The 4 hurdles to jump in the Digital Adoption race

What Is Digital Adoption?

Digital adoption is the process through which an individual acquires the ability to fully master new technology and successfully carry out digital processes for specific purposes.

Digital adoption is a change and learning mechanism that allows individuals to a) understand the potential of digital resources, b) accept and utilize such resources to achieve their goals, and c) leverage each technology to the fullest to drive innovation and optimize processes. 

To achieve true digital adoption, people need to understand both the functionality and benefits of digital processes, be fully onboarded on the most advanced features of software applications, and understand the role of digital processes and the reasons behind the change.

#1 Change management

A crucial stepping stone which needs to focus on a change in mentality and approach organization-wide.

The quality of service you offer to your customers is directly linked to the experience you offer to your employees. So digital adoption needs to not only create meaningful experiences for customers along the customer journey but employees alike. 

Introducing new technology and processes is completely useless if employees don’t tap into the full range of features to optimize operations and create frictionless transactions for customers. 

Companies also tend to face higher resistance when it comes to employees who aren’t digital natives. Such employees might doubt their ability to master an entirely new digital framework. 

People tend to find comfort in what they’re already familiar with and this holds true for both your customers who aren’t willing to learn new ways to interact with your business and your employees who tend to stick to existing workflows. 

Digital adoption is the process of overcoming such a steep learning curve, breaking through barriers and obstacles connected to push-back, and allowing anybody to be proficient with any new digital process without strenuous training. 

If successful, the efforts pay off, as proven by the IDG’s State of Digital Business Transformation study in which it’s mentioned that businesses that adopt a digital-first strategy increase their revenue on average by 34%.

#2 Digitally skilled workforce

Besides dealing with internal resistance to change, companies also need to face the problem of having a digital workforce whose skillset is perfectly aligned with the new direction.

With every disruptive cycle and the introduction of new technology, companies need to introduce measures to cope with the skill shifts required to carry out new tasks and interact with new interfaces (from machinery and tools to software and automation) and implement an effective knowledge transfer strategy.  

A study published on Harvard Business Review shows employees are spending an average of 22 minutes a day trying to figure out how to accomplish tasks while working with new applications. 

To tackle this, companies need to prioritize activities that a) quickly onboard new employees, b) upskill existing employees, and c) tackle the challenges linked to data processing, customer intimacy, speed, and customer journey optimization. 

In areas like Automation, Machine Learning, and Artificial intelligenceI, a new ecosystem of integrated applications that share and exchange information to provide and make sense of data in real time is required. And with that, the skills to navigate the software. 

The benefits of such innovations are endless, but, as emphasized by McKinsey, companies have to ensure that the interaction between humans and machines becomes as natural as possible to drive digital adoption and boost a digital skill set.

Looking to the future, advanced technological skills will become even more important. According to the same research conducted by McKinsey, by 2030, time spent interacting with advanced technology will increase by 50% in the United States and 41% in Europe.

#3 Learning culture

Instilling a learning culture and continuous training across your organization is now key to successful digital adoption.

Learning and training is an on-going process. Winning companies are those that have successfully implemented a lifelong learning culture and the right technology that promotes continuous learning and development. 

As mentioned in Pluralsight’s report on the fourth industrial revolution, staff training and employee development plans will become the center of the business strategy of major corporations by 2025. 

Therefore, a modern talent management approach becomes the key driver of successful digital adoption and companies that invest in developing their workforce exhibit the highest growth.  

IDC’s ‘Designing Tomorrow’ white paper shows that the main drivers of digital transformation are people, knowledge, and culture.

Investing in people and their digital know-how is the most essential element to guarantee scalability and sustainability. As shown in a recent case study we conducted, employees only use approximately 40% of the features of new software applications and this dramatically reduces the ROI derived from the implementation of new software. 

In our Digital Talk series, Aileen Aileen Goebel, Business Program Manager for Future Skills at Microsoft, shared some precious learning hacks on weaving learning into your business, and supporting a strong learning culture. You can watch the interview here.

#4 Strategy supportive solutions

A digital-first strategy is now a must, but having the right solutions to support that strategy is even more important.

The harsh verdict is that it’s a case of adapt or die for many businesses. Either companies successfully undergo transformation or they’ll perish. 

A recent IDC survey points out that 73% of companies believe they will either be out of business or marginalized if they don’t transform. Over two-thirds of them expect a digitally enabled competitor to gain a competitive advantage within the next five years.

Over 20% said it is highly likely to happen in the next 12 months.

According to IDG’s Digital Business Survey, 89% of businesses will prioritize digital adoption as they claim to have adopted a digital-first strategy.

Unfortunately, though, 66% of businesses still feel like they’re missing the mark when it comes to solutions that support the strategy. 

Because we are now dealing with cloud solutions and infrastructure-as-a-service characterized by frequent updates and changes, traditional training for software and digital processes can’t keep up with the speed at which technology evolves. And neither can training materials that face obsolescence right from the date of publication.  

The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve shows that 90% of what people absorb during training is forgotten in less than a month. 

So what can organizations do? 

They need to implement an agile-solution to provide continuous performance support that compensates for the need for training and retraining programs. 

And that’s exactly what a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) like Userlane does: It provides every application with a guidance layer that steers users and operators in real time while they accomplish digital tasks. 

Support is delivered directly on-screen while people interact with software applications in a self-serve consumable way.  

Userlane also adds a Virtual Assistant to every application that provides electronic performance support either proactively (to drive engagement and push users to work with advanced features) or on-demand (when users are not sure how to achieve their goal). 

A digital adoption platform basically provides in-app user onboarding and training with step-by-step interactive performance support.

Are you frustrated with the low adoption rate of your complex software amongst your customers and employees?

Would you like to find out more about the power of in-app interactive training?
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