I can generally tell how a self-service password reset project will go. Particularly, the ones which will struggle to sustain high levels of user adoption. In many cases, the initial sign doesn’t appear until after a purchase. It’s when the team involved in the evaluation and selection process drops down to one person handling the implementation and roll-out of the solution. When this happens, the opportunity to realize an acceptable return on investment begins to diminish.
The user adoption problem does not lie in the software. Nor does it belong to the technical individual engaged in the deployment. The integration of systems represents the easiest obstacle to break through. Introducing new enterprise software represents a change management effort requiring careful alignment. The goal to sustain high levels of self-service is full of risks.
Employing new software tools requires people to change the way they work. To restate it more directly, self-service password reset requires people to change. Too often in software rollouts, release is equated to "mission accomplished". The mission “reduce help desk requests” gets checked off as "software rollout." In actuality, a software or services launch represents a mission’s beginning. To reach utilization goals, you must set an expectation and execute differently.
The Four Self-Service User Adoption Myths
You must communicate what’s different – and why – to stakeholders and their groups. You must also put in operational controls to keep user adoption high. Otherwise, usually within six months, many people return to their old behaviors. High user adoption results in a rapid return on investment. It is gained through alignment, top down insistence, and reinforcement. Change is a management function not an IT driven directive.
Which brings us to the four myths of self-service password reset user adoption.
Myth 1: People will use software that improves productivity.
We are inherently creatures of habit. Most people prefer familiarity over a need to be more productive. People use software when it’s required for work, makes a task easier, or helps them avoid something unpleasant.
Consider a typical help desk password reset. It’s easy, pleasant and certain. With change, aspiring to greater efficiency is not a strong motivator. The assumption users are motivated by productivity gains is flawed. Compared to calling help desk, users may not view self-service as easier.
Myth 2: People will use software once it’s deployed.
People use software that solves problems for them when nothing else can. Purchasing software, no matter how user-centric, is not a precursor for user adoption. It is, however, a guaranteed cost factor. Getting software up and running is not enough. You need targeted operations for managing enrollment. Your help desk requires training and incentives in deferring requests. Management needs regular usage and return on investment reports. Users must be aware of the mission and expectations. Everyone should work to control costs.
Myth 3: People who receive training will use new software.
People use software to solve work problems. They don’t naturally use software for business operations. Rolling out new software is not a training issue. Training is one aspect and important. Self-service password reset and password management are change management considerations. In your process, plan to address change. It takes resources, time, momentum, alignment and buy-in to fulfill the mission.
High levels of user adoption are not self-sustaining…they stem from supporting the right processes and motivating users to adopt new habits.
Myth 4: Once enrolled, people will use a self-service password reset tool.
Use of a new password reset tool will not likely be self-sustaining. Instead upon rollout, you see a spike, which is followed by a drop-off. Within six months, people return to making help desk requests. Sustaining high utilization means ongoing support and incentives. Lowering help desk burden requires motivation on the part of users. Change requires someone exercising leadership to continue selling the mission and value. It’s not impossible: Our customers Halliburton and American Water enjoy 98% self-service user adoption.
Despite a clear mission to lower costs by decreasing help desk requests. Self-service password reset tools can represent an unrealized goal. User adoption wanes mostly because people tend to behave, as they are accustomed. To create change, people must move from customary habits to new behaviors. Deployment alone is not enough to convert an enterprise to self-service. For this reason, be prepared to manage through the change. Plan to support your mission through new operational goals, processes and incentives. At the same time, anticipate staff reluctance to converting to self-service operations. They may be accustomed to a support staff trained to deliver outstanding service.
Learn the Top 10 Password Management Best Practices for successful implementations from industry experts. Use this guide to sidestep the challenges that typically derail enterprise password management projects.