Why internal digital projects fail—and how to get them right

Published Dec 14, 2023
Digital transformation doesn’t end at go-live or onboarding.

In today’s workplace, supporting your employees means supporting them digitally. Whether it’s onboarding new hires, launching a new internal-facing software product in your business, or guiding employees through new workflows, providing your teams with the best possible digital experiences matters.  

Sounds easy, right? There’s just one problem: Different employees have different backgrounds, different technical skills, and different levels of comfort and familiarity with whatever software or digital products you’re trying to get them to use. With such a diversity of experiences and digital acumen, any one-size-fits-all solution is doomed to fail. The evidence bears this out: The vast majority of digital transformation projects fail. To understand why, it’s important to get a sense of what the ideal outcome looks like.

1. They focus too heavily on the launch—not long-term adoption

When it comes to employee-facing software, the criterion for success is not what the apps can potentially do, but how (or even whether) they’re actually used. Even the best go-live plan will never fully anticipate the ways employees will use the technology provided to them, or the potential hurdles that might prevent them from doing so. That’s why, for the most forward-thinking teams, digital transformation doesn’t end at go-live or onboarding. Getting the app in front of users is merely the beginning of a customized, iterative, and feedback-driven approach to driving digital adoption.

2. Enablement doesn’t meet employees where they are 

If a new software rollout is seeing low adoption, or your IT team is noticing an influx of support tickets after onboarding, your instinct might be to blame the employees. Why didn’t they pay more attention in the onboarding session? Don’t they know where to find the documentation? Why won’t they just use this tool the way we intended them to?

This instinct is not only wrongheaded—it’s not an employee’s fault if a clunky process leaves them confused and frustrated—it’s counterproductive, and almost always ends up exacerbating the very problem you’re trying to solve. If employees aren’t adopting software in the ways you hoped and expected, chances are it’s because they don’t feel supported in their journey. They’re not getting the guidance they need, where and when they need it. And they likely have no voice in improving the process. 

3. Employees don’t know where to find resources

When a new hire starts or a new app rolls out within a company, support and guidance should roll out at the same time, in the same place. Hosting one-off, in-person onboarding sessions means employees will quickly forget the material covered—and come knocking at IT’s door when they need help. Housing workflow or app use documentation in clunky text files stored outside the product means employees will struggle to know where to get the right answers to their questions. What’s more, even if they find the support documents, they’ll be stuck in a frustrating pattern of toggling back and forth between the app and the text file to get the step-by-step guidance they need.

How Pendo helps you get your digital projects right

Remedying all this may sound hard. But with the right app experience solution, it doesn’t have to be. There’s a better way. With Pendo, you can bring support to employees where and when they need it most—in the app, as they’re using it. And what’s more, that support does not have to be one-size-fits-all. Pendo’s rich analytics lets you understand the flow of work within and across your internal-facing app portfolio. It also lets you segment in-app guidance by metadata and behavior, so that you’re getting help to those who need it, and leaving those who don’t alone.

With the combination of analytics and in-app guides, you can iterate on and optimize support based on how employees are responding to it. And what’s more, you can empower employees themselves to have a voice in the process through comprehensive feedback collection and management. And using in-app polls and surveys, teams can get crucial qualitative data about what’s working, what isn’t, and how to make the entire process smoother, tighter, and more effective. 

Want to see more about how Pendo can optimize your digital workplace and drive digital transformation? Check out our Pendo for employees page here