Technology has become an integral part of everyday life, both personal and professional. The alarm app on our smartphones wakes us up in the morning, we brush our teeth with an electric toothbrush, we ask Alexa for the day's top news stories, we drive to the office using a GPS navigation app with real-time traffic updates – technology is everywhere.
It's just as much a part of the world of business, but not all companies have fully embraced what digital adoption would entail. As a result, they might not only be leaving bigger profits on the table, they may also be doing a disservice to their customers. Digital adoption is more than just migrating away from the analog.
With all of this in mind, let's take a look at how digital adoption is quickly making a name and presence for itself in the world of online business, and why and how businesses must start using it to their advantage in 2019 and beyond.
Beyond the basics of digital adoption
Let's start with a fundamental definition. If you are not already familiar with the term "digital adoption," you would be forgiven for thinking it simply means that a company has adopted digital tools as part of its day-to-day operations.
By the same accord, it's perfectly understandable for the concept to be quickly dismissed, because practically every company has adopted some digital tools, of course. You've got a website with a contact form, the marketing team interacts with publishers via email, and you might be managing your projects in Asana.
But that's not enough on its own. Entrepreneur defines digital adoption as "achieving a state in which people reach the capability to use digital tools to their fullest extent."
Did you catch that last part? Until a company is in a position where both its employees and its customers are able to leverage the digital tools available to them "to their fullest extent," the company has not achieved the ideal of digital adoption. While many organizations and brands use SaaS and automation to improve their daily workflow and processes, it's likely that many of them are still not getting the most out of each function or task.
For example, imagine if you only used your iPhone as a portable calculator. You've "adopted" this digital device, but you're not utilizing anything near its full capabilities. This is simply one of the best real-world examples of how digital adoption is used in everyday life, but it can rightly be applied to business management and tasks like online marketing as well.
Enabling true adoption
To use digital tools to their full potential, you need to have systems in place to enable that. WalkMe prides itself on being a digital adoption platform that "empowers users to keep pace with technology by enabling true digital adoption." To further fulfill this role in today's increasingly digital world, WalkMe wrote an article on digital adoption that offers an extensive guide on everything you wanted to know about digital adoption.
For instance, the post points out that while many people are getting more comfortable with using technology, they may not be getting any better at using software, or using it as effectively and efficiently as possible. The digital landscape changes quickly, and it can be challenging to keep up. That's why you need more effective technology onboarding and better support along the way, among other optimizations.
Being comfortable with only the most basic way to use a digital tool is not enough; employees need to be fully comfortable utilizing these tools to their full extent. The same is true for your customers and users.
Optimizing the customer experience
Consider how embracing digital adoption can improve the experience of your customers. Let's say that your website has a "store locator" utility. At the most basic level, you just have a straight listing of stores and their addresses. It's functional, but it's hardly the ideal customer experience. Let's also say that customers must first go to a specific product page before the option appears to find a store in their area. Wouldn't it be easier if there was a prominent "store locator" button at the top of the site?
What if you decided to integrate Google Maps with your store locator tool? That might be a good idea, but only if it is implemented intelligently. Can the customer enter their ZIP code, immediately bringing up all the stores within a 10-mile radius? Can you expand the digital adoption here so that they can decide their own search radius? What if they don't know the zip code and want to look up a store by city or intersection?
At the same time, you must balance the competition for attention. Is the store locator cluttered, complex or confusing? Is it distracting from other site elements that you'd prefer the customer to focus on more? Digital adoption asks all these questions and more, seeking out the solution that empowers customers to use these digital tools "to their fullest extent."
Boosting the employee experience
Arguably, digital adoption is even more important among your workforce. It's critical to use the available tools in a way that maximizes their benefit.
Let's say that your employees already use Slack as a communication portal. That's great. But what if your employees are only using Slack the same way they use an instant messaging platform like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger? What if they're only using Slack for one-on-one conversations between internal employees? That's not using Slack to its fullest extent.
Ragtag has a great article on Medium that discusses how to lay the groundwork in Slack for organizing. One suggestion is to make an announcement channel, where you can "put important announcements for your team, such as all-team meetings, important press clippings, and other operational announcements."
Slack can be used for so much more, too. Some companies might choose to only use Slack among internal employees, but you really could be using it to communicate with freelancers, contractors, suppliers and even customers. Organizing your Slack channels effectively, such that team overlap is organic without being too redundant, is another worthy area of improvement.
More opportunities for growth
Digital adoption is certainly not without its share of challenges. New updates are being pushed to our favorite digital tools all the time, and new tools are constantly being released too. Trying to keep up with these changes can be frustrating at times. It's important to remember that these digital tools are supposed to make the workflow better, not act as a hindrance to productivity and growth.
That's why you need systems and practices in place that facilitate improved automation, plus the continuous, proactive training for your people to know exactly how they can use these tools to their utmost capabilities.
These all represent incredible opportunities for growth and innovation. By fully embracing the mentality of digital adoption, you'll be better prepared to face the challenges not only of today and tomorrow but well into the future.