Digital Adoption

What is Digital Adoption?

Digital adoption is the act of incorporating new digital tools and systems to improve work processes and achieve objectives. This includes using technology such as software, hardware, and online platforms in various industries to optimize operations, enhance communication, and promote innovation.

Why is digital adoption needed

Digital adoption can further define the extent to which a user has become experienced and comfortable with the digital product or service and utilizes all its features and capabilities. Digital adoption requires users to understand the technology and its features, be familiar with the user interface, learn applicable business processes and workflows, and understand how to interact with the technology.

Today we see widespread digital adoption wherever we look, from coffee shop apps to video conference software, demonstrating that we are now in a digital adoption revolution. We experience cutting-edge new technology daily as countless users adopt new digital technologies. WalkMe’s 2022 State Of Digital Adoption report shows that 67% of companies are under extreme pressure to accelerate digital transformation via adoption. This communicates the need for digital adoption today.


For leaders, it is your responsibility to create a playbook that can be followed in times of uncertainty. The key is not just to have the plan in place but to act quickly when disruption occurs to meet the needs of a changing market.

-Raphael Sweary, President and Co-Founder of WalkMe

Benefits Of Digital Adoption

Digital adoption involves making a company more adaptable and prepared for future technological challenges, such as market disruption. There are considerable benefits to digital adoption, and it is essential for many reasons. For example, only companies willing to adapt quickly and more effectively will thrive. But software adoption is only one part of this process, as people are the focus of the benefits of digital adoption.

Digital adoption involves a lot more than just using new technology. The benefits of a cohesive strategy include:

  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Seamless workflow and increased productivity for employees
  • A positive return on technology investments

Digital adoption also makes training less expensive, as a digital adoption platform requires fewer training resources and materials because 1:1 support is not needed.

Tech industry team members often discuss digital transformation and adoption in the same sentence. But what is the difference?

How Do We Achieve Digital Adoption?

Users achieve digital adoption by utilizing digital assets to optimal capacity and correctly training employees to use new technologies. Successful digital adoption increases productivity, leading to faster ROI on technology investments and reducing the cost of training resources.

Gartner’s Q4 IT spend forecast predicted that in 2023 the global IT spend would be $4.6 trillion, an increase of 5.1% from 2022. This shows the increasing need for tech investment in digital adoption efforts. So, what are the benefits of digital adoption?

Digital Adoption Vs. Digital Transformation

Digital adoption and digital transformation appear similar, but there are subtle differences.

Think of it in terms of a small, family-run coffee shop. The coffee shop might have been successful for a long time but is now losing business due to a larger chain of coffee shops nearby. The loss of business is mainly because the service is slow due to a lack of technology. The owners decided they needed to increase the technology used by staff to make service faster. They go to cashless service using chip and PIN devices and supply staff with iPads to record orders.


In this example, digital transformation is the coffee shop’s strategy and change in approach to incorporate more technology into its operations. Digital adoption is using technology, such as iPads and PIN readers.

Digital adoption describes a change in an organization’s approach to using technology, making it more than just using more digital tools. The focus is on preparation and creating a business culture that accepts change with open arms. Without digital adoption, digital transformation is impossible.

What Are Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs)?

A digital adoption platform is like a private tutor for anyone who wants to use a digital tool more effectively. The platform integrates software to guide users through critical tasks, familiarize them with new features, and ensure they get the most out of it.

Learning new software can be daunting and presents many challenges. A digital adoption platform (DAP) solves that problem by simplifying the learning experience.

An effective DAP also streamlines the feedback within an organization, automatically funneling users’ comments back to management. Staff sometimes refer to DAPs as one of many examples of digital adoption solutions.

This is what DAPs are. But how do they work in practice to promote digital adoption?

How Does A Digital Adoption Platform Work?

A digital adoption platform ensures that a business gets the most out of its software investments. Training becomes much more efficient as support is within the software.

Identify key problem areas of software quickly, and reduce the influx of IT help desk tickets. Management can also use the analysis collected by the DAP to ensure correct practices.

The best DAP is one with multiple applications offering more support to new users than was possible. It will be the only digital adoption platform you ever need if you find the right platform.

Efficiency at every business level will trickle down to customers’ experience. Customer satisfaction is paramount.

Now we have looked at DAPs in detail. We must consider the six pillars of digital adoption.

The Six Pillars Of Digital Adoption

Our complete digital adoption guide comprises six crucial pillars. Neglecting just one of these pillars creates cracks in your strategy, and before you know it, the whole process comes crumbling down.


Organizations need a clear strategy to experience the full benefit of a successful digital transformation. Most businesses neglect to communicate their strategy effectively. Employees should know how digital business adoption will change within their organization.


When discussing new digital business adoption solutions, it can be easy to forget the most crucial aspect of digital adoption: employees. Using new systems challenges the company’s culture. If users don’t have a valuable, positive experience with digital tools, that’s a clear sign of an issue that can be fixed with digital adoption.


New tech often leads to new processes in the workplace that feel unfamiliar to employees. Employees can feel overwhelmed learning new behaviors daily, and providing support and regular training is essential to speed up the technology adoption curve. For example, companies can use screening software to streamline the recruitment process.


Companies implement digital adoption as part of a wider-scale effort. There are many smaller processes involved, from senior management to individual employees. Efficiency is critical when working on a large scale to avoid wasted time and achieve the expected results.


Despite employees’ concerns, new tech in the workplace isn’t threatening to make humans obsolete. However, the opposite is true. Workers can learn new skills and interact with digital tools in ways they haven’t before. You can minimize the learning curve and support staff at their own pace with comprehensive training. Employees feel motivated when tech solutions provide a clear benefit to their work.


Software is the core of digital transformation. Intelligent and intuitive software has the power to transform work, making it more efficient and yield more results. Whether updating a minor app feature or replacing a digital system, keep in mind the effect on end-users.

Now we have defined the pillars of digital adoption. We must consider how to work out when we need a digital adoption.

How Do You Know When You Need A Digital Adoption?

Looking at why you need digital adoption before investing in it is essential. Tools such as digital adoption platforms (DAPs) exist to make digital adoption easier for a company. However, the problem sometimes lies with an organization’s approach toward technology. In these cases, users notice the lack of progress, and competitors quickly take advantage. Many businesses remain stuck in the past and continue to use outdated technology because they are anxious about change.

Here are some signs to look out for to see if you need a digital adoption.

Existing software does not perform adequately

A clear sign that you need a digital adoption is if the current software does not perform to high enough standards. Use metrics to compare business outcomes to competitors and look at what software they are using. This information can be a reasonable basis for justifying digital adoption.

Negative attitudes toward change

Agility is critical in today’s marketplace, and technological disruption is at the heart of these changes. Digital adoption helps employees embrace change and incorporate agility into their everyday processes, creating greater sustainability for their organization. If employees are averse to change, digital adoption is needed.

Low employee engagement

Although it is difficult for staff to engage with digital adoption, it can be a way of changing culture to a more fresh and positive one. A positive new culture means higher engagement, productivity, and engagement as staff gain new goals to work towards as they show renewed vigor for increasing performance for their company.

Enterprises have in house emploees or teams to mangae digital adoption

Now that you have established the need for digital adoption, what is its scope?

Scope Of Digital Adoption

A digital adoption solution is a company-wide strategy, but what is the true scope of digital adoption?

Recently, the world faced many new challenges of remote work. Employees quickly received training and support to work remotely using video chat software. Businesses that prioritized digital adoption were ready to adapt and made market gains.

Today’s market reflects increased customer and employee usage of digital tools. People are more comfortable using apps and software these days and expect these digital tools to work seamlessly. If a competitor’s app offers a feature that you don’t, customers will naturally gravitate toward your competitor.

These reasons lay the foundation for a robust digital adoption strategy. But how do you begin to create a digital adoption strategy?

How To Create A Digital Adoption Strategy

As with any successful strategy, preparation is vital. Knowing whom to target and which platform to use is crucial to success. A digital adoption solution comprises business processes, people, and technology working harmoniously. If one element isn’t working, the whole strategy is out of tune. So, how do you begin? First, identify stakeholders involved in the adoption.

Identify stakeholders 

Firstly, define your stakeholders. Stakeholders are anyone who has a say in software investments, addressing problems, and what the right solution is. By defining who will be affected by digital adoption, you understand different groups and the most effective ways to minimize resistance to change.

Minimize the resistance to change

Change creates vast emotional overwhelm for staff. The key to minimizing resistance to change is through support and communication. A good understanding of the culture of the organization and individual teams is also essential in understanding how staff might react to change.

Change models can also help. Some of the most popular change models are:

  • The ADKAR model.
  • Lewins 3 Stage Model Of Change.
  • The Kübler-Ross Change Curve.

Research these models to find the best fit for your culture and company type, and consider the length of time the digital adoption takes place.

Give in-app training

In-app training, as provided by a DAP, makes the best use of resources to give staff time and space to learn how to use new technology. This form of training also allows training through practice and saves the resources of 1:1 input from a mentor.

Ensure training is personalized for each user

We all have different learning styles, so we train most effectively when learning is catered to our needs. If staff have sensory, physical, or neurodivergent needs, their training must reflect this. Leaders should be aware of these needs and implement the necessary provision within the training. Ideally, staff should not have to ask for their needs to be met, but leaders will make decisions to ensure the activity reflects their preferred way of learning.

Optimize engagement and utilization of existing content

Many L&D teams and functional SMEs have created excellent training programs but need more user engagement. The primary cause is that the content isn’t available to users when they need it most. Maximize engagement and usage figures for existing content to optimize digital adoption spending.

Offer frequent updates

Software applications regularly update and introduce new features to stay ahead of the curve. For example, Salesforce updates its software three times annually, adding many new features each time. Consequently, this demonstrates that training can’t be a one-time occasion, mainly when comprehending constantly developing software solutions.

Your team needs to be kept in the loop about new software and updates, which is where a DAP comes into play.

By providing employees with ongoing support and alerts, you can ensure that they are always up-to-date on the latest changes. Plus, since all training takes place within the software, it’s easy to add new walkthroughs whenever there’s a new feature – simply show users how to use it, and they’ll quickly gain confidence.

Utilize metrics to measure progress, motivation, and usage

A crucial element of digital adoption is finding a way for L&D teams to monitor user progress. This process becomes even more essential for enterprises with hundreds of app users.

The only approach to comprehending user progress is by monitoring it constantly. Usage analytics will give ideas on which features are being used frequently and well understood by your employees and also reveal which features are neglected or avoided altogether.

Measure your proof of concept (POC)

Your POC is your trial run. It’s a short-term digital adoption project before implementing a more in-depth strategy. A proof of concept helps identify risks early on, saves time and money, and offers a chance to see what works and doesn’t.

It might seem like you’re making the process longer, but it’s better to make mistakes on a smaller scale to avoid more costly mistakes later.

Key decision-makers also need to see complex data that shows how a digital adoption solution scales up. Before they buy in on a larger project, they’ll want proof that it will lead to a return on investment.

The Six Steps To Achieve Digital Adoption

Finding the right digital adoption solution depends on the needs of the business. Consider the following six-step strategy as the ultimate digital adoption guide. The lessons shared here support a comprehensive range of business and organizational needs.

1. Maintain leadership support 

The first step is with the leadership, as digital adoption projects require full backing from the leaders of an organization. Business leaders can sign off on critical decisions, provide financial support, and role model attitudes to digital adoption for the rest of the company. Upper management also needs to see the full benefits of their technology investments.

During times of change, employees can feel disregarded. Change management involves responding to employee feedback and making necessary adjustments to the strategy.

2. Address resistance to change 

The two most common reasons that employees resist change are:

  1. Fear that they lack the skills to adapt to new processes.
  2. Concern that digital transformation initiatives won’t add any value to the company

Staff who worry about digital adoption usually don’t fully understand how it works. A great solution to this problem is communication and support.

Employees should know they will receive training on new technologies. If they’re concerned that a more digital workplace will make their work less valuable, let them know that the opposite is true. New tools increase efficiency and make work more fulfilling when used correctly.

3. Incentivize change 

Training on alien tech and learning new workplace behaviors can be daunting. Influential digital adoption leaders understand that progress involves change, and communicating this to employees is complex and challenging.

Most companies incentivize change through competition. For example, introduce rewards for each team milestone for every new software implementation.

Employees need support from their organizations during training to show that their digital adoption efforts are paying off. Remind them that digital assets can:

  • Boost sales
  • Save time
  • Increase productivity
  • Streamline previously complex processes

4. Use a holistic approach

It’s a common misconception that integrating new technology is an IT problem. Companies have found that adopting digital assets involves all sectors simultaneously.

All staff has unique habits and routines, but they must receive support to understand that progress involves looking ahead, and the digital future will make their role less challenging. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Otherwise, if some employees use obsolete processes, they will delay or disrupt other employees’ workflows.

Additionally, consistency across software usage is also crucial. Users shouldn’t have to learn a new system every day or memorize a hundred different passwords. Streamlining the integration means keeping training as simple as possible.

5. Utilize smart onboarding 

Smart onboarding accelerates new users, boosts information retention, and helps them engage with new systems.

Training courses can often be too slow for experienced users or too quick for some to grasp complex concepts they haven’t come across before.

A great solution is a digital adoption platform. These platforms cater to the pace of the individual user and can automatically highlight new training areas introduced by new systems and tools.

6. Be versatile and experimental

High-impact digital adoption strategies involve a lot of experimentation and research. You can measure the success of different processes by the reaction of users.

Are users frustrated trying to learn a new system? Are they continuing to do things the old way? Or are staff avoiding certain software features altogether? If ‘yes’ answers these questions, it may be time to find a new digital solution.

Pushing an employee to adapt to poorly designed tech will only lead to resentment in the future. Be flexible, listen to your employees, and try out different processes until you find the best one.

Now we have achieved digital adoption, let’s consider how to scale.

How To Scale Your Digital Adoption Strategy

Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of digital adoption, you can begin to scale up cost-effectively. Start with a detailed roadmap of your strategy.

The digital adoption strategy roadmap must include:

  • The skills employees need to learn.
  • A detailed training plan with the proper support.
  • Technology that needs changing or updating.
  • A priority list of goals for your digital transformation.
  • Key team members and leaders who will guide the process.

Key roles must then sort themselves into two teams:

  1. Executives who focus on changing business models
  2. IT departments and teams that oversee the digitalization

Don’t rush the digital adoption process. Being precise and flexible simultaneously to drive digital adoption success is challenging but juggling these two aspects of the process leads to better long-term outcomes.

Lastly, analyze each step of the process by asking crucial questions. Is the organization seeing increased productivity? Is training leading to increased competence? Are users satisfied with the results so far? When leaders answer these questions, they guide team members to increase their success when confronting digital adoption obstacles.

Obstacles To Achieving Digital Adoption

Most businesses fail to implement their strategy because they neglect common roadblocks. Digital adoption platforms help identify obstacles early to avoid wasted time.

The main obstacles are:

  • A lack of expertise
  • Challenging to navigate digital adoption platforms
  • The weak leadership of the digital adoption strategy
  • The challenges of measuring digital adoption ROI

Finding an excellent digital adoption platform solves many of these issues. The expertise, training, and analytics make the whole process easier. Leading CIOs should also check in with employees and how they handle integrating new digital tools.

The Digital Adoption Revolution Is Here

A comprehensive guide to answering the question, ‘what is digital adoption’ has never been more essential. A digital adoption revolution is taking place. The Covid-19 pandemic forced millions of workers to adapt to remote working, and an abrupt change in routine became the standard.

What does digital adoption look like today

Organizations that fail to achieve successful adoption will struggle to stay afloat in an evolving digital landscape. Only businesses with resilience and adaptability built into their foundations can weather the storm.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is digital adoption Institute?
    The digital adoption institute, established by WalkMe, offers live online courses for professionals who are interested in becoming certified experts in the field of digital adoption.
  • Who are the digital adoption professionals?
    Digital adoption professionals are hired specifically to assist with the strategy and implementation of software and are becoming a mainstay in leading businesses.

Updated: January 11, 2023

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