How to Overcome Obstacles to Digital Adoption

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Digital Adoption
Digital Adoption Gerd Altmann/ Pixabay

With pressure to “go digital” coming from every side, all too many businesses are rushing to digital transformation without casting a glance at digital adoption. Not surprisingly, many of them fail to reach their digital transformation goals, and end up wasting money on tools that go unused.

Digital adoption differs significantly from digital transformation. While digital transformation is referred to as a journey, rather than a destination, digital adoption has a firm endpoint. You’ll know that you’ve reached the nirvana of digital adoption when all of your employees and your customers are comfortable using your digital tools to their fullest extent.

For example, your employees aren’t just using your new project management app to track their working time; they’re also using it to plan out stages in project development and collaborate with remote workers. Or your customers are using your restaurant app to place orders for delivery, rather than just to check the menu before ordering by phone.

Digital adoption can boost your income, raise ROI on expensive new tools, improve customer experience, and increase employee satisfaction. It’s that sweet moment when everything and everyone in your business is operating at peak productivity and efficiency.

However, there are a number of obstacles in the road to digital adoption, and you could easily stumble over them if you don’t plan ahead sufficiently.

Recognizing obstacles to digital adoption

Your main obstacles are also your biggest assets: your employees and your customers.

There’s a good chance that you’ll face significant resistance to change from your employees, especially from older workers who are not digital natives. They are liable to feel scared when you introduce new tools. They’re already used to working with their current toolkit, and they doubt their own ability to master a new set of business tools and apps.

Other employees could hold out against your new digital work practices out of confusion and a natural opposition to moving to something new. They are comfortable using their existing workflows and business tools, and don’t want to have to replace them with a new digital toolkit. The learning curve to become proficient with the new tools seems too steep; they prefer to continue with the apps that are already familiar.

Meanwhile, your customers have a similar mindset. They live busy lives in which they are permanently rushing from one task to the next. Introducing a new app or portal means that they have to take time to find their way around it, and learn new ways of interacting with your business. From their position, there was nothing wrong with the previous system, but now they have to learn how to use yet another digital tool. They feel bombarded by updates and new installs from every side.

3 ways to overcome obstacles to digital adoption

1. Spell out the benefits

Your first task is to convince both your employees and your customers of the real benefits of digital adoption. For your employees, spell out the ways that digital tools will take over the burden of their most disliked and time-consuming manual tasks, to free them up for more creative, strategic ones. Make it clear that digital tools haven’t come to take their job, but to make their job easier and more enjoyable. Explain to managers that adopting digital tools will boost efficiency and productivity, and improve the process of data-driven decision-making.

For customers, it’s important to show them all the ways that they’ll benefit from your new customer apps and portals. Emphasize the ways that self-service digital tools will help them carry out tasks and access information faster and more smoothly, saving them time and possibly even money.

2. Invest in smart employee training

To achieve digital adoption, it’s vital to go about employee training and development in the right way. When employees are only told how to use a tool, they remember only 80% of the material. As every teacher knows, the best way to educate is to provide experiential, hands-on learning which gives students (or in this case, your employees) the opportunity to carry out each step as they’re taught it.

The right employee training programs like WalkMe guide employees through every stage of onboarding, bridging the gap between providing didactic information and applying new skills in real time. It works in a similar way to support your customers through their first interactions with new tools and portals, delivering prompts and examples that help them quickly to feel comfortable using each new tool.

3. Use a digital adoption solution

Finally, implementing a digital adoption solution helps to shed light on the specific bottlenecks and points of friction that are holding your business back from digital adoption. Digital adoption solutions like WalkMe enable you to monitor the progress of digital adoption so that you can step in quickly when you see employees who need extra assistance or customers who need more guidance in using a new tool.

This way, you can offer help before your users or workers overflow with frustration and resentment. It also allows you to see which of your digital tools are being used to their fullest extent, and where there needs to be more support to reveal the deeper value of a new app or tool.

Digital adoption solutions help you over the obstacles in your path

Although there are many obstacles in the path to digital adoption, don’t let them derail you. It’s worth investing in smart employee training programs, digital adoption solutions, and a careful campaign that highlights the benefits of new digital tools for employees and customers alike, so that you can overcome these obstacles. When you’ve reached digital adoption, you can rest assured that the money you invested in new digital tools, business apps, and customer portals hasn’t gone to waste.