The Black Hole of Adoption: Why HR Tech Implementations Fail.

+1 Internets to you if you remember this film.

Last year, I had the pleasure of presenting at HRevolution and the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas with China Gorman, one of the smartest HR people walking the planet.  In true unconference mode, we built a list of great conversation questions around using technology as a differentiator in your business.  We wanted to look at the commoditization of HR technology, at how the basic offerings of technology vendors were not terribly different, and then examine what makes the user experience great in some cases and…well…lacking in others.

If you’ve been to an unconference, you’ll know what came next.  The participants glanced at our questions, game them a perfunctory, “That’s nice for you,” and proceeded to talk about something else.  They wanted to talk about all the failed implementations in their lives.  They demanded to know why vendors weren’t better at putting in a system people would use.  The vendors in the room, by the way, agreed, and wanted to know why customers wouldn’t listen to them when they explained the right way to do things.

It was candid. It was friendly.  It was thought provoking.  It was awesome.

The problem is that we didn’t get to share this discussion with anyone outside of the room.  And it is one that should be shared.  There were some wonderful topics covered, despite our intention.  That’s why China is joining me on September 20th for the Dovetail Software webinar, The Black Hole of Adoption: Why HR Tech Implementations Fail.  We will talk about common failure modes, keys to success, and what we’ve seen that can really make a difference in getting your users on board.

Click here to register for the session.  You can drop questions on us during the webinar, or leave them in the comments here.  We’ll take them all and work through them.

Hope you can join us!

P.S. – If you are a fan of this kind of discussion, you really should check out the 2012 version of HRevolution (October 7th) and HR Tech (October 8-10).  They are in Chicago this year, which is an easy city to get to from almost anywhere.  Except maybe Milwaukee.  If you haven’t booked yet, the link to HR Tech will get you a $500 discount via Dovetail Software. What can I say?  We’re givers like that.



  1. One of the hidden truths about user adoption is that no one actually addresses the ‘content problem’. Software is sold like spreadsheets. The responsibility is on users to have useful content to put into the empty container. But, most projects don’t account for the costs and schedule required to bring the content up to snuff.

    It’s the old GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) problem. The greatest software in the world can’t touch the disappointment that happens when the tool produces bad answers. User adoption fails at the moment that the system produces unusable results. While customers and vendors like to point fingers at each other, this part of the deal requires commitment, discipline and cooperation between the two groups. The problem involves mutual ownership.

    But, assigning blame is the easy part. Actively moving to include the real costs of implementation (improving the underlying content usually dwarfs the rest of the expense) would derail a tin of projects. Both customer and vendor have a stake in routing around the core problem.

    It’s interesting to me that there are no technology projects designed to address the issue.

Lean HR is using WP-Gravatar

%d bloggers like this: