Digital Adoption Solutions (DAS) are poised to transform the way organizations adopt digital products and the way people learn software.
In this article, we’ll cover the DAS in depth, exploring:
- What a DAS is
- The benefits of using a DAS for product adoption, user adoption, onboarding, training, and other digital adoption efforts
- Frequently asked questions about the DAS
- A step-by-step approach for using a DAS to streamline the digital workplace
And much more.
To start with, let’s cover the basics:
Digital Adoption Solutions (DAS): Key Concepts and Definitions
To set the stage, let’s look at some key concepts surrounding digital adoption solutions.
This will help us better understand the context, and these platforms are gaining so much traction in the enterprise work environment.
- Digital Transformation – Digital transformation is the process of leveraging new technologies to transform a business. These transformations can change everything from operations to the workplace culture to the business model itself.
- Digital Adoption – Digital adoption is the implementation, integration, and adoption of new technologies … and the use of those technologies to their fullest extent, for their intended purpose. This definition extends beyond “technology adoption” or “software implementation,” and focuses on maximizing the value of software through effective onboarding and training.
- Digital Adoption Solutions – Digital adoption solutions are platforms designed to streamline and improve the digital adoption process. As we will see below, they use contextualized guidance, in-app walkthroughs, and user analytics to dramatically boost software onboarding and training.
However, to truly understand the value that digital adoption solutions bring to the table, it is important to understand a few important facts:
- Today’s economy is driven by digital disruption and transformation. The current digital revolution is being called “Industry 4.0” by many industry leaders. This revolution represents a fundamental shift in the way businesses operate and deliver value to their customers. Organizations that can adapt will stand a chance of surviving in the coming years. Those that can’t adapt, though, will likely get left behind.
- Continual learning is fast becoming a permanent feature of the digital workplace. Because digital tools continually change, employees must continually learn new tools, skills, and workflows. Though modern digital workflows can help organizations keep up with technological advances, constant learning requires ongoing training and effort.
- To stay competitive and evolve, organizations need to cultivate a skilled, productive workforce. Training doesn’t happen on its own – organizations must proactively cultivate the needed skills in their workers. After all, if the workforce isn’t proficient and productive, they won’t be able to contribute to the organization’s bottom line.
- Successful digital transformation depends on successful digital adoption. Done right, digital adoption efforts can streamline employee training, improve worker proficiency levels, and boost productivity. However, inefficient adoption can have the opposite effect, increasing frustration and resistance.
In an ecosystem that requires constant learning, reskilling, and upskilling, digital adoption is not an option … it is a prerequisite for survival.
And digital adoption solutions are ideally suited to help businesses not only survive, but thrive.
Let’s learn more about these solutions by answering some commonly asked questions.
Digital Adoption Solutions FAQ
This FAQ offers detailed insight into what digital adoption solutions are, why they matter, and how they are used:
Why use a DAS?
Digital adoption, as mentioned, is a key stage in any digital transformation program.
Successful transformation often depends on digital adoption – the less effective the adoption efforts, the more problems the digital transformation initiative will face.
Using digital adoption solutions helps organizations do several things:
- Automate training. In-app guidance delivers information automatically, right at the moment of need. A Salesforce user, for instance, can learn complex workflows by simply following a series of instructions.
- Improve the user experience. Complex software platforms can be daunting and intimidating, especially without the proper guidance. Digital adoption solutions offer this guidance immediately, without the need for human intervention. This keep users on task and focused, simplifying their experience and improving motivation levels.
- Decrease technical support costs. Technical support calls can add up, both in terms of their financial cost and their cost to the end users. Reducing technical support calls helps users become more productive and self-reliant, which further boosts engagement, confidence, and motivation.
- Accelerate onboarding, training, and adoption programs. Faster time-to-competency means shorter time-to-ROI. With digital adoption solutions’ in-app guidance, they learn software more quickly, helping organizations reap the rewards of their investment in less time.
- Improve employee proficiency and productivity. Overall proficiency levels go up, which then boosts productivity levels. By using digital adoption solutions to promote specific software features, for instance, organizations can prevent employee skill levels from stagnating.
- Increase software utilization. The more capabilities that workers use, the more value they will deliver at the end of the day. After all, a platform that is only half-used will only deliver part of its potential returns.
- Improve the bottom-line ROI of a software platform. Ultimately, digital adoption solutions help businesses extract more value from their software investments, not to mention their workforce.
To name just a few benefits.
In short, digital adoption solutions grease the wheels of digital transformation programs.
Organizations that use them experience big gains in a number of areas, helping to create a workplace that is more digitally savvy, more skilled, and more productive.
Who uses digital adoption solutions?
Organizations can use digital adoption platforms for audiences such as:
- Employees – Employees, as we saw above, regularly adopt new software, either when they enter a new job or when an organization chooses to adopt new products.
- App Users – App users, such as web app or mobile app users, must also adopt new software. In their case, onboarding and training can mean the difference between a loyal customer and someone who abandons the product altogether.
- Customers – For some businesses, app users and customers may mean the same thing. For others, they may differ. A web hosting company that provides its customers with cPanel, for instance, tends to think of its customers as customers, rather than “app users.”
Any user group that can benefit from streamlined onboarding and training, in short, can use a digital adoption solution.
Above, we saw how they deliver value to an enterprise that adopts new training solutions.
However, they can also help SaaS providers by, for instance:
- Decreasing user churn (abandonment)
- Improving customer retention and loyalty
- Enhancing the onboarding experience
- Decreasing the need for technical support
- Promoting offers, such as cross-sells or upsells
In either context – a B2B context or a B2C context – digital adoption solutions help decrease friction and improve the user experience.
The result: better bottom-line value from those users, whether they are employees, customers, or app users.
Why use a DAS instead of other training methods?
Digital adoption solutions outperform traditional training techniques in many respects, particularly when it comes to software training.
- Contextualized guidance focuses only on need-to-know information, which improves knowledge retention and increases productivity. In a classroom setting, people are often inundated with information, much of which is irrelevant or will be forgotten. Context-based training, however, avoids extraneous information and only delivers practical action steps.
- In-app training also allows users to immediately apply what they are learning, increasing engagement and knowledge retention. As mentioned, classroom training and other traditional teaching approaches have a lag between the training time and application. This delay increases the chance that people will forget what they have learned. Contextualized training, however, allows users to apply information as they are learning it, dramatically increasing how long they retain that information.
- Digital adoption solutions are faster and more efficient than other training approaches. With a digital adoption solution on hand, even new users can sit down and begin performing. This results in a workforce that is more productive and more proficient, more quickly.
Though other enterprise training solutions certainly have their place, when it comes to practical workflows, digital adoption solutions are hard to beat.
How are they used?
As mentioned, a digital adoption solution assists any business with its digital adoption efforts, whether its end users are employees, consumers, or app users.
These solutions can be used, therefore, to enhance business efforts such as:
- Digital transformation
- Software implementation
- Employee onboarding and training
- Product adoption
- Customer onboarding
- Customer care and support
The benefits of a digital adoption solution, in other words, extend far beyond user training … though that is certainly a key benefit.
When should an organization use a digital adoption solution?
Organizations should consider using one of these platforms when they:
- Are adopting new in-house software
- Want to increase the value of existing software implementations
- Want to improve the efficiency of their employee onboarding and training programs
- Develop software products and want to improve their product experience metrics
- Have customer-facing digital services that can benefit from in-app guidance and support
To name a few instances.
Any organization that implements software – either for its employees or its customers – can benefit from using a digital adoption solution.
What’s the difference between a DAS and a DAP (Digital Adoption Platform)?
Digital adoption solutions (DAS) and digital adoption platforms (DAP) are synonymous.
In a recent report, though, Gartner used the term “digital adoption solution” to describe digital adoption platforms, while naming WalkMe as one of the leaders in its industry.
Both terms, DAS and DAP, describe the same solution: a digital adoption platform that helps organizations and users adopt software more efficiently and more effectively.
Regardless of which term you use, the DAS (that is, the DAP) can offer significant benefits when implemented for any group of users.
To see more specifically how digital adoption solutions can benefit an organization, let’s look at how enterprises can implement these platforms to improve employee onboarding, training, and software adoption.
How a DAS Can Streamline the Digital Workplace in 5 Simple Steps
Earlier, we looked at the core features of a digital adoption solution:
- In-app, contextualized guidance
- Step-by-step walkthroughs
- Software analytics
These features, combined under a single hood, accelerate onboarding, training, and adoption.
And with the right approach, they can help businesses integrate workflows, streamline the digital workplace, and increase productivity across the organization.
However, to use digital adoption solutions effectively, it is important to have the right adoption strategy.
Here is a 5-step action plan that can act as an outline for digital adoption initiatives:
1. Set the stage: understand the purpose of digital transformation, digital adoption, and the DAS.
The first step is understanding the big picture:
- The organization’s digital transformation strategy
- How digital adoption fits into that picture
- The benefits of effective digital adoption
- The downsides of ineffective digital adoption
And, finally, how a digital adoption solution can benefit the organization’s workflow.
Understanding this information can help managers understand the value of digital adoption solutions, make a business case for their use, and design an adoption strategy.
2. Assess the organization’s needs and capabilities.
Assessments are an important stage in any organizational change initiative, including digital transformation programs.
Among other things, organizations should assess:
- The level of digital maturity
- Change readiness
- Workforce skill levels
- The potential value of different digital solutions
These assessments will paint a clear picture of where the organization is, what its capabilities are, and where it needs to go.
3. Set adoption goals that are clear, measurable, and achievable.
With the right adoption strategy in place, organizations can develop a project schedule, replete with goals.
These project goals can include aims such as:
- Digital adoption goals, metrics, and deadlines
- Performance, proficiency, and productivity aims
- Objectives specific to a given project
As with any other business project, organizations should follow best practices when managing that project. Roles and responsibilities should be delegated, accountability should be maintained, and so forth.
4. Test and implement the DAS.
Some digital adoption solutions include prepared modules for specific B2B platforms.
WalkMe’s digital adoption platform, for instance, has modules for many of the most popular B2B platforms, such as CRM, ERP, and HCM platforms.
These prepared modules make it easy to get up and running with the WalkMe platform – and, just as importantly, they make it easy for users to start being productive, quickly and easily.
Implementation involves a few main steps:
- Training – End-user training should begin before software is rolled out to test users or the organization.
- Testing – Implementing the digital adoption solution with a pilot group can help the organization gain early feedback from users and make predictions about full-scale adoption.
- Implementation – Organization-wide rollout can occur all at once or in phases, one department or business function at a time.
- Optimization – Finally, the digital adoption solution should be optimized to improve user engagement, learning, and performance.
Optimization, the final step, is an important stage in any business project, and is covered next:
5. Analyze and optimize.
Analysis should cover chosen adoption metrics, such as user proficiency, productivity, engagement, and so forth.
The digital adoption solution’s analytics can offer insight into many of these metrics, which can then be further augmented with feedback from employees, managers, and stakeholders.
To make the most of a digital adoption solution, optimization should follow a few key steps:
- Collect data
- Learn from that data
- Adjust workflows and tutorials to improve metrics
Naturally, no software deployment will be perfect the first time around.
Continually optimizing that platform’s implementation will help an organization maximize the returns on its software, as well as the digital adoption solution itself.
How a Digital Adoption Solution Can Boost Customer Growth and Revenue
Businesses that use digital adoption solutions for digital transformation and adoption can experience significant gains in employee proficiency, productivity, and performance, as we have seen.
However, that isn’t the only use case for digital adoption platforms.
These solutions can also be used for customer-facing software.
Effective use of these platforms can help with:
- Customer onboarding and training. A user’s first impression of a software often immediately defines their ongoing perception of that product – not to mention the brand that created the product. Digital adoption solutions streamline the onboarding process, helping to decrease friction and improve the user experience.
- Customer care and support. With a digital adoption solution, customers can gain interactive, automated support. Self-support decreases the need for technical support calls, which improves the customer experience and customer loyalty.
- Customer success and audience growth. Engaging customers at key stages in the customer journey, digital adoption solutions help drive customer success, engagement, and longevity. Improvements in these areas, in turn, help businesses build their audience more efficiently and effectively over the long term.
- Revenue growth. Improving the user experience during software trials results in more conversions and more long-term revenue.
Customers, in short, can include consumers as well as B2B customers, such as employees.
For a business that develops customer-facing software, digital adoption solutions can significantly improve the areas covered above.
The result: better user experiences, greater user retention, more engagement, and a better bottom-line value from those users.
Best Practices, Strategies, Tips, and Tricks
The right digital adoption platform can seriously benefit an organization, as we have seen so far.
We have also seen how necessary it is to have an effective strategy for digital adoption.
Following a plan – and implementing a few best practices – can help organizations maximize the value they gain from any digital adoption initiative.
Below are 7 tips that can help businesses boost the returns from their adoption programs and extract even more value from their software investments:
1. Manage and optimize the user experience.
The first step is to prioritize user experience management.
Unless the user experience is actively aimed for and managed, it is unlikely that an organization will make much progress in that area.
Organizations must, in other words:
- Understand and communicate the value of the user experience to the proper stakeholders. Making a business case for the value of the user experience is an essential first step. As with the development of a digital adoption strategy, a user adoption strategy must be built upon an understanding of the “why” behind that strategy. With that knowledge, it will be much easier to make a business case, justify budgets, develop strategies, define goals, and actually manage the user experience effectively.
- Dedicate time and resources to user experience management. User experience management should be a dedicated business function. In larger organizations, this means developing departments that are solely dedicated to managing the experiences of users – and even employees.
- Enhance key stages in the user journey, such as onboarding and training. As we have seen, digital adoption solutions are excellent tools for improving onboarding and training. These stages in the user journey – whether those users are customers, app users, or employees – are defining moments that can make or break relationships. Improving these areas should be a constant focal point for user experience managers.
A process such as this will enable organizations to actually reap the rewards that come with improving the user experience.
2. Hire a digital adoption manager and create a dedicated digital adoption business function.
In the ever-changing digital ecosystem, digital adoption is becoming permanent.
For that reason, businesses should strongly consider creating permanent digital adoption functions.
A business unit dedicated to in-house digital adoption would be solely devoted to:
- Improving employee experiences
- Streamlining the adoption of new processes
- Enhancing employee onboarding and software adoption
- Maximizing the value and ROI of new software
Digital adoption managers would lead this business unit, helping to design and optimize digital adoption programs.
They would also coordinate with other key departments, such as HR and IT, to ensure that the workforce stays proficient, productive, and aligned with the organization’s digital transformation efforts.
3. Personalize the user journey.
Personalization enhances the value of any solution, service, or process.
In the case of digital adoption, personalized onboarding and training helps to:
- Improve the user experience
- Increase the relevancy of onboarding and training communications
- Keep users more engaged and interested
Digital adoption solutions, which deliver contextualized training and communications, are ideal for personalizing the user experience.
After all, they automatically deliver information that is immediately relevant to the task at hand.
However, digital adoption specialists can personalize user experiences even further, by:
- Analyzing software usage to understand user behavior, then personalize software experiences to meet user needs
- Segmenting user groups and developing pathways for each segment
- Incorporating individual user data into software experiences
- Using user data to improve communications
In short, the more personalized the user journey, the better the user experience – and the more profitable the relationships with the customers.
4. Free up user time by automating tedious tasks.
Automation is a feature of the best digital adoption solutions, such as WalkMe.
Automating tasks helps in a few ways:
- It frees up users’ time for more value-added activities. Repetitive tasks, such as data entry or filling out forms, can eat up valuable time. Employees who are freed from this necessity can focus on more important tasks, which will also keep them more engaged and motivated at work.
- Automation decreases costs and increases accuracy. Automation, when done correctly, can reduce error rates to 0%. Even the best humans, however, occasionally make errors. Deploying automated tools is one way to increase accuracy and keep errors to a minimum.
- Automating the right tasks can add massive productivity gains across the business. Since automated tasks take less time and cost less, they can add significant productivity gains across the entire organization. Coupled with the other two benefits just mentioned, it is hard not to see the value in automation.
Though some workers fear automation, in most cases businesses simply reallocate employee time to other activities.
In the digital era, automation is just another fact of life. And using automation correctly can further improve the value of a software investment.
5. Set your sights beyond digital adoption, on the integrated digital workplace.
Organizations and adoption specialists should extend their vision past “technology adoption” or “software deployment.”
Ultimately, digital adoption and digital transformation are part of today’s digital revolution … a revolution which affects business processes, business models, operations, culture, and more.
To stay relevant and modern, organizations need to rethink the way they engage customers, users, employees, business partners, and the wider marketplace.
When it comes to digital adoption, this means:
- Looking at digital adoption as a key piece of the digital transformation puzzle. Digital adoption should be put into the context of a digital transformation strategy. That strategy should act as the northern star for adoption efforts – otherwise it is all too easy to focus on digital tools, rather than the real aim of digital transformation.
- Envisioning and moving towards an integrated digital workplace. Digital workplaces are digital in the fullest sense: people collaborate online, work remotely, utilize digital tools to their fullest extent, and so forth. This should be the aim and the vision of digital adoption, not merely “software deployment.”
- Aligning the organization both internally and with the external environment. Digital transformation and adoption, again, should extend their vision past the tools themselves. The purpose of adopting new tools, after all, is to help an organization become more digitally mature, competitive, and functional. Effective digital adoption, therefore, should help an organization stay aligned with its environment, both internal and external.
To sum up: the idea behind digital transformation and adoption is not merely about deploying new technology.
Digital transformation represents a paradigm shift in the way businesses operate.
To keep up, businesses must understand this and build strategies around a vision of the digital future, not just deploy new tools because other businesses are doing it.
6. Align the priorities of separate business units.
HR, IT, finance, marketing, customer service … all of these business functions must reinvent the way they work.
And they must reinvent the way they work together.
Gone are the days when these business functions can operate in silos, independent of one another, with separate aims and separate tools.
To stay modern and valuable, these separate units must:
- Collaborate, communicate, and share data
- Align their aims with the organization’s strategy
- Align their strategies with one another
- Be open, ready, and able to change
A slow, bureaucratic organization will have difficulty competing in a world defined by fast-pace change.
Increasing alignment between business functions is one way to improve organizational agility, collaboration, and efficiency.
Just as importantly, it also helps align the workforce with the organization’s priorities – a major plus for any organization that is undergoing digital transformation.
7. Communicate the value of digital adoption to peers and executives.
Organizations that support digital adoption will experience more success than those that don’t.
Communicating the value of digital adoption can help in several ways:
- Employees will be less resistant to change
- Executives will be more likely to support digital adoption projects
- Digital adoption programs will be more successful
To earn these benefits, organizations must proactively communicate the value of digital adoption to stakeholders.
This can be accomplished by explaining a few key points, such as:
- The importance of digital transformation
- The role of digital adoption in the modern digital workplace
- How user experiences – such as the customer experience and the employee experience – affect the organization
The better that stakeholders understand these areas, the more likely they will be to align their efforts with a digital adoption agenda.
Communicating the value of digital adoption, in other words, is one of the most fundamental steps in aligning the organization around that effort.
Without that support, digital adoption efforts, support, and funding will likely stagnate … and the outcomes of a project could follow suit.
Final Thoughts: Digital Adoption Solutions Deliver the Most Value When Implemented Properly
Digital adoption solutions, like any other software investment, require time, effort, and resources.
To make the most of a digital adoption platform, solution, and project, organizations should understand:
- What digital adoption is
- Why it matters
- And then how to implement digital adoption programs
That knowledge, in turn, will help organizations develop and execute an effective digital adoption strategy.
It will also, as pointed out just above, help align business units around a common aim, increasing support and funding.
Ultimately, taking these steps can help a business maximize the value of its digital adoption solution, by improving user experiences, engagement, and performance.