Establishing digital adoption in organizations

In many organizations, staff misgivings and fears are the reason why digitalization projects make only very slow progress – or, indeed, none at all. Digital adoption can go a long way to changing all that. But how do you establish it within an organization?
March 23, 2023
5 min

Digital adoption is not a sprint – it’s a marathon in which the managers are the front-runners who set the pace. After all, new technologies, processes and software will only be accepted in an environment that promotes and continuously demonstrates a willingness to welcome change with all its consequences.

Digital adoption often exists in name only

The reality is often far removed from the ideal scenario described above, however, as a survey by the International Data Group (IDG) confirms. Although 91 percent of the organizations surveyed worldwide had adopted, or had plans to adopt, a “digital-first” business strategy (i.e. a strategy to change internal processes, the corporate culture and staff skills), only 37 percent were actually putting their ideas into action. When it comes to digital adoption, the majority are still hesitant to take the plunge.

There are many readily comprehensible reasons for this, including budget constraints or an urgent need for action in certain departments. However, time and again, organizations underestimate the effect that the roll-out of new software has on employees’ everyday work and how important digital adoption therefore is to the success of a digitalization project.

Although most organizations are aware of the challenges involved, only a few of them take steps early on in the process to prepare staff for the changes. Instead, they plan up-skilling projects that only come into effect when the change is just around the corner. In so doing, they are taking their staff’s willingness to make the change – and the motivation that will be needed – for granted, thus putting the entire change project at risk.

Digital adoption starts at the same time as the project

Digital Adoption with tts performance suite

Turn your business knowledge into a competitive edge: with tts performance suite – the only digital adoption platform designed for a company-wide transformation.
Learn more

This is precisely why digital adoption starts at a much earlier stage, namely right at the beginning of a digitalization project. If employees are involved from the outset, they have enough time to come to grips with the full extent of the planned change. What’s more, they can see the added value that they personally will gain from the project. In this way, digital adoption can be established slowly and grow continuously.

This offers multiple benefits. Users feel part of the project from the outset and therefore tend to be willing to accept and buy into changes. They have the opportunity to express their concerns and can make valuable suggestions even during the planning phase. At the same time, they feel valued, are motivated to learn and may even pass on their enthusiasm to their colleagues. They therefore actively contribute to the success of the project.

Digital adoption – six key factors

Digital adoption can only come to pass when staff enjoy using the new software and use it efficiently. It is important that:

  1. Users experiment and can make mistakes when doing so
  2. Staff receive ongoing training and get support whenever they need it
  3. Software and hardware offer optimum usability 
  4. Knowledge is viewed as value that increases when shared 
  5. Staff are encouraged to take the initiative and collaborate in agile teams
  6. Both business analytics and user feedback are established as integral parts of a continuous improvement process 

Promoting the establishment of digital adoption

Involving users in digitalization and change projects right from the start calls for a whole host of measures.

  • Communication:
    As with all change projects, clear communication is key. Even before the project is launched, it is important to communicate information about the changes that are planned. What benefits will the new digital tools bring to the organization? How will each individual benefit? Digital adoption can only flourish if people approach it with an open mind.
  • Training:
    Analyzing employees’ personal learning needs forms the basis for a differentiated training concept that incorporates comprehensive support structures. Another important thing to bear in mind is that all users must, at all times, have the opportunity to acquire the skills they need to carry out their work successfully – and this opportunity must also be available to them directly in the workplace. Otherwise, digital adoption in the everyday working context will suffer.
  • Resources:
    Staff must be given access to the resources they need to use the new digital tools and technologies efficiently. These resources particularly include enough time and freedom, and up-to-date hardware that actually makes it possible to implement the digitalization project in the workplace.

The combination of confidence-inspiring communication, empowerment in the workplace and appropriate technical equipment ensures that employees will approach their work with a positive mindset and quickly experience success. This also motivates staff to establish digital adoption on their own initiative.

Digital adoption platforms provide crucial support

Especially when it comes to digital transformation projects and the roll-out of business applications such as CRM, ERP or PLM solutions, digital adoption platforms (DAPs) perform a valuable service. DAPs – in other words, software that is based on the concept of performance support and assists employees directly in the workplace – are an important add‑on to formal training.

Professional DAPs such as the tts performance suite provide exactly the right help directly in the workplace and/or when staff are working with the new software. What’s more, this assistance is context-specific and available in the precise moment of need. Depending on their requirements, employees can access the assistance in a variety of formats – a step‑by‑step guide, an interactive learning option, process documentation or a set of rules.

The content made available via a digital adoption platform plays a key part in ensuring a positive user experience for staff from day one. It gives them confidence in handling the new software, so they soon start working efficiently. As a result, staff acceptance of the new solution grows, and digital adoption therefore flourishes, too.

Digital adoption – a strategic task

There is, however, no doubt that even the best digital adoption platform can only be used to its full potential if it forms part of a holistic change and communication concept. Instead of planning individual measures, it is important to address the following question systematically:

How can the organization’s strategic goals be reconciled with the staff’s needs?

This is easier said than done and requires everybody involved to hold their nerve and be resolute about breaking free from old habits. This is vital – because anybody who clings on to old structures through fear or force of habit will be unable to embrace digital adoption, even in the future.


Register now and never miss a post again!
By entering my email address, I consent to the processing of my data in accordance with the declaration of consent.

Related articles