The importance of adoption in digital transformation

The impact of the pandemic, particularly the sudden shift to remote working, led many organisations to accelerate their digital transformation strategies

Now, as life returns to normal, digital transformation is still a priority for most business leaders. Despite this, though, three quarters of organisations have reported facing barriers to a successful transformation.

Businesses need to do more than implement new technology and migrate their data and workflows if they’re to unlock the true value of digital transformation. Crucially, they must ensure all their people are on board. If not, it’s unlikely their new technology will be fully adopted and implemented.

Here are four ways a business can achieve this:

Be user-centric and focus on people’s needs

In addition to their technical goals, organisations should prioritise ensuring that everyone in the business understands the value of any new technology and knows how to use it. But even this, in itself, may not be enough to guarantee widespread adoption.

To ensure widespread and successful utilisation of a new solution, an organisation must bridge the gap between its technical capabilities and the specific needs of its users. For example:

· How does the technology support users in working more efficiently, or with less room for error?

· What processes does it streamline?

· What new challenges might it create?

The importance of ensuring any new technology is aligned with users’ needs is highlighted in the Gartner research report, ‘User Technology Adoption Readiness Index Helps Target Organizations Ready for Digital Transformation’, which states that “users can and do make decisions about how to adopt new software based on their attitudes and experiences.”

Communicate the benefits to employees

Encouraging the adoption of new technology requires clear communication. Simply understanding the benefits of technology at an organizational or business unit level may sometimes not be enough to motivate users to embrace change. Instead, they need to see the value of a solution in terms of

their own goals and deliverables. If they don’t see what’s in it for them, they may simply lose interest. Gartner, again, highlights this in its research report, ‘Cultivate the Voice of the User to Generate High-Value Adoption of Software Products’, warning that “users share their positive or negative opinions of software with their peers, sometimes starting a chain reaction that decreases overall usage.”

It’s also important to ensure the right message is delivered to the right people. After all, while certain key features and benefits of a solution may be of interest to one part of the business, they may be entirely irrelevant to another.

Whatever the message or audience, clear and open communication is essential in reinforcing the unique ways in which digital transformation benefits different individuals and parts of the business. What’s more, by pre-emptively answering any potential questions, it can lead to a more efficient rollout of the solution.

Address resistance to change within teams

Even though it might deliver benefits and have an overall positive impact, change can often meet resistance. In fact, 63 percent of executives surveyed by Harvard Business Review ranked cultural challenges as the biggest impediment to their transformation efforts. It’s vital, therefore, to address this.

A large part of this resistance is as a result of unmet or unrealistic user expectations. Gartner research suggests, for example, that in cases where cloud transformation initiatives don’t deliver the business results expected, the gap between the initiatives and the results “are often pointers to cloud adoption challenges that need attention.”

Organisations must go beyond just training user on tools and features, to addressing any resistance to change by highlighting the real value these tools bring to users.

Target the right users

There’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Adoption is always specific to a particular product, user group, or use case. A single digital transformation initiative might introduce multiple

new or modernized technologies, only for some tools to be widely embraced while others are minimally used.

As mentioned earlier, ensuring adoption of any new technology depends on delivering the right messages to the right audience to ensure they appreciate its value in meeting their specific needs. User training will always be more valuable if it’s paired with targeted engagement initiatives to highlight how a technology supports existing business, not to mention personal, needs.

Post-pandemic, digital transformation remans a key priority for most businesses today. Implementing new tools and solutions isn’t the be all and end all, however. Adoption is a fundamental part of a successful digital transformation. If an organisation’s people don’t appreciate the value of new technology, its investment may have been for nothing.

About the Author

Gareth Hutchins is Director, Solution Architecture – Europe and North America at OpenText. OpenText is a world leader in Information Management, helping companies securely capture, govern and exchange information on a global scale. OpenText solves digital business challenges for customers, ranging from small and mid-sized businesses to the largest and most complex organizations in the world.

Featured image: ©Siarhei