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Employees are overwhelmed, and it’s no wonder why. In the Futurum 2020 Digital Transformation Index, nearly 70 percent of organizations said they have had to completely rethink their operational models due to the global pandemic. New operational models bring new technology suites with lots of apps designed to guide the enterprise to success. The thing is, with so many new apps and technology suites to get used to, research shows 54 percent of employees are resisting the technology altogether. Rather than enhance employee productivity amid digital transformation, those new and fancy apps are actually making things worse.
Believe it or not, the average enterprise has over 200 apps in its tech stack at any given time. I say “any given time” because the two-year app turnover rate is a shocking 60 percent. Think for a moment how inefficient it is to completely retrain and retool your employees to use a new app, which may or not work better than the old app, every two years. One report of business execs showed 56% of respondents say their employees are learning at least three new digital touch points every year.
The trouble here is organizations invest in technology to make work easier for employees. It is the hope that these technologies can bring value to teams instead of diminish value. That’s why data is so important when making tech adoption decisions. It can help you understand which apps are helping your organization and employees, and which are just saddling them with unnecessary stress.
Unfortunately, many businesses fail to quantify how well employees are using the apps they’re investing in. That’s where a digital adoption platform (DAP) can help. A DAP might sound like just one more piece of technology that can burden employees, but if used correctly by leadership it can have the opposite effect.
A digital adoption platform is an automated, AI-driven interface that lives between your tech users and the entire ecosystem of tech solutions and apps that they interact with every day. Basically, the interface tracks which apps employees are actually using and how — how efficiently, how effectively, and how often. With this information, business leadership can determine which apps are serving the company well, which may require further employee training, and even which may be removed altogether. It’s a fully automated window into how intelligently you’re spending your IT dollars and where you need to allocate further budget for employee training.
In today’s business world where we are operating on razor thin margins with new technologies emerging constantly, this type of information is invaluable.
Friction within Assets, Departments, and the Organization
Still not fully convinced? Every piece of software or hardware that an organization uses brings its own set of friction points for users and admins across the organization. Many technology solutions are deployed to solve department-specific issues. A piece of MarTech will be very different than a piece of HR tech. But many of these solutions have to be able to work across the organization with other departments and pieces of technology. The pace of adoption of technology solutions can vary from department to department, leading to another layer of adoption asymmetry where departments find themselves out of sync with one another. These complications can create additional operational inefficiencies that run counter to the overall objective of digital transformation.
Think About it…
Imagine your boss informing you that you are changing customer data platforms (CDP) in the coming year. As a businessperson, you know that changing any app — let alone platform — isn’t just a one-and-done deal. Your CDP feeds into any other number of apps being used throughout your company — apps used by finance, marketing, IT, and your sales teams. Each app has been specially configured to meet the needs of your various departments. And each will need to be reconfigured, retaught, and relearned when a new CDP is put into place.
Now, imagine your boss telling you that your new CDP doesn’t play well with your marketing team’s current marketing stack. Instead of the marketing team needing to reconfigure their stack to work with a new CRM, they’re forced to look for an entirely new stack of apps and tools that works better with the CDP the company has chosen. Talk about a bad user experience. Rather than spending time marketing, they’re forced to research and relearn new apps meant to do the same things they’ve already been doing—not great for efficiency or employee morale.
You see the ripple down effect here, right? Every new app can cause multitudes of issues throughout your enterprise. That’s why it’s so critical that you get a clear handle on the apps you are using, how, and why.
WalkMe Provides Real-World Examples of How Digital Adoption Platforms Work
One digital adoption platform, WalkMe, was able to show that DAPs do, in fact, achieve big results. IBM used the WalkMe software to lower user abandonment and improve tech onboarding. With WalkMe, the company saw a six times higher retention rate, 300 percent product adoption, and 80 percent increase in revenue after using WalkMe to help integrate a new customer data platform. Another company, Quest Diagnostics, experienced similar results using WalkMe to integrate an HCM platform, achieving a 98 percent user engagement rate. These numbers are staggering not just because of how much one DAP was able to help, but in terms of just how bad the user experience must have been before the DAP was adopted! Imagine how much more prepared your company would be using a DAP in either case.
Clearly, I’m not a proponent of adoption software (or any software) simply to adopt it. That’s gotten many companies into a hot mess of low ROI chasing rapid digital transformation in 2020 and 2021. What I always support, however, is data, and its strategic application to make better decisions. Data is knowledge. Data is power. And using something like a DAP to help get more knowledge about the apps your employees are using seems like a no-brainer as all of us seek ways to be more efficient and profitable in a heavily app-focused post-pandemic world.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
The original version of this article was first published on Forbes.