What is a Digital Adoption Platform?

In 2011 we founded a company that was born out of our customers' challenges. It was the early years of true enterprise cloud software, and we were a Systems Integrator. We implemented other vendors SaaS technologies, and we were pretty good at it. We delivered to scope and proudly pushed customer projects live, on time and on budget. Regardless, we had one consistent theme that would affect all customers, 'challenges with adoption.' But that's impossible. Cloud technologies are so intuitive my baby could use them, and after all, Amazon doesn't have adoption problems so why would this tool have them? Needless to say, customers expressed their discontent, so we embarked on a mission to help our customers overcome their adoption challenges and the Digital Adoption Platform was born.

 So what is a Digital Adoption Platform?

'A Digital Adoption Platform is a technology platform that allows companies to measure, impact and sustain high user adoption of their technology portfolio.'

 Early Digital Adoption Platforms were primitive but, advances in content delivery and analytics technologies allowed for rapid innovation. This has led to a point where these platforms can accurately track user behavior and even deliver insights based on Artificial Intelligence. In simple terms, they can work out if a user needs help and then suggest appropriate support based on who they are and what they are trying to do. This leads to higher quality experiences and ultimately higher adoption.

 What problems are they solving?

 At a high level, this is referred to as user adoption but I have listed the common challenges that businesses face.

 Top 10 Digital Adoption Challenges

  • IT literacy issues across multi-generational workforces
  • IT competency is relative to experience with given technologies. New user vs. experienced user
  • Ever-updating and changing (SaaS) technologies
  • Poor understanding and measurement of tech adoption
  • The pace of technology change is faster than the pace of people's behavior change
  • Digital maturity of businesses investing in technology
  • High employee attrition rates
  • More accessible technology across many different device formats
  • Complicated or infrequently performed tasks or processes
  • Broader comprehension of items that affect high-quality process completion. (See The 6 Pillars of Digital Adoption)

And so on and so on...

 Interestingly, stats like this...

"75% of technology projects fail to deliver their intended ROI." Forrester

 Fail to deter stats like this...

"The Global IT spend for 2019 is set to total $3.8 trillion." IDC

So investment in technology shows no sign of slowing as businesses continue to digitally transform themselves into lean, mean, competitive machines. I would be interested to know what percentage of the $3.8 trillion in IT spend is relative to businesses pulling out poorly adopted technology and replacing it with the same competitive product albeit now with a yellow label instead of blue.

So what is the financial business case for a Digital Adoption Platform?

Put simply, return on investment (ROI). Adoption is directly linked to ROI. If you achieve high-quality adoption of your digital products, then you are maximizing the return from your investment in technology.

Most technology business cases assume 100% adoption.

Here are the key value areas that a Digital Adoption Platform typically delivers against.

Accelerating technology speed to value - Customers want to get value from their investments in technology quick and software vendors want their customers to get value from their products quick. Digital Adoption Platforms can significantly increase a customers speed to value by digitally on-boarding new users to technology applications, removing archaic communication and training strategies.

 Maximizing the average value per license purchased - Digital Adoption Platforms allow you to track individual user adoption and interaction with your technologies. They are also able to deliver interventions to drive better and faster task completion in-app. As such they help you get the most out of every license purchased.

 Reducing IT support and the total cost of ownership - High adoption equals less support calls into your IT help desk. Delivering intelligent in-application support, allowing users to self-serve their own support before contacting the IT help desk, significantly reducing the total cost of ownership of technologies that are ever updating.

You may have questions like, 'but isn't adoption the vendor's job?' or 'isn't adoption just change management?' Reach out to me to discuss further or look out for future articles and posts.

Thank you for reading.


The Business Transformation Network has posted this article in partnership with AppLearn.


Andrew Barlow is the co-founder and Director, Product Strategy at AppLearn, a leading provider of Digital Adoption technologies. Andrew is a driven innovator that loves to solve problems through technology. You can follow Andrew here.