User adoption – the success of an IT project stands or falls on acceptance

There are great expectations at the start of any software or digitalization project. The hope is that such projects will bring about leaner processes, cost reductions and a boost in sales. The fact is, however, that many of them do not go on to meet the metrics of success because the people responsible fail to consider one key aspect in their strategy – user adoption. Digital adoption platforms (DAPs) have an important role to play in this regard, by providing assistance in the onboarding of end users and offering them support during the project and beyond.
August 02, 2023
5 min

User adoption – key to any digitalization project 

When choosing new software, organizations invest a lot of time in the decision. After all, the software can only deliver the added value the organization is hoping to achieve through its strategy if it is the best possible match to the relevant requirements. However, an outstanding software solution on its own is not enough to determine the success or otherwise of a rollout and secure the anticipated return on investment.  

Studies have shown that in around 50 percent of PLM projects and as many as 75 percent of ERP rollouts, organizations end up pulling the rip cord. According to Deloitte*, low user adoption rates are a prime reason for this. The fact is, it is impossible to implement an IT project successfully without adoption among the end users. If they don’t buy in to the new technology and adopt it, there will be a constant stream of user errors, or key functions will go unused, putting the project at risk and even causing it to fall short of the metrics of success, including its stated goals. 

What is user adoption? 

This is where adoption comes in, as the metric that indicates the attitude users have toward the new solution and the extent to which they use it. A user adoption strategy involves building up adoption in an onboarding process that starts when an implementation project is launched, provides support during the rollout and continues in the long term, even after the go-live. 

Onboarding users to ensure they adopt the software solution and use the new features is at the heart of this. To this end, the benefits – not only for the organization, but for each new user, too – are brought to the fore right from the start of the implementation project. Organizations that use a user adoption strategy to create a deep understanding of the reasons for and goals of new systems and applications boost the motivation and satisfaction of their staff. In the best case, an adoption strategy involves onboarding the new users as part of the design phase, making it possible to understand and accommodate their needs from the very outset. This increases the chance that the employees will adopt the new product and use the full scope of the new features relevant to their day-to-day work. 

Systematically building user adoption 

In addition to regular communication and information, achieving high adoption rates also requires a strategy for building up skills. Preparatory training and workshops are not enough, because by the time users get hands on with the new software, they will have experienced a drop-off in knowledge and have already forgotten the vast majority of what they learned. There has to be follow-up, and implementing a user adoption strategy that incorporates a holistic training concept, including use of a digital adoption platform (DAP) to provide support directly in the digital workplace, has the potential to be particularly successful in onboarding the users. After all, a DAP helps employees operate the new product independently and skillfully after the go-live and encourages adoption. 

Especially when it comes to the rollout of business applications such as CRM, ERP and PLM solutions, DAPs such as the tts performance suite have a vital role to play in any user adoption strategy. They offer users exactly the assistance they need, in app, while they are working with the software, and help close any knowledge gaps within the process – even across different applications. This boosts adoption by ensuring a positive user experience from day one, while also preventing any dips in productivity and easing the burden on the IT help desk. 

Ensuring user adoption with the tts performance suite

The tts performance suite is based on the concept of performance support. The idea behind this is that employees have a user-friendly, self-service, in-app option to help them find exactly the right assistance at exactly the moment it is needed. This assistance could take the form of step-by-step guides, interactive content or process documentation. As part of a user adoption strategy, using this kind of DAP creates an immediate sense of achievement among new users, thus boosting user adoption in team members of every age. 

The tts performance suite encourages adoption by supporting both inexperienced and experienced staff in their respective working situation, appropriate to their role and across different applications. In this way, organizations can use the software from tts GmbH as a form of onboarding within their user adoption strategy to ensure that every single member of the team understands the new processes and makes full use of their potential – two aspects that further encourage adoption. Since user errors, the entering of incorrect data and the associated process errors are avoided, productivity rises – a metric that also has a positive effect on the return on investment. 

Whether or not the introduction of a new piece of software is successful, and whether the associated goals are achieved therefore hangs on more than simply the technical rollout. Even the most promising project can fail when it comes up against the reality of everyday working if it doesn’t include a user adoption strategy to bring the employees on board with it. User adoption is therefore the eye of the needle that each software and digitalization project must pass through. DAPs such as the tts performance suite offer customized assistance in the workplace and thus help achieve high user adoption rates – for satisfied employees and successful organizations. 

*Source: Deloitte – Your guide to a successful ERP journey 

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