This blog shares insights from the breakout session titled “End-User Computing Adoption: Considerations and Expectations” that was presented at VMware Explore 2022 US. We asked VMware hosts Hans Bader and Bill Gommo to explain their top best practices for driving end user adoption.
End-user computing (EUC) adoption means more than just deploying or rolling out a new service or product or installing an application. Software usage can be measured as simply as a user logging into or launching an application. However, this does not always mean the software is useful. Software adoption is a measurement of how the software or service is being utilized as intended by the users. Many factors, both technical and non-technical, drive adoption. The difference may be subtle but is important. A well-designed and deployed service will be used to its full potential by happy users.
Getting the deployment right at the beginning is critical to the adoption of a service. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. If your users are not satisfied, it will take considerable effort to make them happy again. That is why it is critical to get the non-technical aspects of the project completed up front before starting the technical work.
Here are five steps for how to start deploying software or services the right way to encourage adoption.
1. Plan, plan, plan
IT projects need a reason and a sponsor. Otherwise, they are just science experiments. Technical validation is important, but without strong sponsorship, even the best projects and most valuable products fail and become shelfware. Put simply, you need to establish a strategy to help ensure success. Strategy means a plan or method for obtaining a specific goal or result. The key to the definition is the word “plan.” As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail.” Establishing a strategy means laying out the following:
- Decide who is responsible for specific areas. Desktop images, infrastructure, security, finance, operations, and more.
- Plan for application management. Without applications, end user computing in an enterprise becomes little more than an ocean of devices with islands of compute.
- Understand the user profiles/use cases. You need to know your users, how they work, and what applications they need to be productive.
- Know how you will deal with data. Data can mean documents created during the workday, such as spreadsheets, image files, and source code. It can also be application data and settings, such as browser favorites.
- Make user training part of every enterprise project. Deploying something that nobody knows how to use will not lead to success.
- Factor in security early in the process. Failing to address security can bring any project to a screaming halt, potentially killing it.
- Prepare user support and operations teams. They will need to manage and maintain the solution effectively on Day 1.
Once you have crafted a plan (or established a strategy), the project can start. Here are more key aspects to consider.
2. Identify the business driver(s) for the project
Not all business drivers mean financial impacts: some may be qualitative or incremental improvements that can yield significant improvements when deployed at scale. What are the key outcomes necessary for success at a high level, and how will they be measured? Examples include improving user experience, engagement, and workspace performance; lowering support costs; and enhancing monitoring and security.
3. Document expectations
As part of the project kickoff, be sure to set the expectations properly and document them. At this time, it is essential to appoint an executive sponsor and a project manager, as these will be critical roles for promoting the initiative to leadership and other teams and keeping the project on schedule. Other aspects that need to be defined and documented at this stage include:
- Governance policies regulating remote access, permissions, and device use.
- A service description, including the reasons for providing it.
- A list of known constraints and key risks.
- The expected start date and end date.
- The resources required, including help needed from outside teams.
- Feedback mechanisms.
All this effort up front will pay off when it comes to design and rollout. A large project is a journey, and you must know where you are going. Sponsorship, funding, and requirements all feed into the design. These topics help provide the guide rails to keep you on target, on budget, and hopefully on time. These constraints are essential to ensure that what you are building meets the needs of your customers (either internally or externally).
4. Drive adoption through robust design
A robust solution design is a cornerstone to driving future adoption, like the foundation or slab on which a building is based. The design must address all the desired key business drivers or outcomes — both technical and non-technical. Stay laser-focused on the drivers/outcomes. Beware of distractions — the “science experiments” mentioned earlier — which can slow or even derail your EUC project.
What does a good design look like? The starting point is the VMware reference architecture, which you can adapt and customize to suit your use cases, environment, policies, and standards. Solution design should be driven by requirements: functional and non-functional use cases are essentially a more granular view of requirements specific to each set of users to be onboarded to your EUC solution.
Requirements surface either proactively or reactively. A proactive approach entails gathering and analyzing data to drive build/configuration, testing, and deployment — which typically leads to a more production-ready solution before user acceptance testing. A reactive approach entails building/configuring based on estimates refined after testing, before production deployment. It tends to be faster to deploy initially but depends on user testing feedback to refine the solution.
5. Operationalize the service
The pre-work and design are only part of the story. To be successful, you must be ready to operationalize the service you have spent so much time and effort designing. In order to be operationally ready, the team needs to identify rates of change for devices, applications, and operating systems, as nothing remains static in today’s rapidly shifting user-centric IT landscape. Once the adoption rate is healthy, you can re-evaluate the times for onboarding users, and installing new applications or feature enhancements. This is also the time to review operational times for successful system changes and updates and to collect data on the top user support issues.
These processes are iterative with each update of the service. Elements that should be considered as part of this review include:
- Feedback from your users, such as satisfaction, requests for new capabilities, and the impact of the new service offering on users’ work patterns.
- Usage statistics, including SLA/OLA successes and failures, requests for new service offerings, and incident tickets issued related to the service offering.
- Operational processes considerations, such as the rate of success in deploying new service offerings, service issues not identified in pre-production testing, and frequency of successful system updates/changes.
- Proposed service changes or improvements, including a review of all discovered or reported issues and their relation to EUC services and systems.
Launch an adoption campaign
Throughout design and deployment, don’t forget to inform your end users. Tell them about the new technology you are introducing, explain what benefits are to be gained, and empower them to make the most of it. VMware’s EUC adoption program provides pre-designed templates and guidance to Workspace ONE and Horizon customers. Resources available include communication templates, getting started guides, FAQ documents, and promotional materials. You can customize all assets to reflect your environment and tune communication to different user groups.
At this point, you may be thinking, “This is a lot of work.” It is, but it is manageable when you realize that with a proper plan, requirements, and design in place, you can build a robust, scalable service that allows your users to work effectively and efficiently — and delivers value. Shortcuts always take longer when you have to revisit a design, claw back a deployment, or try and make up for cutting corners that ended up making your users — whether five people or 50 thousand — unhappy, unproductive, or frustrated.
The video recording of the session is available here in our Explore video library. Simply create a free account or log in with your VMware Explore credentials to view it.