There is no clear end in sight of the COVID-19 pandemic. Enterprises are now busy with investments for a hybrid work environment. Money, time, and ideas being poured into improving the workplace – both within traditional office workspaces and in remote environments—will continue to grow. Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.1 trillion in 2021, an increase of 8.4% from 2020, according to a forecast by Gartner. Although there is a massive explosion in IT software spending, we see relatively low productivity, ROI, rendering the said digital transformation incomplete. 73% of organizations will fail to realize sustained returns from their digital investments due to a lack of user adoption, as per Everest. While enterprises cannot afford to pause these digital investments, they are asking the inevitable question, “How can we make sure that these investments for digital transformation help realize the expected business benefits?” The solution lies in using a digital adoption platform (DAP).
Digital Adoption Platforms: The Essential Building Block for the #FutureWorkplace
The reason for the lack of user adoption and subpar ROI is the digital dexterity gap. This factor results due to technological changes happening faster than the ability of employees to understand the technology and build the skills to use it with confidence. It is not about technology and digital tools but the people, how they embrace change, how they adapt to the new technology, with the right skills and knowledge to fully realize the business benefits. As we all know, a successful digital transformation starts with the users. Developing a workforce with the cognitive and social ability to leverage new competencies, data, and technology in innovative ways is essential for digital enterprises to thrive in the current business landscape. This is where digital dexterity a term by Gartner, comes into play.
A DAP is a solution that provides on-screen, real-time, and interactive in-app guidance to the users to keep pace with new technologies—such as those being deployed in a hybrid work environment. DAPs are forecasted to become an integral part of businesses. Gartner has predicted that by 2025, 70% of the organizations will use digital adoption solutions across the entire technology stack to overcome insufficient application user experience. This means no digital transformation program can be complete without a DAP. It will become a critical tool in guiding all user types to smoothly and effortlessly adopt new technologies, improve user experience, and unlock the expected ROI on technology investments.
According to a Gartner survey, two out of three employees exert too much effort to use the technology provided by their organizations, wasting over five hours every week, even under normal conditions. That’s over 12% of work hours wasted in grappling with technology. The only way to fix this is to ensure employees become more dexterous at using applications.
For most enterprises, digital dexterity has become difficult to nail. On average, enterprises use 200 apps besides 80 SaaS apps. These apps are routinely updated, making it even more difficult for users to keep pace. Besides, employees have a natural resistance to change. Additionally, users need to switch/navigate across multiple apps or systems to complete one simple task. Most B2B software has complicated user interfaces, bewildering the users, and organizations do not have the time to train employees in new applications adequately. Then there is the retention problem/forgetting curve, which adds to it. Not surprisingly, more than half the apps remain under-utilized. Measuring user adoption is difficult, and organizations do not know which features of an app employees use most, which features they may need help understanding, and which part of the application is not used at all. To overcome the above challenges, a good digital adoption strategy is required.
As digital adoption transforms where and how we work, enterprises must look for DAPs to improve utilization and effectiveness. A good digital adoption platform bridges the gap between human ability and technology potential by forcing the technology to adapt to the users and not users adapting to the technology. One of the major advantages of using a DAP includes enterprises retiring expensive and time-consuming methodologies such as classroom and video-based training. This is because DAPs are closely integrated with applications as an overlay to provide in-app, real-time, interactive, step-by-step guidance, walkthroughs, shout-outs, tool tips, and alerts to the user. For example, a DAP can be deployed for Salesforce, Workday, ServiceNow, Teams, Ariba, Dynamics 365, SAP S/4 Hana, and scores of other applications.
CIOs and CTOs with a DAP on their shopping list want their platforms to have these characteristics:
- Capability: The DAP must have cross-platform capability and be able to integrate with any desktop, mobile, or web app.
- Guidance and change management: The DAP should be able to provide cross-application guidance and customized engagement that is contextualized for each user segment. The guidance provided must move from reactive to proactive, flagging outdated processes and listing all new features/updates along with step-by-step guidance for the updates.
- User experience: An easy-to-use natural language conversational interface must provide an intuitive and frictionless experience to users, extracting information that is internal and external to the applications.
- Intelligent insights: The DAP must be able to analyze user behavior and deliver AI-powered insights in platform/application adoption trends. It should address friction points that prevent increased adoption, user drop-off trends, the number of errors in a form, the time spent on one particular field for a form, inefficiencies in the platform, and opportunities for improvement, enabling you to build the right guidance content for complicated workflows.
- Automated workflows: Repetitive workflows can be automated to avoid empty clicks to improve efficiency.
- Management: DAP must be a no-code platform that allows the enterprise to track, measure, and improve KPIs associated with digital dexterity and enterprise goals around digital transformation. From software usage to feature adoption, it should ensure visibility into strategic initiatives in one view across systems, business units and measure the effectiveness of your digital adoption initiatives.
Enterprises that use a DAP can look forward to unlocking a host of benefits that include increased user adoption of the digital tools, higher productivity and efficiency, reduced number of errors, reduced cost for training, and IT support and software licensing.
The most successful DAPs leverage data and advanced technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and sentiment analysis, to continuously improve employee efficiency and experience. In a world where 56% of employees are expected to master at least three new digital touchpoints every year, a DAP is critical to unlocking the full potential of the huge investments being made in new applications supporting future work environments.