Exploring the potential of digital adoption platforms

What does technology adoption failure cost a business?
15 December 2022

Want to bridge the gap to technology adoption? Use a digital adoption platform.

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In Part 1 of this article, we sat down with Simon Blunn, Senior VP and General Manager at WalkMe, to explore an increasing workplace technology problem – onboarding people with new technology in a way that turns them off and makes them want to abandon that technology, and so disengage with their job. Digital adoption platforms can help ensure that doesn’t happen, by customizing assistance to the individual staff member. But while we had Simon in the chair, we decided to delve deeper into the nuts and bolts of this seeming techno-enabler.


We’ve said that there’s a significant problem with people in a range of age-groups not engaging with new business technology for a variety of reasons. How exactly does a digital adoption platform help to solve that problem?

Making software sticky.


Digital adoption platforms sit on top of other technologies, so they’re a percentage cost compared to an underlying CRM or a HR system. Now, any technology’s got to deliver value for someone, otherwise people go “Well, I’ll just turn that off.” So what we are there to try and do is to make any investment in technology much more successful. And if a digital adoption platform is doing its job, there’s a likelihood that it may even be integrated into other technologies from the start.

The job is to make existing software “stickier” in people’s minds from the outset, and to deliver adoption, rather than rejection of that software. Any digital adoption platform worth its place in the market should be able to prove its worth in delivering that stickiness. At WalkMe, we’re integrated into a good number of software platforms, like SAP Concur, because to use your phrase, we solve the problem of technology rejection, and that’s been recognized by the technology companies themselves.

That’s the point. Software companies are having lightbulb moments, saying “We can’t build the most perfect user interface for every one of our users, particularly if we’re an enterprise software technology that gets used by thousands, if not millions of users.” And as we’ve talked about before, we’re all human beings, and we have a different requirement as to how we use technology and our skillset to do that. But digital adoption platforms can help people with any software, at the time they need it, in the ways they need it. That’s where the benefits really kick in – and that’s where technology companies come to us and want to integrate us from the ground up.

The difference of digital adoption platforms.


Can you take us through the nuts and bolts? How does adding a digital adoption platform make a difference?


Let’s take an easy example of something like a CRM platform, which is critical to so many different companies in terms of managing sales opportunities, managing a pipeline. The very fact that it’s critical to the business means if you have people who either aren’t using that technology or aren’t using it effectively, that rejection or adoption failure is hurting your business.

If you have team members not using the CRM platform, they’re not capturing opportunities and leads, and your ability to convert those leads into successful sales obviously significantly drops off, which means you have lost opportunities or lower conversion rates, all directly as a result of technology adoption failure.

If people are using those technologies really well (and they do what they say they do), you see an increase in conversion rates and your average sales cycles reducing significantly in time. So the difference between a company with significant technology adoption failure and significant technology adoption success can in some cases mean the difference between the company thriving and the company struggling.

Then there are internal cost savings to be made by better technology adoption. If you’re using a ticketing system to log IT requests or support requests, but you can actually help people use the technology better upfront, the number of support tickets should drastically reduce. Now imagine every one of those support tickets costs, say $30 to resolve. If you can reduce the number of support tickets by 20, 25, 30% by adding a digital adoption platform to your technology, that adds up to a significant cost saving over time. And in the current economic climate, most business leaders are looking for what they can control. Controlling growth is difficult, due to external socio-economic factors, but they can control the costs they have, and that’s a way to do it. It makes staff more effective and more efficient, and helps boost the value of existing technology.


Do we have figures for how much of an improvement a digital adoption platform can make?


Naturally, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer – there’s no way of saying “10% productivity gain – guaranteed!” It really depends on the maturity of the organization and the skillsets of its staff. But for instance, one of our documented large use cases is with Nestle, where they’ve deployed our platform to over 400,000 employees worldwide. Everyone has access to the platform on top of multiple applications they have within their organization. And they’ve been able to define significant cost savings in terms of both the reduction of support tickets and the increase of productivity even on a granular level, so for instance, they can say “We get 10% more productivity out of people in the factory versus in the head office, what does that actually translate to?”

Accepting the problem.


And the ultimate goal is to make it easier for staff to do whatever it is they need to do – and in doing that, to save the company the money it would otherwise lose by technology adoption failure?


Absolutely. And the point is that adoption failure is a universal problem. I’ve been here 20 months, and I’ve not had a single potential client say “Sorry, but we don’t have the problem you’re outlining here,” or “Well, we deploy software and 100% of our users are all very happy and are using everything effectively.”


This just in: Utopia doesn’t exist.


Right? So the problem’s out there everywhere. The question we do find is whether businesses are ready to go on this journey. It takes a while for technology adoption failure to register on a company’s radar – especially because it’s often seen as “the norm,” rather than a business-critical issue. So not every company is ready to make the initial outlay for a digital adoption platform, irrespective of what you can show them are the benefits.

But they will be. That will come with the maturity of the market. And some leading companies are already saying, absolutely, they have this problem. Typically, they’ve rolled out a technology and it’s not worked very well. So either deployment has not been well done, or the adoption within the user community has not been as high as the company needs it to be. So they may be getting 40% utilization of the new technology they’ve rolled out. That’s a typical use case where we can come in and say “OK, so you’ve noticed the problem. How do we help you fix it?”

And that will always be the case, particularly in large organizations – new technology requirements are always going to come along, they’ll need to buy a new software for a change management scenario, or a supply chain issue or the like – and increasingly, as the problem gets more and more well-recognized, more software companies will integrate digital adoption platforms into their systems, so from the moment they’re rolled out in an organization, you’re going to get better adoption figures among the workforce, more effective use by staff of all skillsets, and a much more seamless pathway to universal adoption – and that’s the key to unlocking efficiency and funding gains while getting people to take to new technology.