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Digital adoption: What it is and why big-time businesses must take note

If you and your business have yet to seriously give digital adoption the attention it deserves, now is the time to do it.

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Jordan French
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Jordan French

Jordan French is a multi-media journalist on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com<… (show all) Jordan French is a multi-media journalist on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a regular contributor to top news outlets including CIO, TechCrunch, Tech.co, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Influencive, Today Show and The Next Web. He is also the Founder and Executive Editor at Grit Daily News. Formerly an engineer and attorney he represented the "People of the United States" in energy market manipulation cases as an enforcement attorney at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As an engineer he worked on the Mars Gravity Biosatellite Program and later co-founded BeeHex, Inc., the personalized nutrition and robotics company that popularized 3D-printed pizza. The author of forthcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur, he is a frequent public speaker, technology evangelist and media moderator.

We live in a digital age — a time when smartphone penetration exceeds 95 percent in some countries and when social media can be used to keep employees on-task at work. Despite this, many businesses continue to lag behind in digital adoption.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that many business leaders do not understand what digital adoption actually is. After all, it’s one thing to download a software program that will help you manage your social media accounts. It’s quite another to use all the features offered by that program so you can maximize your business output.

True digital adoption means fully embracing the opportunities that come with today’s tech tools.

So what is digital adoption?

Digital adoption goes beyond simply incorporating various software tools into your workflow. It requires that you actually use them to their full potential. It means tapping into the full range of features offered by each of your software tools so that you can maximize their impact on your business operations.

You haven’t truly “adopted” a digital platform until you have crossed this threshold. Full adoption is equally important for your internal staff and your customers.

The end goal of digital adoption is to improve your employees’ workflow and facilitate the buyer’s journey. While different tools may be required for businesses in different industries, all digital adoption efforts should have these big picture goals in mind.

Why digital adoption matters in the workplace

Digital adoption affects both internal and customer-facing activities, helping you become more efficient so you can increase profits and productivity. In fact, data from Forbes reveals that startups that use a digital-first strategy increase their revenue by an impressive 34 percent.

Consider the use of a social media tool. While using such a tool to schedule your social media posts across multiple platforms can be helpful, you get a much greater return on investment when you take advantage of its other features.

From analyzing keywords and post engagement to automating certain tasks, using the full range of features offered by your social media tool could greatly improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Of course, today’s software programs go well beyond assisting with social media. From warehouse inventory management to helping your sales team track customer interactions, digital tools exist to streamline practically every business task.

One thing to consider is that even if your business doesn’t embrace digital adoption, you can be sure that your competitors will. The longer you wait to unlock the full potential of your digital tools, the easier it will be for them to pull ahead.

Many of the world’s biggest brands are already using digital adoption to their advantage. As reported by the Association for Data-Driven Marketing & Advertising, “In 2015, Coca-Cola bolstered its data strategy by building a digital-led loyalty program. While consumers chalked up rewards, the organization was able to collect essential ‘first-party’ data through social authentication. With this ever-growing database, Coca-Cola was able to connect with its consumers better to increase consumption of its existing line of products, as well as ‘upsell’ new products.”

Overcoming common barriers to digital adoption

Though digital adoption offers several key benefits for businesses, there is no denying that full implementation isn’t always easy. Internally, your employees may not use all the tools that are currently available to them. Others may only use a limited set of features within the software.

Without proper training on the use and benefits of your new software tools, user frustration can result in increased demand for IT support and decreased employee morale. The programs could even become a barrier that results in delays or even the abandonment of everyday tasks.

If the software seems complex or is yet another program added on top of five others that your team already uses, many likely won’t put in the effort to adopt the new tool.

Similar issues can also arise when creating a customer-facing app or tool. If customers don’t understand how to use the app (or why they should), they will be less likely to embrace it. They may ignore your digital offering altogether, viewing it as an inconvenience.

Regardless of whether you’re trying to spur digital adoption for internal or customer-facing use, education is key in ensuring true digital adoption of your tools and software. While educational campaigns, easy to navigate help menus and readily available IT support can fuel customer adoption, extra effort will be required for internal digital adoption.

Business tools tend to be more complex and offer a wider range of features, which means that you will need to invest in training for your staff. Digital adoption solutions that provide on-screen guidance while employees use the tool are the most effective method for accomplishing this goal by increasing competence during real usage situations.

The key to a more efficient future

While completing the digital transformation of your business isn’t always easy, it will play a crucial role in ensuring your long-term success. From managing remote teams and automating internal processes to improving the customer experience, true digital adoption will help you become more efficient and productive than ever before.

By understanding and embracing digital adoption — and helping your team to do the same — you will put yourself on track for greater profitability in our tech-dominated age.

Published August 26, 2019 — 16:41 UTC