Glossary / D / Digital adoption

Digital adoption

What is digital adoption?

Digital adoption is the process by which users learn to leverage new technology (software products, apps, websites, etc.) to its fullest potential and derive maximum value from a digital process or solution.

Digital adoption is a process focused as much on humans as it is on technology. It aims to increase user productivity, improve user experiences, and optimize software. A successful digital adoption strategy sits at the intersection of these three pillars, and culminates in an effective, mature digital workplace.

Why is digital adoption important?

According to a 2021 report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services sponsored by Pendo, 89% of executives say that driving adoption of employee-facing software is a priority for them, but only 30% say their organization is highly effective at doing it. Companies need to ensure the digital tools they procure are adopted by their users, whether those users are their employees or customers. Digital adoption of internal software is typically measured by increased employee productivity, whereas customer-facing digital products are measured against various business KPIs and, for sophisticated organizations, product experience targets.

What are the benefits of digital adoption?

One of the most obvious benefits of digital adoption is increased ROI for the technology your company builds or buys. But successful adoption of digital tools goes beyond that, and generates positive impacts across the entire business. When users (customers, employees, or both) maximize the value of their technology, they are happier, more productive, and more likely to remain a user. Here are some of the most common benefits of digital adoption:

    • Improved workflows and internal efficiency
    • Increased productivity
    • Less user frustration with technology
    • Higher customer and employee satisfaction
    • Reduced costs

What’s the difference between digital adoption and digital transformation?

In short, digital adoption is a part of digital transformation, which is the process of using software to adapt to evolving demands. For example, if a software solution were to replace manual processes, full digital adoption only occurs once employees shift from their once-manual processes to the new digitally-enabled state.

What role does digital adoption play in digital transformation?

A company in which employees are successfully adopting workplace software is one in which digital transformation efforts are much likelier to succeed. Successful digital transformation, among other elements, means employees become confident and empowered to use the digital tools that will help them thrive in the workplace. It’s also a process in which employees become a part of the change itself, providing feedback and demonstrating new and better ways of working to business technology and ops managers that can inform how they plan digital change for the better going forward.

What are some examples of digital adoption?

What specific instances of successful digital adoption look like can vary widely depending on the nature of a company and its goals. But it always involves employees embracing and using digital tools and ends with improved employee experiences and stronger business outcomes. For example, JLL, one of the foremost commercial real estate companies, successfully drove awareness and adoption of new features on internal-facing market-research and data-visualization apps using in-app notifications and robust analytics. In doing so, they closely tracked user satisfaction with these apps and were able to improve ratings over time. Essity, a leading global health and hygiene company, was able to drive digital adoption by automating onboarding for its users and using in-app guidance to walk its sales employees through important processes.

How can I increase digital adoption?

In addition to ensuring a product is as intuitive as possible, there are certain strategies to help increase digital adoption across a company’s user base:

    • Onboarding: by creating an effective onboarding strategy, companies can ensure users not only become proficient in their application as quickly as possible, but also recognize the product’s value, which helps drive retention and prevent churn.
    • In-app guidance: in order to provide contextual information while users are in the product, many companies use in-app messaging to communicate at the right moments and guide users to success. Cartegraph uses in-app messages to drive behaviors in their app that lead crews to complete field work more efficiently. Six months after launching these guides in their mobile app, the team saw a 62% increase in mobile adoption.
    • Ongoing education: since digital adoption is an ongoing process, it’s important to continue educating users after onboarding is complete, especially when there are any product releases, changes, or updates.

Today, many companies are turning to digital adoption platforms to implement these practices effectively.

What is a digital adoption platform?

digital adoption platform is a software that is layered on top of another software product, app, or website to help facilitate proficiency by guiding users through key tasks and providing contextual information as users navigate the product. These tools help get new users familiarized and proficient in an application quickly, as well as provide ongoing education to drive adoption of new features and functionality.

Where can I learn more about digital adoption?

For those looking to dig deeper into digital adoption and DAPs, Pendo has published information on how to drive product and feature adoption and measure results.