It’s your daughter’s birthday.
You’ve spent hours and hours researching the perfect gift. You go out and buy her a pony. You imagine her winning competitions, exercising, and bonding with this majestic pony.
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The time comes to present her with her gift. She looks at it and strokes it and thanks you with a kiss. You show her how to mount the pony and walk around the field.
Over the next few weeks, she goes out to the paddock to pet it. She feeds it and braids its hair. She walks it a bit, just how you showed her. She doesn’t trot. She doesn’t gallop. She doesn’t jump. She doesn’t enter competitions.
She isn’t using the pony as intended, and to its fullest extent. You gave her the gift, but you didn’t focus on her adoption of it. In the same way, you need to drive digital adoption.
“A lack of digital adoption can seriously cripple a new implementation, and it can result in thousands and potentially millions of dollars lost in the long term.” Philip Kushmaro, CIO.com
How to drive digital adoption
- Focus on training
- Define success and measure it
- Think long term
- Lead by example
- Surround yourself with believers
1. Focus on training
Digital adoption is using tools “as intended, and to their fullest extent.” Therefore, you can’t drive digital adoption without training people to use the required digital tools. Just like the little girl can’t fully adopt the pony without the proper training.
If you’re not the training manager, you need to get them on board as early as possible. Finding a suitable training solution is going to be central to your digital adoption strategy.
There are many ways to learn. As a result, there are many ways to train. However, most organizations still opt for traditional — and arguably outdated — methods.
The biggest challenges to effective training are the learning curve and the forgetting curve. We all know the learning curve. It takes time to get to grips with something new. It’s just part and parcel of traditional training programs.
The forgetting curve is the time it takes to forget what we’ve learned. Within 24 hours, we forget 67% of our training.
In recent years, there have been many developments in the adult learning and training industries designed to combat these curves.
Personalization is one such development. We are more able to connect with learning material and therefore remember it, the more personalized it is to us.
Another development is contextualization. A Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) incorporates both of these learning principles into its algorithmic guidance layer.
The DAP is placed over the top of whatever digital tool or system is being adopted. It learns user behavior provides contextual guidance right when users need it.
Instead of users having to learn something new, the DAP adapts the tool to them. No more learning and forgetting curves!
2. Define success and measure it
To know whether you’ve been successful in driving digital adoption, you must first define what success is going to look like for your organization.
Once you’ve outlined relevant KPIs, you can measure your progress. When deciding on your KPIs, remember that usage is different to adoption.
Consider these four categories when developing your digital adoption KPIs:
- Intention: what is the new digital tool intended to achieve? What’s its purpose?
- Features: what are the features of the new tool? How can they help? Who do you want to use them?
- Outcomes: what performance outcomes can you isolate and attribute to this tool?
- Satisfaction: how do users feel about the digital tool?
Develop KPIs under the four categories outlined above to paint a picture of your digital adoption success.
“Digital is more than a set of technologies you buy. It is the abilities those technologies create…Digital is the application of information and technology to raise human performance.” Accenture Strategy Blog 10
3. Think long term
What do they say, slow and steady wins the race? Only, digital transformation isn’t a race. It’s an ongoing process.
This is where many organizations go wrong.
Digital adoption is something that needs to occur and be successful throughout the digital transformation of an enterprise. And in today’s continually evolving digital business landscape, this transformation doesn’t end.
“…digital transformation isn’t the result, it’s the process. As technology continues to develop, you have to be prepared to continually redefine the finish line. […]
“Coming in first place demands determination and a strong will to constantly evolve.” WalkMe
4. Lead by example
Leaders need to lead. And the most effective way to do that is by example. All great leaders inspire their followers to do as they do.
And we’re not just talking about you here. Lack of strong leadership and executive buy-in is a common barrier to digital adoption.
Any organizational change is best managed by recruiting executive and team leaders first. They must embody the organizational culture and values you want to achieve. In this case, that’s an eagerness for change and a digital-first approach.
Read up on preeminent organizational change models from the likes of Kotter and Prosci. Whether the approach is top down or bottom up, it won’t work without strong leadership and people “walking the walk”.
“There cannot be digital transformation without leaders who have mastered the ins and outs of digital adoption.” Manish Dudharejia, Entrepreneur
5. Surround yourself with believers
Digital transformation is already taking place in businesses around the world. According to IDG, 89% of today’s businesses are prioritizing digital strategies.
Even if digital adoption and/or transformation is the sole purpose of your job role, it is everyone’s responsibility. Digital transformation cannot take place without the commitment and drive of everybody in the business.
You need to surround yourself with change champions and digital believers. The aim is to create an organizational culture that embraces change and digital evolution.
Support others to educate themselves on the subject, as you do.
Share links to influential digital transformation blogs and podcasts. Encourage debate and the sharing of ideas. Offer additional digital training and opportunities to attend relevant conferences.
With a strategic, educated, and mindful approach, digital transformation is not as challenging as it might seem. Successful digital transformation simply requires you to drive digital adoption consistently and effectively.
To drive digital adoption, you need to consider contemporary adult learning and organizational change management principles. Combined with accurate digital adoption metrics, solid leadership, and buy-in, you will achieve success.