It is your role to engage your internal stakeholders early in the process and encourage them to plan for the future, and to paint the picture of how technology can support the organization’s visions. Leading the charge in selecting the right fit and communicating early and often throughout the process will help you avoid a common setback in successful implementation: lack of support from senior management.
—"Selecting and Implementing a Learning Management System"
ASTD Infoline, July 2012
Looking to select a new learning management system? Create an internal social learning network? Build a better SharePoint site? Roll out a new mobile learning app? If so, make sure you don’t overlook five important steps to increase your likelihood of success.
1) Identify stakeholders in your organization
By involving stakeholders early and often, you demonstrate respect for their opinion, and increase the likelihood of gaining buy-in. Without stakeholder involvement, your learning technology solution may drain resources, create organizational risk, and frustrate learners.
Even if your learning and technology team are experts in the latest and greatest technology, and they feel 100 percent confident they’ve found the perfect technology solution, you’ll still benefit by involving stakeholders and giving them an opportunity to provide ideas and feedback. This decreases the possibility of diminishing your department’s credibility, and increases the likelihood that you gain support for future projects.
2) Don’t forget your end users
Feedback from learners that will ultimately benefit from using the technology is critical. The individuals you select should represent the population of your organization today, as well as what you expect that population will look like within the next several years.
3) Form an advisory council
Inviting key stakeholders and end users to give feedback as part of a “Learning Advisory Council” creates a partnership that can foster innovative ideas, allow behind-the scenes employees to interact with one another, and establish your department as a strategic partner.
Depending on the size and culture of your organization, you might want to involve representatives from legal, compliance, human resources, marketing, and finance areas.
5) Involve your vendors
An additional consideration will be your technology vendors. If you approach potential service providers as partners, you have a higher likelihood of gaining acceptance. Whenever possible, communicate openly about internal stakeholder concerns with your preferred vendors. They may be able to partner with you to achieve an outcome that will benefit the organization and the end user.
Anticipating obstacles, identifying key stakeholders, and setting expectations for internal council involvement will help you achieve buy-in and support for your learning technology efforts. Thorough and thoughtful planning, as well as a partnership approach with your vendors, will increase the likelihood of your success.