How Much Is ‘Digital Fatigue’ Costing You?

Dan Adika, CEO & Co-Founder, WalkMe
By Dan Adika, CEO & Co-Founder, WalkMe
Updated May 2, 2023

You’re doing everything in digital transformation right. Except for one thing.

As you add more advanced digital tools to your software lineup, your employees’ potential for unlocking new insights, evolving the business model, and better meeting the needs of your customers is higher than ever.

But there is something ailing your workforce: digital fatigue. Left untreated, the potential of your digital and organizational transformation is automatically capped — not to mention your ROI.

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Digital fatigue: A definition

Digital fatigue is a state of mental exhaustion and disengagement that occurs among people who are required to use numerous digital tools and apps concurrently.

I’m not talking about using your smartphone while watching TV. I’m talking about juggling processes across a dozen enterprise platforms, while still meeting expectations for performance and productivity.

Digital fatigue is endemic in the modern workplace

user onboarding

The average medium- to large-size enterprise has more than 300 mission-critical apps, while individual employees are tasked to gain proficiency on nine to 12 or even more, according to various studies.

But digital fatigue is not just caused by the sheer volume of technology employees are required to work on.

In an unprecedented study, WalkMe was able to identify two more profound contributors — the actual time and number of steps required to complete processes on enterprise software.

Digital business processes that are time- and cognitively intensive not only drive digital fatigue, they actually lead employees to quit the process altogether. The consequences of this extend far beyond employee frustration, all the way into the territory of compromised data integrity, lost productivity, and missed business opportunities.

By the numbers: The cost of business process failure

Using WalkMe’s recently upgraded analytics platform Insights, we analyzed data from a sample size of 117 customers and more than 117,240 end users of leading HCM and CRM systems.

There were two main parameters under evaluation: the optimal number of steps and the optimal amount of time it took to complete tasks on enterprise software, both with and without automation.

The business processes evaluated encompassed a broad range of complexity, with a few processes exceeding 90 steps!

After eliminating these outliers, the study focused on 765 business processes that included between four and 26 steps. Such processes included:

  • Completing sales formssoftware usability
  • Sales forecasting
  • Performance management
  • Expense claims
  • CRM contact management
  • Updating personal information
  • Onboarding a new employee

Upon analyzing the  number of steps and duration of time to complete these processes, WalkMe found out the following on user success/failure rates:

Amount of time

  • Ideally, business processes should not take more than 70 seconds. If a process takes less than 70 seconds, there is a 70% success rate by users.
  • If the process requires more than two minutes, 50% of users will drop.

Number of steps

  • The ideal number of steps in a process is five steps. If a process requires five steps or fewer, there is a 70% success rate.
  • If a process requires more than five steps, it’s more likely users will drop.

The impact of process automation

  • Users are 65% more likely to successfully complete a process with the help of process automation.
  • With process automation, the completion rate of a given sample was 81%, compared to 49% without automation.
  • Before adding automation, employees could complete six steps in 120 seconds. With process automation, they were able to complete 3x more — 19 steps.

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What does it mean?

employee training

Inefficient, redundant, and time-consuming processes expose your workforce to the threat of digital fatigue.

When someone quits a process in the middle, they are either not finishing a task at all, or potentially finding a nonsanctioned workaround. The effects of low employee productivity and inaccuracy can quickly stifle the potential of your digital transformation, and cost you in critical ways.

In addition to the consequences of “dropping off” before completing a task, complex processes contribute to frustration, disengagement, and overall worse employee experience.

The prognosis is good

The study clearly highlights the need to keep business process short and as simple as possible. It also shows how helpful automation can be for improving efficiency and task completion.

For the first time, we have the ability to quantify the factors that lead to digital fatigue and capped productivity. Although every organization’s processes are different, understanding these benchmarks (five steps and less than 70 seconds), makes it possible to optimize and achieve higher success rates.

The prognosis is made even brighter with the help of inline job aids that provide in-app contextual guidance and real-time support. Such tools, like WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) work across all software and apps to ensure users successfully accomplish business processes.

In a world saturated with technology, lifting the learning burden from employees’ shoulders as much as possible is paramount. Support solutions that automate processes and guide users through tasks are both the prevention and the cure to digital fatigue.

To download the full report, click here.

WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) transforms the user experience in today’s overwhelming digital world. Using artificial intelligence, engagement, guidance, and automation, WalkMe’s transparent overlay assists users to complete tasks easily within any enterprise software, mobile application or website. Discover how a DAP can revolutionize your business.

Dan Adika, CEO & Co-Founder, WalkMe
By Dan Adika, CEO & Co-Founder, WalkMe
Dan Adika is the CEO and Co-Founder of WalkMe, the pioneer of the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP). The DAP brings WalkMe’s vision to life: to transform the world’s online user experience into one that is effortless, efficient, and productive. Prior to co-founding WalkMe, Dan completed a 6-year service in an elite IDF Intelligence Unit.