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Top Digital Adoption Challenges in 2024

By Asif Rehmani
Updated December 4, 2023

In this article, we'll explore the challenges of implementing new software for your team. We'll also offer some helpful solutions to overcome digital adoption challenges.

When you log in to the usage analytics dashboard of your company’s IT system, what story do the numbers tell?

For some companies, adoption rates are consistently high. However, for the majority, a different story emerges. Companies often see that their teams start out using a new product or service with a lot of interest, but then they use it less and less over time.

This is like when you get a new toy. You play with it a lot at first, but then you get bored of it and stop playing with it as much.

Another common pattern companies see is that users only access the most basic features of a platform and avoid everything else.

Digital adoption problems such as these continue to hamper organizations of all sizes. Let's explore some of these challenges and look at possible solutions.

What is Digital Adoption?

Before we get into the challenges of digital adoption, let's first establish what digital adoption is. Digital adoption describes how widely and proficiently employees use business technology within an organization.

In a company with high levels of digital adoption, all employees can do their tasks competently and rarely encounter obstacles with the system. They feel confident completing their processes and hardly ever need to raise support tickets.

Top Challenges in Digital Adoption

Here are the biggest challenges when it comes to digital adoption of IT platforms:

Resistance to Change

Resistance to change is a big hurdle in digital adoption. People may not want to give up their old ways and learn new tech. They may worry about losing their jobs or not being able to use the new stuff. Employees resist new software when they don't understand the benefits of digital transformation or they're afraid they won't be able to do it.

To help with this, create a strong change management plan that addresses the concerns of your team members. Take proactive steps to get employees excited about using the new software. Appoint a change management champion to work alongside you and boost employee enthusiasm.

Insufficient Employee Training

One of the biggest problems with digital adoption is that software training is often insufficient. People using platforms like Dynamics or SharePoint cannot possibly be expected to learn to use these platforms comprehensively with just a day or two of training sessions. It often takes several weeks to train employees to become fully proficient with these tools. As a consequence, many are left to figure out how to use the technology by themselves.

Instead, provide ongoing resources to support your teams. You could create regular lunch and learn sessions, or you could utilize a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP). A DAP lays over any web enterprise application and provides users access to in-context help. This helps them learn in the flow of their work and empowers them to learn more independently.

Complex and Unintuitive Technology

The complexity of digital tools can pose a significant barrier to adoption. If technology is overly complex or lacks a user-friendly interface, employees may find it difficult to learn and use effectively, leading to disengagement and a reluctance to embrace the new system.

To fix this, choose user-friendly tech that is easiest for your employees to learn. As you are choosing new software, consider their technical skills and preferences. It's also vital that you regularly ask team members to provide feedback on the platform.

Collecting feedback doesn't have to be complicated. For example, VisualSP (a DAP that lays over any web enterprise application) allows companies to conduct quick pulse surveys that pop up in-app and ask users how they are enjoying the software. They are also able to provide more info with comments.

Inability to Measure and Monitor Adoption

One challenge many companies face is they don't know how to measure the success of digital adoption. These metrics are important because they help you see how many people are using the tech and how they are using it (which is vital to making sure you get an ROI). Here are some metrics to consider:

  1. Adoption rate: This metric measures the percentage of users who have adopted the new technology or process. It can be tracked by monitoring user access, software usage, or completion of specific tasks.
  2. Active usage: This metric measures the frequency and duration of user engagement with the new technology. It can be tracked by monitoring metrics such as daily active users (DAUs), monthly active users (MAUs), or average session duration.
  3. Feature usage: This metric measures the utilization of specific features within the new technology. It can be tracked by monitoring user interactions with specific functionalities or components of the tool or system.
  4. Retention rate: This metric measures the percentage of users who continue to use the new technology over time. It can be tracked by comparing user adoption rates at different points in time.
  5. Conversion rate: This metric measures the percentage of users who achieve a desired outcome or goal with the new technology. It can be tracked by monitoring the completion of specific tasks, milestones, or desired actions.
  6. Net Promoter Score (NPS): This metric measures customer sentiment and willingness to recommend the new technology to others. It can be tracked by surveying users and asking them how likely they are to recommend the product or service to a friend or colleague.
  7. User feedback: Qualitative feedback from users can provide valuable insights into the adoption process, identify areas for improvement, and inform decision-making. Gathering feedback through surveys, interviews, or focus groups can be highly beneficial.
  8. Behavior Analytics: Use a tool such as Microsoft Clarity to observe user behavior on your site and identify unused features or places where users get confused.

Lack of Executive Buy-In

Without strong leadership and support from executives, digital transformation initiatives may lack the necessary resources, commitment, and direction to succeed.

To increase executive buy-in, provide executives with a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and impact of this digital transformation. Show how the new tech may align with the organization's goals. It's also important to involve them in the planning, decision-making, and implementation process of your digital transformation initiatives. Report back to them on early successes that reinforce the value of the new tool.

Lack of a Clear Digital Adoption Strategy

Without a clear and well-defined digital strategy that aligns with overall business goals, digital adoption efforts may lack direction and fail to deliver desired outcomes. A digital strategy serves as a roadmap, guiding the organization's digital transformation journey by establishing clear objectives, identifying target areas, and prioritizing initiatives.

Here's a detailed guide that takes you step by step through creating a digital strategy.

Conclusion

The amount of time that employees spend working with advanced digital technology is only going to increase over the coming years. According to McKinsey, time spent using IT will increase by some 50% by the end of the decade. That's why you must address these challenges now, to ensure successful digital adoption in the future.

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