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A Product Adoption Plan vs. A Digital Adoption Plan: Which Is Better?

Is a product adoption plan the right approach to new user adoption? Or should you create a digital adoption plan instead?

In this article, we’ll cover:

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  • The differences between these two approaches
  • The pros and cons of each approach
  • The key elements of each

Let’s start off with a basic definition of product adoption.

What Is a Product Adoption Plan?

Product adoption is the process where people begin using a new product, such as a software application.

This process involves stages such as:

  • User onboarding. When users first begin using a product, learn about its interface, its functionality, and so forth.
  • Training. Teaching users how to accomplish their objectives with a product.
  • Support. Technical support, customer care, and other support functions.

Each stage of the product adoption process affects important user metrics, such as:

  • User engagement. How actively people use a product, which is often measured by how frequently and extensively they use a product.
  • User satisfaction. How happy people are with a product, which stems from factors such as the product’s design, functionality, as well as the product adoption process.
  • User productivity. How effectively people use a product to achieve their goals.
  • User retention. How many and how long users keep using a product.

A product adoption plan aims to optimize and improve the adoption process as much as is feasible.

The right adoption plan, after all, can improve the user experience, the product experience, and the metrics above.

And all of these directly impact the product’s bottom-line performance.

Product Adoption vs. Digital Adoption

Product adoption focuses on the product itself.

Digital adoption, however, takes a slightly different perspective, focusing  on:

  • Using software to its fullest extent and for its intended purpose. Software that is half-used will only deliver part of its value to those users. For that reason, digital adoption makes it a point to help people use a software’s full range of relevant functionality.
  • Streamlining the user experience. Better user experiences help ease the onboarding process, improve user engagement, decrease frustration, and more.
  • Helping users become more proficient and productive, more quickly. The more quickly people become skilled and productive, the more quickly the software will start delivering its actual value to those users.
  • Maximizing software ROI. Under-utilized software will deliver lackluster returns, both for the customer and the product creator. This is why digital adoption fundamentally aims at maximizing the bottom-line value of a tool or platform. 

Though the two ideas cover much of the same territory, digital adoption is focused more on fundamental business strategy and processes.

It is also a key element in successful digital transformation.

How Digital Adoption Supports Strategic Digital Transformation

Deloitte’s digital transformation framework outlines several key stages that businesses must undergo as they progress towards digital maturity.

One of the elements in this process is digital adoption.

In other words, digital adoption is a process rooted in digital transformation.

For businesses undergoing digital transformation, digital adoption plans are designed to help:

  • Integrate a platform into the user’s day-to-day workflow. The aim of any adoption project is integrating that tool into an employee’s day-to-day workflow. 
  • Improve user performance, productivity, and proficiency. One of the most important aims, especially in a business context, is user productivity. Many enterprise-grade tools carry hefty learning curves, which is why effective adoption is so important.
  • Accelerate training and decrease the gap between workers and their tools. Technology should be a tool, not an obstacle. However, users must continually learn new tools and workflows, which are also continually evolving. To maintain worker productivity, it is necessary to ensure that workers can use their tools seamlessly and efficiently.
  • Streamline the digital workplace. When employees as a group become more proficient and productive, the entire workplace becomes more efficient and productive. 

This clearly distinguishes it from product adoption, which takes a product-centric approach to the same process.

Is one better than the other, though?

Which Is Better … Product Adoption or Digital Adoption?

For modern businesses, digital adoption and digital transformation are common strategic priorities.

In this case, it pays to use a model that supports those strategic agendas.

Deloitte’s digital transformation model, for example, is such a framework. It extends beyond the product itself and encompasses digital transformation, digital strategy, digital adoption, and more.

However, digital adoption principles also hold true for B2C customer onboarding, training, and adoption.

After all, B2C customers and B2B customers aren’t very different when it comes to their needs:

  • Efficient, effective onboarding and training
  • Streamlined experiences that solve users’ problems quickly and efficiently
  • Software proficiency and productivity

The digital adoption process solves all of these problems, and then some.

While product adoption is certainly a valuable model for user adoption, it pays to view adoption through the lens of digital adoption as well … especially since digital adoption focuses on big-picture business aims, not just product implementation.

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Digital Adoption Team

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