How digital adoption solutions will improve employee usage, engagement, and productivity in 2021

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Digital adoption solutions (DAS) are the name of the game around the globe. This will continue to be the case in companies at an accelerated pace, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image: iStock/BartekSzewczyk

The challenges faced by most companies worldwide have brought them to a tipping point and forced the need for digital adoption solutions (DAS); the good news is these solutions can help to improve employee usage, engagement, and productivity in 2021, according to a Gartner report. 

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

What is DAS?

DAS is a newer category of technology to help employees get the most out of their application portfolios. DAS platforms facilitate seamless software learning by improving user experience. It’s a pivotal technology that ensures proficiency of any software platform, website, or app and helps companies strengthen their position in the market, especially during the pandemic and beyond. 

Challenges faced by companies in 2020

Many companies in 2020 struggled with their strategic direction as COVID-19 stifled or halted their operations. Employees also struggled with remaining engaged due to technology adoption issues and overall direction due to reduced guidance. Specifically, the following are some of the key challenges noted.

  • Too many point solutions required for employees to perform their jobs.
  • Inadequate training for new hires learning applications or newly released features.
  • Issues with organizational change to accommodate where and how employees work.
  • A lack of metrics established by leaders to measure adoption levels.

SEE: Tableau business analytics: Tips and tricks (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Despite the fact that 77% of CIOs name digital transformation as their biggest budget priority of 2021, according to a 2021 CIO outlook report by Constellation Research and WalkMe, Gartner’s 2020 Digital Workplace Survey of Research Circle members shows there’s still a limited understanding of digital transformation. Specifically, there’s confusion still about digital adoption and its role in the digital workplace. But digital transformation is not just about large scale change management projects. It’s the role of CIOs to understand where there can be more incremental digital transformation initiatives. CIOs need to be empowered with visibility into their entire technology portfolio, user journeys, and software usage to ensure the maximum value is being extricated from existing software and that innovation gaps are identified and acted upon.

More companies are turning to digital adoption platforms (DAP) to increase their technology investments by addressing a broader range of company-wide needs. Gartner notes a steady increase in queries and discussions in 2020, specifically focused on the desire to roll out DAS across the organizational tech stack. It’s estimated that 70% of organizations will use digital adoption solutions across the entire technology stack to overcome still insufficient application of user experiences by 2025. How can CIOs deliver an effective digital technology strategy using the tools and technologies they have today without making major infrastructure investments?

Recommendations for 2021 

To improve employee usage, engagement, and productivity in 2021, Gartner’s report recommends application leaders will need to do these three things:

  • Overlay digital adoption solutions across organization-wide tech stack with a focus on key applications in a single functional domain to improve onboarding; reduce the time spent on performing tasks in multiple solutions, and decrease the money spent on additional training
  • Step-up software adoption and usage, using analytics provided by digital adoption solutions to understand usage and provide reliable end-user experiences.
  • Improve performance tracking or cost savings by creating metrics and benchmarking at the start of application deployments with a digital adoption solution (DAS).

Almost 22% of sales respondents surveyed are dissatisfied with the applications they use and either underutilize or avoid the solutions, even if they can help them be more effective. To address this, companies need to develop a strategy to increase employee engagement and reduce friction. This can be done by prioritizing functional areas focusing on:

  • The linkage to revenue generation, customer experience, and satisfaction
  • Elevated data error rates
  • Low employee engagement
  • High-value applications with low utilization
  • Low technology adoption  
  • Systematically developing a DAS deployment plan within a functional domain to ensure smooth workflows for employees 
  • How DAS improves employee usage, engagement, and productivity

DAS should also overlay a guided workflow to ensure users execute tasks consistently and efficiently and align technology with processes and helps to: 

  • Reduce the number of support tickets, increasing end-user satisfaction (higher engagement)
  • Reduce response time  
  • Decrease training costs due to in-application learning
  • Reduce or eliminate change management training  
  • Reduce onboarding time, save money, and increase contribution rate for employee 
  • Reduce data issues
  • Increase data completeness
  • Increase user satisfaction, leading to higher engagement and productivity

With the upheaval that occurred within virtually every business across the globe, digital adoption solutions (DAS) will be a necessity for those companies seeking to improve employee usage, engagement, and productivity in 2021 and beyond.

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