Technology Adoption and Crossing the Chasm

Carrick-a-rede rope bridgeProjects fail, promising technologies are put in place but never adopted, IT rolls out another application that only a few business people use.  Where’s the disconnect? How might things be improved upon?  Here’s 10 well considered ideas from an expert.

Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm (2002) is about “marketing and selling disruptive products to mainstream customers”. I recently read this book with an eye towards how internal IT may help their greater organization adopt particular technology.

This book is not so much about dealing with the innovators and visionaries that will try new things, put how to get the mainstream to get on board.

This list should in no way be considered a substitute for reading the book.  It’s a quick read, but packed with ideas and stories.

1. End users know applications, not platforms. Applications are easier to sell.  They do something. (85) [Use the platform to solve a discrete business pain point. Feature the solution when pitching the technology.]

2.  Early majority are pragmatist that don’t trust the Visionaries word, they want proof. (20) [One can't appeal to the cool factor, or what the Visionaries are saying, but how the technology will work for them and what other pragmatists think.]

3.  Establish a beachhead and work outward from there.  Bring all efforts to bear in one area.  Big fish in a small pond. (105) [Moore is quite specific on this point and admonishes one to concentrate on one, carefully selected niche. Maybe it's a small department, a group of admins, or the help desk's FAQ, but bring all of IT's efforts on that one area.]

4. Focus on the target customer not market. (92) [It's easy to get caught up in the technology hoopla, but to get to the mainstream, pragmatic, folks, it's what can you do for them. You need to get to know them and their business.]

5.  Offer a whole product.  That’s the generic product, plus things like training, support, resources, integration, branding, help with governance, data migration, and a future roadmap (111, 113) [It is not enough to build out the technology, but to put a package together and introduce that. The Pragmatist is comparing the new offering to well established alternatives.]

6.  Position your offering as a reasonable choice.(133) Show it meets an unmet market requirement (137) and while similar to competition [current process], it is better(138). [Provide the kind of context the Pragmatist is looking for when trying to understand your product.]

7. Look to show how the technology provides incremental change (140) [A Pragmatist is risk advise in trying something so different it may not work. You need not show all that a technology can do, just how you can, for sure, make one thing better.]

8.  Have elevator speech ready. What’s it called? Who is it for? Why is it different? Why it will be around? (149) [Try that for "Social Media" or "SharePoint" or a half a dozen other big concept type things.]

9.  Pick the channel the Pragmatist is comfortable with. (163) [Moore does a lot of work concerning proper sales channels; Direct, VAR, Retail, etc... It still made sense from an internal IT perspective when seen as different support solutions. Bottom line: Direct is best but is expensive and maybe not sustainable (~168)]

10.  Read Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm!

Photo by: Fiona Shields

About John

Interested in how information intersects daily life, technology, and art. Collaboration specialist, working in social and collaborative media. Biomedical Informaticist, focusing on patient/patient, patient/provider communication.
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  1. Pingback: IT offerings in a familiar format … The Restaurant Menu | john-norris.net

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