If you’ve been following our series all about helping technology champions get their projects off the ground and into orbit (start here if you haven’t), here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for—a practical roadmap that puts all that advice into action!
The Roadmap for Taking Tech from Idea to Implementation
In this tactical guide, we will enable technology advocates to choose the best solve for a major business pain point and take it from gaining approval to managing implementation, championing adoption, and beyond.
And while we’ll make sure you can apply these steps to everything from meeting-scheduling software to that pizza-ordering app you just invented (props!), we’ll also be sure to include examples that implement a specific use case we know and love—using HelloSign’s eSignature software to efficiently and securely sign and store NDAs.
Why? Because we know just as well as you do that getting documents signed can be a huge pain in the you-know-what. Many have been able to solve this challenge by implementing eSignature solutions—but fewer have been able to solve it in a way that’s effective, efficient, and repeatable. So keep on scrollin’ to learn how to take your amazing technology solution, whatever it may be, from a mere thought to a fully-implemented and adopted system—time and time again.
Step 1: Plan and Prepare to Meet Stakeholder Requirements
To champion your chosen technology, it’s imperative you understand it as well as other solutions on the market. Dig deep to learn the ins, outs, ups, and downs about each option—and why your preferred one blows all of them out of the exosphere.
Let’s look at how you might do this if you were planning to add eSignatures software to your NDA workflow.
A few general questions a solutions sleuth must be prepared to answer:
- Why this eSignature solution and not a competitor?
- What is the pricing structure and how will it fluctuate along with our NDA volume?
- Is there a satisfaction guarantee (or a trial period)?
- How established is this solution, how well is it maintained, and how often does it get updated?
- How customizable to our needs is this eSignature tool?
Furthermore, you’ll also need to be sure your solution meets specific requirements from decision-makers, users, and eventual implementers. For eSignatures, this may include:
- Decision makers will want to know how your proposed eSignature solution for NDAs fits into security, legality, and budgetary guidelines
- End users (such as HR) want to be sure it meets their needs efficiently and effectively
- Implementation specialists (likely in IT) want to be sure implementation and maintenance align with their capabilities and safety requirements
Special Focus: How to Prepare a New Technology Request to Win IT Approval
When it comes to implementing new technology in particular, it never hurts to pay a little extra attention to meeting the needs of your most technology-focused stakeholders. Here are a few terms and practices we suggest you get familiar with to really make your technology request stand out.
Get Familiar with a Few Basic Terms
An RFP, or a request for proposal, is a document that aims to lay out all the requirements and needs that will come up during the course of a project. Many of your larger, organized IT teams—and leadership teams, for that matter—will want to see an RFP to get a better idea of the goals and timeline of your proposed technology implementation.
A security questionnaire is pretty much what it sounds like—a list of questions related to the security of your proposed solution. IT teams used these all the time to collect information about a piece of technology so they can make important judgment calls about how secure it is, how well it’ll fit into your current tech stack, what impact it will have on your business goals, and more.
Gather Your Info for the Security Questionnaire
Depending on the complexity of your proposed eSignature integration and the size of your company, these questionnaires can get all kinds of complicated. For this example, let’s say you’re proposing a mid-complexity project at a mid-sized company. Here is some of the most important information you’ll want to have on hand when it comes to filling out a security questionnaire for your new technology proposal:
- Vendor’s name
- Vendor’s security contact
- Which internal teams will use this solution?
- Which of your systems will integrate with this solution? Consider Salesforce, SSO provider, email servers, etc.
- Attestations (SOCII, HIPAA, etc)
- Links to the vendor’s privacy pages or documents
- Links to the vendor’s security pages or documents
- What types of customer information will this system have access to?
- What types of company information will this system have access to?
- Will the solution have access to production data?
- What’s the proposed timeline for the project?
- Any other specifics related to the solution at hand (For example, if you’re proposing an eSignature solution you’d want to be prepared to share specific compliance, security, privacy, and other details.)
Most likely your IT team will require more (or different) information than this, but it’s a great start. This sample security questionnaire will give you a good idea of what it may look like.
Step 2: Get Buy-In from Stakeholders
Now that you’ve demonstrated that your eSignature solution meets both general and specific requirements, here are several more tactics we’d suggest exercising to really drive buy-in from internal stakeholders.
Identify Blockers—and Solutions—First Thing
Some blockers may be the kind of objections that pop up during any new technology project:
- General resistance to change
- Backlash at the cost of training
- Frustration when some tasks take a little longer in the beginning stages
Other blockers could be specific to the way your company (or any of its teams) operate:
- Competing interests between departments (Sales could resent the awesome new Marketing solution that ate up the majority of the yearly budget)
- Misaligned goals
Thinking through blockers will give you the advantage of being prepared for detractors—rather than rattled by them.
Clarify the Context
Striving to clearly communicate and make sure everyone is working within the same context is key before implementation even begins.
Say for example your HR team needs support from IT on what they consider a high-priority project. However, if IT perceives this project as lower priority—because they weren’t given enough prep time or information—these mismatched contexts can lead to a lot of frustration and failed initiatives.
Cater the Message to the Stakeholder
Cater “Why should they care?” information to fit each decision maker’s interest and needs.
For example, HR may need to see a compliance checklist first thing, IT may be thinking about the integration steps, your C-Suite is likely looking for specific features that will empower the business to hit key success metrics, and so on.
“Social proof” is a psychological reaction where people seek to adopt the actions of others due to the belief that what “the herd” is doing is what’s best. Chances are, you’ve seen it in the form of user testimonials, endorsements, case studies, and product ratings and reviews.
If social proof works on consumers—it can work on your internal team of stakeholders.
Look for social proof that backs up the awesomeness of your solution, like:
- Detailed case studies
- Reviews from other organizations in your vertical
- Great success statistics
Work Backward from a Reasonable Timeline
Just like any project proposal, you want to make sure yours for eSignature/NDA integration has a solid timeline. Admittedly, this is a big task because it means you need to have a grasp on the schedule for the entire project from the very beginning. These kinds of estimates are notoriously hard to get right, so we recommend this guide to calculating realistic project timelines.
Pull It All Together
With all this preparation under your belt, it’s time for the pièce de résistance: Optimizing your stakeholder presentation for maximum buy-in!
While you know what will ultimately resonate best, we recommend touching on these points:
- What is the project summary? Be brief yet intentional. Every bullet matters.
- Why is it time to make the effort to implement new technology?
- Why is this new tool the best fit to help your organization flow better within and between teams?
- What are the biggest challenges? What solutions have you identified for overcoming them? (Call back those blockers and solutions you identified.)
- What are the business benefits of this new technology?
- What is the timeline and who will lead the implementation?
Step 3: Flawlessly Implement Your New Tech Solution
Your planning and presentation helped you get the go-ahead to implement new tech—stellar.
Follow these simple steps to achieve liftoff with your eSignature solution and start creating out-of-this-world NDA workflows in no time.
Buckle Down on Details and Assign a Captain
Before you even get started with implementation, make sure someone on your team is committed to the ongoing success of the project—and realistically has the bandwidth to manage it.
This “captain” should be responsible for fleshing out the existing timeline with detailed development milestones, a roll-out schedule, staff training sessions, and more.
Involve the Crew as Early as Possible
After the captain understands the current NDA workflow, the people who actually work with it every single day should be asked "What's the company's ideal NDA workflow?"
Maybe they really want to implement signer notifications for faster turnaround. Maybe the biggest thorn in their side is the amount of time they spend on manual data entry. Maybe they’re sick of wasting time hopping in and out of different tools to create, send, and save NDAs every day. Maybe all three!
Demonstrate the Product (Warning: Helpful Example Ahead!)
Last but not least, there’s one more vital task to complete on the road to a successful implementation: A thorough product demonstration.
Here’s an example of what a detailed demonstration might look if you were implementing cutting-edge eSignature technology to securely sign, share, and store NDAs.
1. Get Your NDA Form Ready
- Find a template online or seek out a legal professional to create one that’s right for your needs
2. Upload the Document and Add Your Signers
- Sign in to your HelloSign account—if you don’t have a HelloSign account yet, create a free account
- From the "Who needs to sign?" menu, choose between “Me & others” or “Just others.”
- Drag and drop, choose “Add File,” or use any of our integrations to upload your non-disclosure agreement
- Add signers, loop in other parties via our CC feature, and assign a signer order if needed
- Select “Prepare doc for signing” to move on to the next step
3. Format the NDA and Fill in Your Information
- Click any of the fields across the top of the page and drag it to where you want to place it in the document
- Most of the fields have advanced features and some let you add a validation type (email address, numbers only, etc.)—take some time to click around to get your NDA dialed in
- Once you get your formatting just right, hit Continue at the top of the page
- Back on the “Get your document signed” page, you’ll add a title, an optional message, and send your online NDA out for signature
4. Sign Your NDA Online or Send for Signature
- If you’re one of the signers, a prompt to sign the non-disclosure agreement will hit your (and other signers’) email inbox as soon as you send it out for signatures
- Click the “Review & Sign” button in the email to continue. We provide a variety of ways to create your electronic signature:
- Draw your signature on a touch screen using your finger or a stylus
- Upload a photo of your signature
- Type in your signature and customize from a selection of font
- Take a picture of your signature using your smartphone’s camera
- HelloSign will automatically prompt each signer to complete all their required fields
- Once you’ve filled out your portion of the NDA, all you have to do is agree to one last legality measure and your job is done!
5. Access Your Online NDA Any Time
- To check the status, edit, or even download a hard copy of your confidentiality agreement; just visit the Documents section of your HelloSign dashboard any time.
You’ve been able to incorporate most of the awesome features your team needs, those key milestones just flew by, and your detailed demonstration is wowing stakeholders left and right. You’re officially ready for that moment we’ve all been waiting for—lift off!
Do take a moment to celebrate, but don’t forget that once your solution is live you’ll want to roll into adoption pretty quickly. Next up—how to pull that off without a hitch.
Step 4: Champion Adoption
Here’s how to get your new solution, whether it’s eSignatures or some other cutting-edge tech, used widely among your team—which may be one of the most challenging steps on the entire flight from idea to implementation!
Respect Everyone’s Time
People don’t necessarily love the thought of participating in training, so they really appreciate it when you respect their time and intelligence by:
- Setting a detailed agenda
- Sharing it—along with any necessary materials
- Staying on topic (and on schedule) as much as possible
Keep it Simple, Silly!
Don’t go diving straight into nitty-gritty features on day one of training. Instead, identify a few basic tasks or features to master. This encourages early wins that will boost morale.
Allow Ample Time for Individualized Learning
Some people learn by doing—others delight in listening to a lecture. Offer resources for both and, instead of trying to convince your team that it’s the right way forward, let them come to that conclusion on their own by encouraging them to play around with the solution themselves.
Keep The Deck Open for Feedback
Both challengers and champions should feel welcome to speak their minds about this new solution. Hear everyone out and address feedback to ensure no discomfort, confusion, or resistance goes unaddressed.
Effective tactics for collecting feedback include:
- Holding regular “all-hands” check-ins
- Initiating unofficial, one-on-one check-in sessions to gauge adoption
- Offering office hours
- Scheduling individualized ongoing training
- Sending out surveys that invite candid feedback and requests
Actually using diverse feedback is incredibly valuable because it:
- Instills trust in the team driving adoption
- Keeps you aware of sentiment toward the solution
- Helps you identify weak spots
- Tells you where more training resources would be impactful
- Clues you in to awesome opportunities you may never have thought of
Step 5: Monitor for Results and Opportunities
There are plenty of metrics that can be measured to make sure your solution is being used to its fullest potential. Here’s how to practically identify these metrics, analyze them, and use this information to build the case next time you want to introduce new tech.
The Importance of Measuring Success
To be able to measure how successful something is, you have to define what success looks like.
A simple way to narrow down which metrics matter is to ask yourself “What does success look like in 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, etc.?” Once you’re able to answer that, you can figure out which metrics you need to track and hold against these goals.
Whichever metrics you decide to track and whenever you choose to introduce them, just be sure to measure and document the results at regular intervals so you can capture change over time.
Various Metrics for Measuring Adoption
Find usage by calculating:
- The percentage of people (or projects) actively using the solution
- The percentage of logins to the solution
Look at changes in training in the context of introducing a new solution:
- Number of training attendees
- Resources committed to developing a full training curriculum
- Inclusion of solution training in employee onboarding
When they begin to happen outside your realm of influence, these activities may indicate that adoption has gone company-wide:
- Inclusion in company-wide audits, improvement efforts, and so on
- Emergent use in unanticipated situations
- Integration with existing processes
- Established processes being converted to better fit in with the new solution
- Inclusion in the company intranet
- New departments becoming interested in using the solution
Calculating a Change in Employee Efficiency and Productivity
Measuring the impact a new solution has on employee efficiency and productivity may include:
- Quality of an employee’s and the team’s work
- The time it takes to produce the same quality of work
- Employee and team participation in new technology training
- Ability to achieve team and individual goals
- Overtime hours, viewed in the context of changing workloads
- Overall labor effectiveness, calculated by dividing total sales by number of employees
- Turnover rate, found by dividing the number of separations by the number of active employees
How to Show a Return on Your Technology Investment
While a positive ROI isn’t necessarily the be-all and end-all of success, getting a good return on your investment does help indicate that your decision to adopt new tech was a good one!
Here’s the basic formula for return on investment (ROI): net gain/cost = ROI.
Communicating Successes and Opportunities
Once you’re able to nail down the results of your technology investment, it’s important to communicate successes (and/or opportunities for improvement) with business leaders, stakeholders, and employees. Their perspectives can help drive solutions and amplify success.
Communication methods in this day and age are plentiful, so we recommend a mix of digital and in-person touchpoints, which could include:
- Sending regular status updates via email
- Presenting your findings at company-wide meetings
- Sharing results in any quarterly stakeholder wrap-up and planning sessions
What Tech Will You Take from Idea to Implementation?
We hope these easy-to-follow tactics give you the confidence you need to prove to stakeholders that you’re the expert on the solution, convince even the hardest-to-impress IT personnel to happily buy-in, pull off a flawless implementation flow, win widespread adoption, and show such awesome return that they won’t be able to ignore you next time you have a great idea.