Just as Customer Experience (CX) drives to understand how consumers interact with a company’s external environments, digital adoption platforms can determine how and to what extent employees interact with internal tools.

DEFINITIONS

First, it’s important to define and align with these two key terms:

Digital adoption is “achieving a state in which digital tools are being used as intended, and to the fullest extent.”   

- Digital Adoption Platforms (DAP), are the specific tools that allow organizations to get the most out their digital tools to get employees up to speed faster.

KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL DAP ROLLOUT

DAPs can either be a wonderfully useful tool that benefits the entire organization, or an additional wedge, driving silos further apart. Propeller has worked on a successful DAP deployment, and in another separate case, we were brought in to determine what went wrong at one company’s unsuccessful DAP roll out. The list below draws on examples from both scenarios to provide some best practices to ensure a successful DAP rollout in your organization.

1. Clearly define your problem

The key is to know your audience and define the exact behaviors you want to drive or avoid. We studied the user base to determine their current state, and how they used the technology. Then, we used the results as the foundation to find the right DAP.

Success requires investing the time to define your problem and accurately scope what you expect your DAP to do. Proper DAP scoping accounts for:

  • A specific audience
  • A specific purpose
  • The learning curve

The above is a narrowly scoped implementation success story. On the flip side, here are some red flags we’ve seen lead to failure:

  • Broad problem statements – Broad problem statements can make you easily influenced by players in the market, leading you to purchase the wrong solution or worse, you overpromise internally.
  • Absence of change management – Adoption platforms almost invariably require people to change behaviors.

2. Scope to criteria, then go to the market 

While DAP providers will undoubtedly tell you that they have the solution to your problem, they all have very different core competencies.

New players are likely to tell you they’re nimble and able to react to your needs better, but they may also lack the skill or ability to follow up on that promise. Sales before product isn’t new, but it always comes with a risk - one you as the buyer absorb. Contrarily, while established players have more mature products and confidence in their products, they’re less nimble and more likely to push you through the machine.

3. Invest in internal & vendor resources

In a successful DAP engagement, our client had two internal resources that were dedicated to the DAP full time. One internal resource spent about 230 total hours for four months learning this product; and they still were not an expert. A year later, that green user had become capable of developing content. In that same engagement, the vendor team was also really helpful in understanding when we needed to use professional service hours versus when we were proficient enough to safely build an internal knowledge base.

Lean on vendor resources to get you up to speed efficiently. Our client purchased 60 service hours from the vendor for this initial launch. We used every single service hour to get to their first successful release.

Build these hours into your DAP budget – you’ll definitely use it.

4. Don’t layer a DAP onto a Nascent Technology

New technologies combined with DAPs expose your organization to added risk of big updates that break things. Remember, DAP sits on top of your existing technology, so if UI changes or fields change, that could mean paying the vendor, or relying on someone internally to fix it.

5. Treat it like a project, then a product 

Projects come with certain fail-safes--they demand scope, budget, resource and governance. All of which are crucial to a successful deployment. Once successfully in place, DAPs require maintenance and tweaking, not at all unlike software product management.

It doesn’t always take a senior product owner, but make sure an internal resource owns the tool as a product and cares about its long-term success. A product owner should be responsible for keeping a pulse on any upcoming product updates that could break your entire DAP system.

Summary

Digital Adoption Platforms are a big part of the digital transformation of your internal teams, and can determine what behaviors they’re doing, teach new behaviors, and bring on new employees faster. To do this successfully, you need to:

  1. Ask yourself these 7 questions about DAP
  2. Define a narrow problem scope
  3. Research DAP providers & stay true to your selection criteria
  4. Invest in resources
  5. Build it like a project, maintain it like a product

An organizational needs assessment can help determine if DAP can solve your organization’s problem before you jump into a DAP project as part of your digital adoption endeavors.

Download Propeller’s DAP checklist