5 biggest digital adoption problems in 2021

Posted by Asif Rehmani on Feb 10, 2021

When you log in to the usage analytics dashboard of your company’s IT system, what story do the numbers tell?

For some companies, adoption rates are consistently high. However, for the majority, a different story emerges. One common trend is of initial high usage rates followed by a gradual tailing off. Another frequently-seen pattern is of restricted usage - where only the most basic features of a platform are accessed. Even today, when business technology is more user-friendly than ever, the average employee still wastes 50 hours resolving IT problems every year.

Digital adoption problems continue to hamper organizations of all sizes. Why is this still such an issue?

What is digital adoption?

Digital adoption describes how widely and proficiently business technology is used within an organization. In a company with high levels of digital adoption, all employees can do their tasks competently and rarely encounter obstacles with the system. They feel confident completing their processes, and hardly ever need to raise support tickets.

Digital adoption can be hard to measure because different employees use the same technology in different ways. For example, if you use Microsoft 365, one person will frequently use multiple apps, while another only ever need to use two or three of the tools. This means that usage rates alone will only show part of the picture:

  • The employee who only uses a couple of apps may appear to have very low digital adoption. But, if they can competently do all they ever need to do, we can say that their digital adoption rate is very high.
  • The converse is also be true. Someone who uses lots of apps, but only scratches the surface of their potential, has low digital adoption.

Therefore, a deeper understanding of digital adoption must be gauged by using things like employee surveys or analyzing the number of tickets your IT helpdesk receives.

Five big problems with digital adoption in 2021

In 2021 we are seeing several key challenges when it comes to digital adoption of IT platforms in the workplace. Here are five of the most significant problems:

1. Continued remote working

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to affect offices for most of the rest of the year and work from home will remain a prominent (or even permanent) feature of workplaces for years to come. Remote workers inevitably have less direct access to support and help - they cannot just turn to the person at the next desk to clarify how to use a feature of your digital platform. Unless companies offer more support in the flow of work, employees will continue to struggle to use IT proficiently while working from home.

Learn more: How to support remote workers

2. Digital training is insufficient

One of the biggest problems with digital adoption is that training is often insufficient. People using platforms like Microsoft Teams or SharePoint cannot possibly be expected to learn to use these platforms comprehensively with just a day or two of classroom training. It often takes several weeks to become fully proficient with these tools. As a consequence, many are left to figure out how to use the technology by themselves.

3. The retention problem

It is well established that most of what people learn is forgotten within 24 hours of learning it. This is often described as the forgetting curve. Even if you provide comprehensive, detailed training on how to use a digital platform, the fact is that a large proportion of that information will be forgotten by most users.

4. Resistance to change

Today's business IT platforms are more user friendly than ever. But that doesn't mean people are immediately going to begin using them! Any IT leader knows that people are resistant to change and will not simply adopt new platforms because they are available. Without the right support and encouragement people prefer to stick to their old methods rather than use the new environment.

5. Ineffective strategy for digital adoption

All too often, companies deploy new digital platforms with a limited or sometimes non-existent strategy to encourage adoption. Users are simply told that they must start working with the new platform without any real explanation or support. A common pattern is where employees are given an initial training course which results in a surge of usage to begin with. But this is then followed by a steady decline in adoption because people lack the necessary long term support.

Responding to these digital adoption problems can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are now sophisticated tools which encourage long-term and sustainable digital adoption.

Deep dive: Free eBook on digital adoption strategy

Contextual microlearning addresses digital adoption problems

Every organization’s approach to dealing with these digital adoption problems needs to be tailored to its employees’ circumstances. And this is where microlearning platforms like VisualSP help. By layering walkthrough guides and videos over the top of the application a user is engaging with, companies can offer personalized, relevant and specific training to their staff. If an employee is ever unsure how to use your digital tools, they can simply click on the help icon and immediately get support at the moment of need.

Contextual microlearning tools can play a key role in your wider digital adoption strategy for 2021:

  • They make learning concrete - which helps overcome the retention challenge.
  • They support remote workers who can get questions answered fast
  • They extend and enhance formal classroom training
  • They reduce frustration, helping to overcome resistance to change

If you’re new to the concept of contextual microlearning read our blog on this revolutionary approach to technology training.

Solve digital adoption problems for 2021

The amount of time that employees spend working with advanced digital technology is only going to increase over the coming years. According to McKinsey, time spent using IT will increase by some 50% by the end of the decade. And that is why we must resolve digital adoption problems now. To set your staff and your company up for success in our ever more digital era, effective technology adoption support will be absolutely essential.

To see how VisualSP can help you do this, read our case study with the NCBA today.

Topics: Office 365, in-context help, SharePoint User Adoption, Digital Adoption, work from home, remote work, walkthroughs

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