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[Quick Guide] Digital Adoption Terminology: Educate Yourself To Get Ahead!

Digital Adoption Terminology

Knowing digital adoption terminology is about so much more than merely words.

It’s about adopting a way of thinking into your company culture. It’s not enough simply to convert analogue into digital. Enterprises must think and act in terms of digital adoption.

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10-20% of people are active digital users, aka “digital natives.” They’ll proactively pursue digital assets and adopt them. But the remaining 80-90% of digital users are reluctant, suspicious even. They won’t necessarily want to adopt new digital tools.

You must educate them. Bring the digital adoption terminology to them and explain it clearly. This will help them to define and appreciate the importance of digital adoption.

Digital adoption terminology: the basics

The definition of digital adoption

1. “A state in which digital tools are being used as intended, and to their fullest extent.”

Digital adoption occurs when a business invests in new technology, adopts a digital mindset, and evolves processes so users can maximize proficiency on a given software or app.

True digital adoption means the life of a user is enhanced — not overwhelmed — by technology. (WalkMe)

What does a Digital Adoption Platform do?

2. “Simplifies task completion, improves productivity, and protects ROI.”

A Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) not only protects but enhances the technology ROI of the company. It streamlines digital processes for users, increasing their productivity and allowing them to enjoy the benefits of technology — not have nightmares about it.

The DAP provides in-app training and guidance to users. It deciphers and learns user behavior and gives the company deep insights about this activity.

Enterprises must intimately understand these terms, which are the fundamentals of digital adoption terminology, and develop them into a mindset or approach within the business.

Other useful digital adoption terminology

Automation Platform

This platform uses algorithms and software tools to automate and perform functions without human influence. This includes software training, repetitive tasks and administrative tasks, content management, and data analysis.

Many of these tasks can be automated by the DAP to expedite the overall data processes of an enterprise.

Change Management

This is a systematic approach to aid a company in incorporating organizational changes. This would involve using digital adoption principles to influence data tools, processes, and mechanisms — and how they’re used — within an enterprise.

Customer Experience

This is the perception the customer has of the company’s brand, but it also encompasses their entire experience with the brand. If the customer experience (CX) is positive, it will increase the customer’s loyalty to the brand.

The DAP can enhance the CX by streamlining and simplifying their learning curve and engaging them while they’re using the brand’s digital tools.

Customer Journey Map

Customer journey maps visualize moments in the customer’s entire purchasing process. Learn how to build a customer journey map here.

Digital Adoption Manager

The digital adoption manager is responsible for the successful adoption of technologies and digital tools within an organization.

It’s up to them to deploy and measure the impact of digital adoption solutions, like a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for example.

The digital adoption manager is a relatively new job title but arguably one of the most important within an enterprise.

This is because the digital revolution has brought — and continues to bring — new software, applications, and digital systems to the business world. As a result, today’s employees are using more digital tools than ever before.

Secure identity cloud provider Okta shares some interesting data on digital adoption, particularly within healthcare and banking businesses. Both industries have seen a rapid increase in the number of apps used.

This fast technology growth brings with it some challenges, digital overwhelm and employee burnout for example.    

The digital adoption manager’s role is to understand where employees are struggling to adopt software or technology, and resolve their problems.

They meet with stakeholders to find out where employee performance is suffering, make an assessment of the business impact, and build out solutions to overcome the challenges.

Regardless of the department, application, or process, they target areas of inefficiency and provide strategic technology adoption help.

See more here: “Digital Adoption Manager”: Most Valuable Job Title.

Digital Transformation

It’s the process of transforming a business to support digital models that will keep the company competitive within the marketplace. Companies that chase digital transformation will become more mobile, customer centered, and data-driven.

Since digital transformation cannot occur without digital adoption, the DAP is central to this process.


Digitization is what happens when information in a physical or analogue format is converted into a digital one.

“Digitization essentially refers to taking analog information and encoding it into zeroes and ones so that computers can store, process, and transmit such information.”

Jason BloombergForbes

See more here: Digitization vs. Digitalization vs. Digital Adoption.


Digitalization, though it might sound the same, actually means something different. 

With digitization, you’re converting information, not processes – that’s where digitalization comes in.

Let’s imagine there’s a C-Suite meeting. The CEO’s PA is in attendance to take the minutes. Digitization would occur when the PA handwrites the notes, then photocopies them to distribute via email. 

However, digitalization would occur if they used a digital application where all previous minutes are saved, provides easy access and sharing of minutes, and allows contributors to link relevant information to scheduled meetings.   

Digitalization is an important part of the enterprise digital transformation journey. Understanding this will help to explain the relationship between digitization vs. digitalization vs. digital adoption.

Employee Onboarding

This integrates new employees into the business. A proper onboarding process will be employee-centered and leverages digital technology. It will affect employee performance, motivation, and productivity, and a good one helps to retain employees in the company.

Machine Learning

This is a kind of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows computers to analyze data, learn from that data, and create their own models from this data. This is done without human intervention. It is used for data analysis, in search engines, and to create personalized recommendations on e-commerce platforms.

The DAP uses machine learning to analyze, learn, and create models based on user behavior that will help to improve the user experience.

Robotic Process Automation

RPA stands for robotic process automation. It’s an emerging technology based on software robots or artificial intelligence (AI).

The concept of RPA, or Robotic Process Automation, was coined by Blue Prism in 2012. Instead of needing humans to operate the systems, RPA allows you to create an automated process — essentially, a robot — to work them.

There are two types of RPA: attended and unattended.

  • Attended RPA is a robot that learns from the user’s actions and can suggest to the user next steps on the basis of those actions.
  • Unattended RPA works 100% automatically without any input from the user.  

RPA is a type of intelligent automation, made possible by recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI).

The core components of intelligent automation are:

  • AI / machine learning: Systems that simulate human intelligence and are able to learn.
  • Natural language processing: The recognition of human speech.
  • Robotics: Robots that use the Internet of Things (IoT) to make independent decisions.
  • Predictive analytics: The prediction of outcomes via machine learning and algorithms.

IBM reports that intelligent automation is, changing the way enterprises operate by using technology to “optimize processes, personalize customer experiences and enhance decision making.”

“This shift – moving the burden of processes from humans to technology – has the potential to redesign the way work gets done within an enterprise.”


RPA is very different to basic and even other advanced process automations, and very few enterprises are actually using it. 

This is important context for understanding how a Digital Adoption Platform & RPA relate to each other.

See more here: Digital Adoption & RPA.

User Experience

This is the experience the user has interacting with a brand’s product. DAP can make the user experience (UX) of any digital product simple, concise, and efficient for the user.


A walkthrough takes users step-by-step through a series of actions to a desired learning goal, therefore they’re incredibly valuable in the onboarding process. Walkthroughs can happen in blogs, in user manuals, or within digital systems themselves.

Customized walkthroughs can be made through the DAP, for example.

For a more thorough version of this digital adoption terminology quick guide, download WalkMe’s full glossary of digital adoption terms here.

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Digital Adoption Team

A wonderful team of Digital Adoption, Digital Transformation & Change Management Experts.