Business Services, Thought Leaders

The Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Digital Adoption Integration

September 18, 2020

by Manish Dudharejia

President & Founder, E2M Solutions Inc.

As businesses grow, they should be investing in digital adoption to stay relevant in their industry. Digital adoption can help businesses streamline processes and communicate project updates effectively. Use this article to help your business implement a digital culture. 

Recently, the term “digital adoption” has emerged as a hot buzzword.  

Many businesses claim that digital adoption is one of their top priorities, and according to IDG’s report, 89% of companies have made moves towards a digitally-focused future.

However, 66% of businesses still have yet to successfully achieve digital adoption. While obvious mistakes, like failing to provide proper employee training, can stand in the way of successful integration, there are many other things that leaders need to consider when working to achieve digital adoption.

Unfortunately, one of the greatest barriers to implementing digital adoption is related to internal resistance. 

Dimension Data’s study reveals that compliance and organizational issues - along with an opposition to change - were cited as some of the leading causes of digital adoption failure.

Dimension Data Study 

To ensure that these programs are integrated properly and smoothly, business leaders must get the entire organization on board. 

The road to digital adoption is never going to be a straightforward or simple one, but there are some important steps that can make the transformative process a little bit easier.

1. Establish a Digital-First Culture 

True change within a company will never be accomplished unless the culture is one that is willing and committed to the long process of digital transformation. 

The reason why so many employees are resistant to change is due to the work environment they have been a part of. 

Culture plays a major role in the attitudes and approaches that everyone will have when new digital frameworks are introduced.

The structure of your internal workings may need to change to support successful integration. 

As one of the writers for the MIT Sloan Management Review put it:

“The history of technological advance in business is littered with examples of companies focusing on technologies without investing in organizational capabilities that ensure their impact. In many companies, (failures are) classic examples of expectations falling short because organizations didn’t change mindsets and processes or build cultures that fostered change.”

For instance, as new programs are introduced and being used, it may change the order of operations or the way that teams interact with each other.

It is up to the leaders within your company to set an example of the proper protocol as these changes come along. 

Company leaders should be sure that the proper systems are put in place to create a healthy internal environment that embraces change and promotes open communication.

2. Make the Benefits Known

If your employees are just asked to do things differently without a clear explanation of why it could cause issues and frustration. 

Before any major changes are made, team leaders and executives should take the time to explain to everyone the reasons why digital adoption is good for everyone.

First of all, every change that is made - or digital program that is introduced - should have a clear benefit to either a business’s customers or their employees (hopefully both). 

If new automated systems are integrated, employees can save themselves time on the mundane tasks that eat up hours of their workweek. 

For example, with cloud-based communication programs, employees may have the option to work from home more often while still gaining access to the programs and documents they need.

According to a report from the Harvard Business Review, most organizations that embraced digital tools saw the greatest benefits in the performance of their products, as well as internal benefits - such as optimized processes or higher levels of productivity.

Harvard Business Review Study

Make sure that every digital change that is implemented provides a relevant and obvious benefit. Start by answering questions like:

  • How will this benefit employees?
  • Will it save them time, boost productivity, or create a smarter CRM?
  • How does it benefit the business as a whole?
  • What new skills will employees be taught that could help them to succeed in the future?

Asking questions and discussing why you are implementing digital adoption is crucial to ensure that employees accept the transformation.

3. Assess Existing Systems and Integrate as Needed

Digital adoption is a process and it will certainly not be attained overnight. It requires lots of training and major investments, so it is far better to go at a reasonable pace, rather than trying to rush through.

Furthermore, a complete digital overhaul may not be necessary for every business. Trying to introduce too many changes can be quite overwhelming to employees who are not comfortable with lots of technology.

Instead, start off small by implementing as needed in the areas where digital adoption will make the biggest impact. Ask your employees which areas they find to be outdated or problematic.

  • Is your current CRM system lacking important features that could be useful for marketing and sales purposes, such as automated analytical reports?
  • What about the arbitrary tasks that take up a lot of time, such as manually entering in forms or writing follow-up emails for lead nurturing?

An analysis of all current systems should be taken before new changes are integrated to pinpoint the areas that could see the greatest improvements. 

Decision-makers in this regard should also take the time to meet with department heads to discuss what should and should not be changed. After all, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

4. Perform Frequent Analysis 

As with any change, the only way to determine whether or not your implementation was successful is to closely monitor the results.

Further, the definition of digital adoption states that it is:

“A state in which users gain the ability to use digital tools as they are intended and to the fullest extent. When users achieve digital adoption, they not only learn basic functions on a given software but maximize the advanced features to unlock innovative new ideas and processes.”

Leaders must take the time to track the KPIs that will be impacted, such as conversion rates, traffic numbers, internal productivity, and cost of acquisition. 

They should also be checking in frequently with employees to be sure that they have received the training and support needed to be using these new digital tools to their fullest extent.

Look for areas of disconnect, ask employees to share their struggles, and offer advanced training as needed to support continuous transformation.

Implement Digital Adoption Efficiently and Easily 

Technology is constantly changing, and only businesses that are willing to change with it will survive. However, achieving true digital adoption is difficult for even the most technologically forward companies with the greatest resources.

True success starts from within your business. 

By keeping the focus on the employees and helping them learn and grow with the changes, companies can start on their way towards true digital adoption.

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