Technology Services World

conference in Las Vegas recently concluded, and once again we at NetSuite

are grateful for the contributions our clients make to the show, and we are

energized by the ideas and passion that our customers bring to their

businesses. I met with many of our customers, and many potential customers, and

I learned from all of you.

Abigail Walker from Bullhorn, the recruitment and staffing

software and services provider, led one of the sessions, along with Larry

Goldberg of NetSuite, on how to leverage professional

services automation (PSA) to address the challenges of a growing

professional services team. One question from the audience addressed the issue

of getting a team to use a new PSA tool, commonly referred to as adoption.


group discussed multiple options for encouraging adoption of a new tool. There

were “carrot” methods:

  • Make

    KPIs on adoption part of a consultant’s MBO (management by objectives) goals

  • Cash

    bonuses for keeping data updated on a weekly basis


there were “stick” methods:

  • $100

    fines for every late timesheet

  • “Wall

    of Shame” for those who don’t input data

  • Escalation

    to management for non-compliance


favorite angle on this discussion was the following: Make adoption a critical

part of your software deployment, with its own project plan, and execute it in

lockstep with the deployment. This helps ensure success in a couple of ways:

  • First,

    it gives visibility to adoption challenges. Adoption is no longer an

    afterthought, but has its own deliverables and metrics just like QA testing or

    user acceptance testing (UAT).

  • Second,

    adoption becomes someone’s deliverable. It is no longer expected to just

    happen—an assigned resource is on the hook for ensuring that adoption metrics

    are achieved.

  • Third,

    you have adoption goals that extend beyond the deployment phase, so adoption is

    not viewed as an event but as a process.


ideal approach to ensure adoption of a new PSA solution

might be a combination of carrots, sticks, and adoption planning and metrics.

But it is important to acknowledge adoption as part of the process, and not

something that just happens on its own.

Ed Marshall - General Manager, Professional