Russ Woodward is Maintenance Project Manager at the Indianapolis campus of the University of Indiana. Here is a detailed description of how he rolled out wireless business software to his team of 100+ technicians. His team were not regular computer users before this rollout.
As with any new technology, some workers weren’t comfortable with the idea. They said the old way worked fine so why change. It has been a challenge to convince those people this is the right thing to do. We started slowly. I used four volunteers in one of the zones as guinea pigs to test the system so we could identify and work out any problems. They caught on quickly and were really excited by what this technology could do. Their enthusiasm was so contagious that others wanted to get involved.
At first, I trained only those who volunteered or were technologically savvy. I have taken a low pressure approach, explaining that this is new and may take a while to learn. For most it only takes about 30 minutes. Every group caught on quickly, but inevitably someone would warn, “Just wait until you get Joe (or Pete or Mike). He’s technologically challenged.”
Without exception, everyone picked up on this technology, even those considered “technologically challenged.” Some had to work a little more, but they all learned and now are proud of the fact that they stepped up, realized this is what we were going to do and are doing it. When I talk about our success, people are amazed that even workers who never touch a computer are using the system.
We use a cell phone with a large screen to give more information, and so that everyone can read it. JumpStart Wireless designed the system to make it as simple as possible so training is fairly simple, little more than showing what’s available, how to access it, and what buttons to press, and then helping everyone become comfortable with the buttons. Naturally, there were rumors about how hard it was going to be to use the system, but when they finish the training they all say, “Is that all there is too it?” They are amazed that it is so simple.
I like to compare learning to use the Maximus’ FM Instant system to buying a television set and learning to use a new remote. It may take a while to figure out how to program it and which buttons to push, but once you do, you can surf quickly. This, too, is basically a matter of learning which buttons to push, and when.