“The most crucial objective of any major IT transition is outstanding adoption.”Santarosa Consulting
IT managers may not agree with this statement. But they would be wrong.
Simply rolling out new technology does not qualify as a successful digital change. User adoption does.
But how do you measure digital adoption? How do you know when you’ve succeeded?
Usage vs. digital adoption
It may be a subtle distinction, but the difference between usage and adoption is an important one.
If your old system has been discontinued and everyone, as a result, now uses the new one, does that mean the transition was successful? Probably not.
A key question to ask here is, are they using the new system as well as they were using the old system? Not only that, but are they using the new system to its fullest capacity? Are they aware and comfortable with all the features?
Therein lies the difference between usage and adoption.
Usage: Successfully accessing and using the system to complete tasks.
Adoption: Being familiar and fluent with the system. Making it “your own” to achieve better results.
“Lack of digital fluency, the aptitude needed to utilize digital technology to its full potential, is also an issue. Without digital fluency, organizations are unable to realize the full impact of innovative technologies.”
Accenture, Digital Adoption Report
Now, usage is easy to measure. Adoption is a little more tricky.
Leading Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) provider WalkMe defines adoption as, “achieving a state in which digital tools are being used as intended, and to their fullest extent.”
If we break this definition down, we can hone in on some potential KPIs to measure digital adoption.
How to measure digital adoption
We can break down KPIs to measure digital adoption into four categories.
So, what are the intended uses for your new technology or system? What is its purpose? What needs is it designed to fulfil and problems do you want it to solve?
Answers to these questions can form the basis of your intention KPIs. For example, if software is being introduced to accelerate sales processes, you can measure the time that is spent completing them.
If your organization is introducing a chatbot to ease pressure on its customer call center, you can measure volume of calls to the center in conjunction with chatbot usage.
This category of KPIs comes from the “to their fullest extent” part of WalkMe’s digital adoption definition.
A digital tool has not been successfully adopted if users aren’t aware of or don’t understand all its features.
Here’s an example. A bank introduces a new app for their customers that includes a feature for at-home printing of a banker’s cheque.
The banking app gets get usage numbers, as customers are familiar and comfortable with the idea of online banking. However, a survey reveals that customers aren’t aware of or don’t trust the new banker’s cheque feature.
Digital adoption has not been successful here, as the app is not being used to its fullest extent. So, formulate some KPIs based on the features of the new technology.
This category of KPIs primarily relates to the users of the digital tool being adopted. The US Government provides some useful metrics for gauging user satisfaction.
What to Measure
|Ways to Use
of their visit.
|Used to baseline and benchmark scores from
month-to-month or year-to-year. Some tools
|Very useful as
experience can be influenced
|Completion rate of intended task
|The customer’s perceived ability to get the
|Very actionable data that gives
accurate picture of whether
task. Determines needs of the
data. Some tools allow for
|% of visitors
likely to return
service for the
same or similar task in the
|Gauges adoption & loyalty.
“intention” with actual returning visitor data to
|% of visitors
your product or service
|Gauges adoption & loyalty.
“intention” with increase in new visitor data to
This final category of KPIs is not directly linked to the definition of digital adoption. Instead, its connected to its purpose.
“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
The goal of digital adoption is always to improve human performance; to make it easier and faster to achieve exceptional results, for employees and/or their customers.
The point of digital is to raise human performance and any factors associated with performance — productivity, for example. What factors are you able to isolate and attribute any measurable change to the successful adoption of a new technology?
Some final words
Remember that, if you’re using a DAP as part of your implementation process, you can get adoption data and insights from within the platform.
It’s not easy to measure digital adoption. But it is possible. The key thing is working out what success looks like to you.
By focussing on developing KPIs under the four categories outlined above, you should be able to paint a clear picture of your digital adoption success.