What is digital adoption?

An organization’s digital transformation hinges on the acceptance and active support of all affected staff members – a phenomenon known as “digital adoption”. But what exactly does that mean?
February 14, 2023
3 min
Britt Bürgy, Product Management bei tts - knowledge matters Britt Bürgy

New technologies, software and business models have become commonplace. For years now, organizations from virtually every industry have been experiencing radical changes in their core business operations. While some of them are struggling with the digital transformation, however, others are coping perfectly well. Chief among them are organizations known as digitalization champions, who put as much trust in business analytics as they do in the feedback from their customers, and are able to make the correct decisions faster as a result. 

These organizations are thriving because they have something that their less successful competitors do not – a mindset dominated by curiosity, open-mindedness and the ability to spark enthusiasm rather than insecurity and fear. Basically, the industry leaders aren’t more successful because they have better software. They are more successful because they actively live out digital adoption and make better use of the same software.

Digital adoption is more than digital acceptance

Definition of digital adoption

Digital adoption describes the extent to which staff are prepared to welcome the digitalization of processes and acknowledge the associated potential of new tools and software solutions.

Although he could never have guessed what the 21st century would bring, writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry years ago penned an idea that accurately describes what digital adoption is all about: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” 

Digital adoption pursues exactly the same goal – a positive attitude to technological innovations and changes in workflows. This is achieved by shifting perspectives away from the problems major changes may bring with them, and onto the actual ultimate goal of the change and the associated benefits. In other words, digital adoption is more than just accepting digital technologies.

Digital adoption is a change process

The term “digital adoption” encompasses a comprehensive change process that empowers staff to 

  • Recognize the potential of new technologies, 
  • Master and make full use of new processes, technologies and software, 
  • Understand the reasons for and the advantages of process optimizations, 
  • Perceive new tools and methods such as agile teamwork not as a hindrance, but as a necessary step for innovation and improving customer satisfaction. 

Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) increase both user adoption and digital adoption and thus improve the digital corporate culture.

Digital adoption encourages a digital corporate culture

The goal is therefore not simply to bring about a change in workflows and behaviors. A change in mindset is much more of a priority. Digital adoption can therefore be seen as a trigger for creating a digital mindset that overcomes silo thinking and actively demands the introduction of new applications and innovative tools.  

More than anything else, however, digital adoption can provoke a change in corporate culture. The more people in an organization who have a similar digital mindset with similar attitudes and points of view, the greater the influence on how teams collaborate (the key trend here being the “digital workplace”) and how the organization operates on the market.

Digital adoption carries the digital transformation

Ultimately, digital adoption determines how successfully an organization operates in a digital environment. The greater the level of digital adoption among staff, the greater their intrinsic motivation to keep the digital transformation moving forward and understand their actions as a contribution to the organization’s competitiveness. Organizations can only reach their goals if every member of staff is highly motivated to help shape the transformation.

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