The Steering Team drives the eSourcing initiative, resolves conflicts and coordinates with vendor-partners. A balanced team is important to ensure various perspectives are included in meetings and decisions. Team members should feel comfortable with using technology, following processes and delivering presentations. The optimal size is of this team is 3-8 people. A larger group can become cumbersome and difficult to coordinate. However, you can include additional people via sub-committees led by individuals in the Steering Team.

The Executive sponsor and representatives from the Sourcing Team should be included on the Steering Team. You could include representatives from key stakeholder groups such as Finance, Legal, Operations, Manufacturing and Marketing as well. You should consider including someone from corporate communications so that information can be disseminated effectively, especially if you are from a larger organization with people in various locations. The organizational structure of the company will help dictate to what degree IT is included, whether on the Steering Team or as a sub-committee member.

Most Steering Teams meet frequently during the early phases of the Rollout (weekly) then less frequently after the foundation has been established (monthly). The critical element is regularity. The Steering Team should commit to regular status meetings to keep communication channels open and implement any needed adjustments.

Element 2: Conduct a Rollout Strategy Planning Meeting
The Rollout strategy meeting often takes place over a series of active and open discussion meetings because there are multiple areas to cover. The vendor-partner can play a critical role in these sessions as they are typically politically neutral and have insight into what works well. Scheduling a series of “off-site” meetings typically works best so that the members can focus on plan development. If there is a widely dispersed team, then a multi-day, focused session works best. Critical areas to discuss:

  • General situation and contributing factors
  • Role of the vendor-partner or consulting-partner
  • Specific roles, responsibilities and G’s & O’s for the steering team, user community and sourcing team
  • General Rollout strategy options “big bang” vs Gradual Rollout – by region, by business unit, by category, etc.
  • Current and future user community
    • General users
    • Super users & specialists
    • Stakeholder groups & key stakeholder champions
    • Skill requirements
  • Task and due date assignments

Element 3: Establish a Milestone-based Roadmap
Use a milestone-based roadmap as the schedule for the Rollout. Throughout the Rollout strategy design and delivery phase, multiple activities will occur simultaneously. Prioritize each activity so that the team knows which ones are critical to the success of the overall Rollout schedule. For example, an activity labeled as a “roadblock” is critical and must be completed before other activities can be completed. Additionally, assign activities (and their sub-activities) to a single individual for direct accountability. The easiest way to track key activities/deliverables is to have simple color codes associated with progress.

  • Green = on-track, completed
  • Yellow = needs additional support/attention
  • Red = delayed, behind schedule
  • Purple = future deliverable

Activities with yellow or red codes get the most attention, especially if labeled as a roadblock. If a member of the Steering Team does not provide agreed upon deliverables, then consider replacing that member (as diplomatically as possible). The Steering Team can manage the roadmap with different tools, such as spreadsheets, word documents or project management applications based on what is available and familiar to most of the Steering Team members.

Include these five key areas in the Rollout roadmap:

  • Platform (software/application) readiness plan
  • User support plan
  • User training plan
  • Communication plan and schedule
  • Award implementation plan

Element 4: Develop a Prioritized Sourcing Project Pipeline
The Steering Team will need to line up projects in the early phases of a Rollout. The pipeline should prioritize sourcing projects and assign a high-level strategy such as auction, sealed bid, survey, RFP, etc. To build a foundation of early success, the first set of sourcing projects should have minimal complexity and high potential savings opportunities. As the Steering Team works through the list of potential projects, it helps to apply the following factors that point to high success levels:

  • Commercially attractive to suppliers (high value)
  • Definable requirements (current, available specifications)
  • Competitive supply base
  • Savings opportunity (it has not been sourced for some time)
  • Low inherent risk

Afterwards, there should be a process to maintain the pipeline with a constant stream of potential projects. Based on successful Rollout programs, Iasta recommends structuring the sourcing projects into three distinct (yet overlapping) phases before shifting to ongoing pipeline maintenance.

  • Wave I – Select 3-5 sourcing projects with the highest probability of success. Success can be defined as high savings opportunities, low complexity levels and a strong category advocate or sourcing team.
  • Wave II – Select 3-5 sourcing projects with greater complexity. Complexity may be related to lack of current specifications, delicate supply base issues or involvement of multiple stakeholder groups.
  • Wave III – Select 5-10 sourcing projects based on a more detailed spend analysis initiative. The spend assessment can be conducted internally or by your vendor-partner.
  • Future projects – Select 10- 20 sourcing projects that may have potential, but still need additional analysis before they are officially scheduled.
  • Ongoing pipeline maintenance – The future projects list should be constantly replenished so there is an ongoing list of potential projects. In order to maintain momentum, the Steering Team may need to switch-out one category for another. You can hire subject matter experts (SMEs) or consultants to get projects done quickly and with higher success rates.

Having a spend analysis tool in place is another way to identify and prioritize projects. It delivers critical information about what the company spends to the Steering Team. Spend data can be categorized in a meaningful way and refreshed on a regular basis to ensure compliance and identify trends. A spend analysis solution will also help increase spend under management and increase adoption rates by providing more information to the Steering Team and key Stakeholder groups.

We wish you luck with your initiative. Also, we would be interested in hearing about your own experiences so we can expand on the Rollout Roadmap. You can contact Iasta directly at

Founded in 2000, Iasta helps companies strengthen their supply bases, increase sourcing efficiency, and drive hard-dollar savings.

Next time, Part Two.

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