BR#28: Why Tech Adoption Fails and What To Do About It

Examples of software could be anything from project management tools to analytics, CRM, and department-specific software of all shapes and sizes.

Have you ever worked with a company that spent a lot of money on specific software, only for it to end up being unused or forgotten?

Examples of software could be anything from project management tools to analytics, CRM, and department-specific software of all shapes and sizes.

But why does technology adoption fail? And what can be done about it?

People tend to have good intentions when they allocate money to a new software solution.

They believe it will help the business in some significant way, or they wouldn’t be going through the trouble. So what goes wrong? Well, a number of things can. And a few of the really significant ones that can lead to failure in adoption are:

  • Insufficient training or support;

  • Employee resistance to change;

  • Inadequate infrastructure (or in other words, the technology infrastructure used by the business is behind the requirements of the new tool);

  • Unreliable results (think missing data, inconsistent quality of outputs, frequent bugs, crashes, slow load time, bad user experience, etc);

  • The tool, while great in some respects, lacks critical functionality that makes it a deal breaker for many end users. For example:

    • It solves one problem but creates 3 new ones;

    • It saves part of a bigger problem but is overall less effective than the legacy process.

So what can be done to limit the risk of adoption failure and ensure that employees can take full advantage of their tools? Here are some of the key things to consider:

1. Engage stakeholders early

The end users (in other words, the people which the tool is intended for), should be part of early discussions about what business problems need to be solved and how.

Doing this is supposed to be a no-brainer, but it doesn’t always happen.

It’s a mistake for anyone to assume that they already know what the best solution is for their team without consulting them first.

Get them involved. They may be able to share nuances about the way in which they work that weren’t previously considered.

Engaging key stakeholders early in the process can also help build buy-in and address potential resistance.

2. Invest in Training and Support:

Most (if not all) companies that provide enterprise solutions offer training and support as well. But there are still elements which typically need to be figured out internally, such as:

  • Deciding on the best learning formats for your specific teams (i.e. manuals, webinars, in-person trainings, etc) - a third party vendor will not be able to know that nearly as well as someone internal will.

  • How many people need to be trained and whether they should be split into groups (i.e. admins/ super users, regular users, analysts etc). Training requirements usually differ from group to group.

  • Is the team that should be using the tool growing? How often do people change roles? It’s important to think about this and ensure that new hires also get trained on how to use the tool.

  • If the tool in question isn’t purchased from a 3rd party vendor but is instead internally developed, then there is an additional factor to consider: the team who built the tool isn’t necessarily best placed to craft the training materials. In those cases, it may be necessary to involve other stakeholders or get external support to ensure adequate training materials are ready before launch.

3. Implement Effective Change Management:

A structured change management approach can facilitate smoother transitions. This includes clear communication, addressing concerns, providing incentives, and celebrating milestones.


Technology adoption can fail for various reasons, from lack of vision to inadequate training and poor infrastructure.

However, with a clear strategy, stakeholder engagement, proper training, and robust change management, organizations can overcome these challenges.

By understanding and addressing the common pitfalls, businesses can harness the full potential of new technologies to drive growth and innovation.

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