In IT, we are often at the front of implementing change. At Morris, we've recently moved the campus off the old email and calendar servers, to Google's hosted Gmail and Calendar service. It's been a remarkably smooth process (a few bumps, not too many) and adoption across campus has been very good.
Reflecting on this project, it's important to understand how we made this a successful rollout. The key, I believe, was not in getting people to understand not just why we were moving off the old system, but what we were moving towards with the new email and calendar system.
What were the benefits of Gmail? How could Google help make faculty and staff work easier? What are some things we can do under Google that we couldn't do under the old system? Often, I provided hands-on, in-person demos of Gmail and Google Calendar, with an emphasis on features not found in the old UMcal, or things that were just plain hard to do using Thunderbird.
This brings us back to the old lesson of selling your vision: Get people to buy into that vision (your destination) and people will help find their own way there, most of the time.
Trent Batson at Campus Technology makes the same argument in his article, Faculty "Buy-In" - To What? At the core of his message:
Technology advocates urge faculty members to go away from what they've been doing but don't explain what they should go toward.
To get buy-in, Batson recommends asking the question "Why Go Down That Road?" And if you can communicate that message effectively, you'll have made great progress in getting people to buy into your vision.