The great news for customers of a Software-as-a Service (SaaS) product is that the vendor is incentivized for your success, since you pay as you go. A good SaaS provider backs their product with a solid customer success program to make sure their customers use the product. That doesn’t mean customers will always be able to successfully use the product. Sometimes, lack of enthusiasm from the customers’ side can become a stubborn barrier to adoption.

I manage the Success Team at Navatar and I can proudly say that 95 percent of our clients are successfully on-boarded to our cloud platform. We see some common themes across the ones that don’t. Here are some of them:

1. Lack of leadership buy-in:

Change is difficult. If senior leadership is fully behind the rollout, they can generally push through the message to the entire team. We have seen scenarios in which adoption never occurred as it was not mandated. Most people continued to do their day-to-day tasks as a new product meant additional workload.

If senior leadership shows interest in the new product, everyone pays attention. It really works when management can set usage targets for employees. I have also seen quite a few of our customers give out usage awards, based on employee activity in the new system. The goal is for employees to recognize that the rollout is important to management.

2. Inadequate training at the outset:

With any type of new process implemented, training is key to ensure adoption. Users who are not able to comprehend the system’s features, get frustrated easily and begin spreading negative messages about the software. But they also are the type of users who hate sitting in a classroom for a day, to get properly trained.

As long as the vendor is supportive (Navatar provides unlimited training to customers), sometimes the best way is to take baby steps, if users are opposed to sitting in a classroom. Restrict the initial training to 30 minutes, before the users start getting antsy, and get them trained on very simple features. As they start using the system for simple tasks, build upon the initial training, with 30 minute slots each week to get them trained on more features.

Sometimes, we have seen clients succeed using a ‘train the trainer’ method. In this approach, a ‘core’ set of users learns the system and then trains all of the users on the system. This is sometimes effective as the internal trainers have the pulse of the audience and can provide the most relevant examples and scenarios for users within their environment.

3. Uncoordinated data migration:

Finally, let’s talk about data migration, a key step in migrating to the cloud. Data must be ‘cleansed’ before it’s uploaded into the cloud. Cleaning data involves eliminating duplicates, resolving conflicts, identifying missing data as well as filling data for the new system.

The trick here is to pair an IT member and business user together during the transfer. The IT person manages the technical aspects of consolidating or ‘scrubbing’ data, and the business person answers to the meaning behind the data in order to preserve its ‘business flow’ during customization. So while the IT pros verify that email addresses contain an ‘@’ symbol, it’s up to the business folk to determine how to fill data gaps. Without business people involved, your data in the new system may not be usable and may confuse users and impact adoption.

Now here’s the good news: none of these mistakes come with insurmountable hurdles, or even require much oxygen to clear. It boils down to some basic preparation, communication, and working with a vendor with a ‘client first’ mentality.