Recently I was asked about adoption for Power Automate for an organisation.
For this, after considering the relevancy or suitability for general staff of using this part of the Microsoft 365 suite, I decided to go back to good old ADKAR.
Let’s take a brief look at how this could be used for thinking about introducing Power Automate in your organisation, and the key things to consider.
Before you dive into any stage of introducing or using Power Automate in your organisation, think of it like introducing any tool and change. It’s a campaign or program, and requires forethought. You don’t want to enable it and trigger problems because no one is skilled enough to support challenges, or drive a program to create energy to only then have it fizzle.
In a recent engagement I created the below approach for a group in their journey from understanding the tool to applying it to a process in their team:
This brief process helped guide them through from their own awareness to learning, and then testing their own flows.
So, now let’s apply the ADKAR methodology to think through how you can take people on a journey with Power Automate in your organisation.
The first thing here is the high level information. Think about things like:
- What is it, at a high level
- What are some example uses
- Explain some of the key terminology
- Inform people about how it fits into the Microsoft 365 suite
The general awareness about the product should help people understand that automation is possible and some examples for further context of what this tool is and how it can be used in a general sense, along with it being part of the license and available for staff to use, whether you are communicating to a targeted department or broader group.
Remember, depending on the group, you may be introducing a concept people haven’t considered before and need to get them on the journey.
To trigger someone’s desire about Power Automate, you need to get them thinking about the benefits and get them keen to try, or even be just a bit interested.
Consider articulating key points like:
- Why they would use it and how they can benefit
- What would be the point or reason to try it out
- What does it add or substitute in the toolset (will it save steps or remove the need for another app)
Get a bit creative here. It’s not about just listing reasons and how-to content. It’s that ‘WIIFM’ (What’s In It For Me) and why should I bother. Persuade, tempt and tease. And listen to people’s initial thoughts about it all.
Ok, now we head towards the deeper detail and instructions.
For this part, outline:
- What are the components – connectors, data, templates etc
- How to use it
- Examples of flows, starting with basics
- Provide some ideas and use cases to teach about the features
- If suitable, run training sessions to give people the knowledge
Knowledge is like the long detail user guide. It is deeper, thorough detail. A learning video, links to review and any sites or videos that may teach about the app and its uses.
The goal of knowledge is to be able to tell a colleague what it is, rather than hands-on use. Knowledge is your written driving test, ability is the practical test in the car with an instructor.
Now we are at the hands-on part. Having the ability to do the thing.
In this area you want people to complete activities that help demonstrate learning.
To drive someone’s ability with PowerAutomate consider:
- Activities to try building simple automation examples
- Create and complete their own basic flow
- Hands on trying and testing it out
- Basically, just building exercises they are given, then applying it all to build something of their own
Usually in the ability area you would monitor, check the learning and adjust where necessary. If it is less formal and staff are trying it in their own time, off a drop in or support and help with the testing of their automation. Or leave them to reach out if stuck.
Remember, with most training and adoption, it doesn’t stop after ability. People don’t learn, test, try and then it’s embedded forever. Reinforcement is an area of ADKAR that is often forgotten and critical for long-term success.
If you are enabling staff to use PowerAutomate in your organisation, for solid adoption, you really need:
- Support from IT or a business SME (Subject Matter Expert) if things don’t work
- Content or guidance to help grow the skills over time
- An ongoing expert to help with queries and further ideas or innovation
- Possibly a working group to drive more Power Automate solutions through the business
- Future assessment of what can be reviewed and measured to analyse if it is driving results
- Listen to how it is going, what do people think and evaluate their feedback
And.. some final thoughts:
The above detail is a brief snapshot of what could be useful if you want to drive use of Power Automate in your organisation. However, that doesn’t mean I think it’s a good idea.
Power Automate is complex. Don’t be fooled by the vast number of YouTuber video’s, online blogs and conference content suggesting things as ‘low code’ and straight forward.
Creating automation to reduce time and remove steps or tasks for a human is an amazing content. And there are many many people who pick this up and run with it. Many people though may not grasp the concepts and struggle. So, its not something I suggest available for general staff. Usually I find a sub-group like IT, analysts, financial, engineers or people with the right type of thinking who can dive into this and succeed. Just food for thought!
If you are heading down this path though, just make sure you have the right information, learning content and support for your staff. And, good luck!
Here are some links I found useful to learn more: