“Build it and he will come.” Although the now-classic maxim may have rung true in the movie, “Field of Dreams,” that’s certainly not always the case in real life.
Consider, for instance, a new ballgame in which the “he” (or she, for that matter) is a lawyer, and the destination is adoption of his or her organization’s latest legal technology solution. As legal technology managers and administrators can attest, the outcome in that scenario is in no way assured.
To develop a better understanding of the dynamics associated with technology adoption, Hyperion Research conducted a benchmarking study aimed at identifying the key factors motivating users to embrace legal technology. Hyperion’s Brendan Joiner outlined the study’s findings recently in an Insights article posted on the company’s website.
According to Joiner’s article, legal technology administrators and managers generally point to three key fundamentals driving successful adoption: 1. A “top-down mandate;” 2. The usefulness of the technology; and 3. “Information accessibility.”
Joiner elaborates on the three fundamentals:
Without clear management objectives and a mandate from an organization’s top brass backing transformation, adoption of new software is likely to suffer, Joiner writes.
“In organizations whose leadership is in agreement to launch—and enforce the use of—these systems, user adoption has a “stickiness” that is rarely accomplished otherwise.”
Joiner also notes that it’s important for management to be involved further upstream, which means taking an active role in the selection process of the software under consideration. Accurately assessing and understanding the needs of stakeholders and ensuring that technology assisted business objectives align with addressing those needs should be a critical part of the process, he writes.
Another key insight that Hyperion gleaned from its benchmark study relates to what Joiner refers to as “actual usefulness of technology solutions.”
“Users expect an experience that that jives with and complements their ingrained work routines, and often the simplest, often overlooked, factors, such as searching for their matters, can derail a new deployment.”
Joiner notes that with an increasing emphasis being placed on data-driven decision making and achieving operational maturity, the ability to implement a transformation in information management depends on numerous tactical features that support an individual’s ability to work efficiently. He lists User Interface, Mobility, Search, Analytics and Reporting, and Microsoft Office integration as features that “support faster, better, more accurate and more seamless work.”
A user’s definition and subsequent perception of Information Accessibility, notes Joiner in the Insight article, is heavily influenced by the expectations created by technology at the consumer level. The greater the extent to which a legal technology solution mirrors the user’s consumer-derived expectations in respect to ease of use, user experience, cross-platform compatibility and other competencies, and the better able it is to improve productivity and client satisfaction, the more likely it is to be adopted.
The lesson the legal technology industry can draw from Hyperion’s benchmarking is clear. It’s incumbent upon solutions providers to closely monitor tech advances in the consumer market, identify those that gain the greatest traction, and to the extent possible, incorporate the most popular and useful features into our solutions. Only by building products that management will stand behind, that help users work more efficiently and that deliver a satisfying user experience will we increase the odds of hitting it out the park in terms of adoption.