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PEX All Access: Digital Adoption

The Process Excellence (PEX) Network hosted the "PEX All Access: Digital Adoption" event with guest speakers across multiple industries sharing their insights for successfully navigating digital adoption. SolutionsATI Consulting was invited as a thought leader to speak about the Four Pillars of Successful Adoption (Communication, Training, Access to Help, and Feedback Loops after go-live) and how to get the most out of your digital adoption platform (DAP). A full list of the presenters can be found at the bottom of this article.

What is digital adoption?

Digital Adoption enables users to leverage their digital tools as intended and to their fullest extent and benefit.

How do you achieve successful digital adoption?

Let's take a look at my top takeaways from the PEX Digital Adoption event, in terms of consistent themes across all the presentations on how to drive successful application adoption for companies to achieve their digital transformation goals, realize the return on their investments, and create a consistent and easy user-experience across their technology stack. 

Focus on Business Results: Keep it Simple 

Simplicity was a highlight at the PEX Digital Adoption conference. The idea is to keep things straightforward, know your target outcomes, base all your actions on achieving those business results, and avoid unnecessary complexity. This was discussed during several presentations on how a lean framework allows for businesses to have agility and speed.

KJ Kusch, the WalkMe Global Field CTO, echoed this when speaking to WalkMe's Four P's approach to delivering user-friendly experiences while accelerating adoption.

"Just simple and easy to use. That's what we've been focused on."

- KJ Kusch, Global Field CTO, WalkMe

At SolutionsATI, we believe in taking a lean, business-focused approach. Our Digital Adoption services follow the Pareto Principle where 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. To achieve a successful rollout and adoption of your new application within a defined budget, you must always keep your focus on the business outcomes to be achieved and apply your resources where they will have the greatest impact. This means selecting the highest-impact tools and activities that satisfy the Four Pillars of Successful Adoption. Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) are a must-have in your technology stack as the most powerful and cost-effective solution for addressing your needs across all four pillars.

The Importance of Leadership in Driving Application Adoption

Successful rollout and adoption of your applications, just like other business efforts, often comes down to leadership. Much of the program or change lead's effort must be devoted toward ensuring executives and senior leaders understand 1) the importance of deploying applications with an adoption-first mindset, 2) their role in setting the mandate and expectations for the deployment, and 3) the need for their continued involvement for prompt decisions and risk mitigation. This starts by presenting sponsors and key company leadership with a compelling business case to base effective decisions and actions on. 

Steven Bloodworth, Astra Zeneca's Senior Director of Digital Marketing Technology Adoption, shared some strategies for developing a compelling business case and growing leadership support. Bloodworth emphasized having a clear sponsor and a budget locked in place. Why? Because without sponsorship and budget, you will run into issues that can lead to an unsuccessful adoption effort. 

Bradley Cook from Jacobs also underscored the importance of compelling success metrics and leadership buy-in for the success of digital adoption in his presentation.

"It's really important to get buy-in with leadership on what those Key Performance Indicators are going to be, and how you are going to track... the return on investment."

- Bradley Cook, Director, Digital Product Delivery, Jacobs

At SolutionsATI, we work with you to determine your specific success requirements and normalization criteria, as well as understanding your executive stakeholders and what success looks like to them. With the use of a Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed (RACI) matrix, we help you identify stakeholders, responsibilities, relationships, and accountabilities concerning the adoption effort. Executive accountabilities on down need to be clear, understood, and committed before implementation.

Plan for Adoption from the Start

New applications can be expensive and complex. Maximizing the business value of the new platform requires multiple personas to perform their required business tasks effectively and at speed.  

It sounds obvious, but adoption IS REQUIRED for you to achieve your return on investment for the expensive application you just purchased.  So, why not design your entire deployment around the successful adoption of the application?  

Companies fail when they either don't focus on adoption, take a "build it and they will come" approach, or think about adoption too late without time, budget, or resources to recover. The good thing is adoption can be easy if you plan for it from the outset and leverage the powerful tools now available in the form of DAPs. 

"We know that if we solve for four areas – Communication, Training, Access to Help, and Feedback Loops after go-live, AND we keep a lean mindset to do all this – you will be successful... and making effective use of your DAP is many times the most powerful, cost-effective tool in your kit for making that happen."

- Edward Porta, President & Founder, SolutionsATI Consulting, Inc.

Vibhav Agarwal from Whatfix and Bradley Cook from Jacobs spoke about the importance of planning for digital adoption from the start of the implementation process of your new platform and not waiting until implementation is complete.

"Digital Adoption Platforms should be explored right at the time during which your CRM implementation is going on [during planning and execution], and not after the implementation is complete."

- Vibhav Agarwal, Senior Director of Product, Whatfix

"We found that having that [DAP] content already ready, when we were in the end user testing phase of the application was huge, because one it helped our testers when they were going through the process but also, we got some feedback on our content before we went live, so it allowed us to iterate and improve."

 - Bradley Cook, Director, Digital Product Delivery, Jacobs 

At SolutionsATI, we begin your digital adoption strategy and work right from the moment you decide to implement a new application, major process transition, or platform migration, including bringing in a DAP.  When deploying new applications, begin with the end in mind.  Design and manage your program with adoption front and center at all times with measured adoption as an integral part of your success criteria, embedded within your platform, business, and support performance goals for the deployment.

The Power of DAPs: a Must-Have Component in your Technology Stack

DAPs allow for communication with your users and always-available, just-in-time training and on-demand support within the application itself, enabling users to get information and help where they need it, when they need it, without having to leave the flow of work to search it out.  DAPs also provide insight into user behavior you need to make system changes and direct help to where it's needed after going live. Vibhav Agarwal from Whatfix and Bradley Cook from Jacobs had a great discussion on the power of a DAP and the value DAPs bring with their analytics capabilities for understanding user behavior and using this data in a closed-loop improvement process.

"[Using a DAP] Understanding how our users are interfacing with the underlying application.  One example, on one of our primary business processes... we were noticing we were having 89% of our users dropping out of the process... We wouldn't have gotten that insight any other way if we hadn't had [a DAP] deployed... That allowed us to look at changes we wanted to make to the underlying application... and also revamp some of our processes. [later reducing the dropout rate to 20%]"

- Bradley Cook, Director, Digital Product Delivery, Jacobs

At SolutionsATI, we champion the value that DAPs and their analytic insights can bring to your technology stack. From their versatility in solving for the Four Pillars of Successful Adoption to their capabilities rooted in understanding user behavior, pain points, and technology stack-wide application utilization, DAPs are a necessity for successful digital adoption. Edward Porta of SolutionsATI summed this point up nicely in his session.

"Now that we have DAPs, there’s no going back. They are powerful tools to drive adoption and a consistent and easy experience for your users across your entire technology stack."

- Edward Porta, President & Founder, SolutionsATI Consulting, Inc.

Take a User-Centric Approach and Keep it Lean:
Understanding Personas and Training Needs

Adrienne Cohen formerly of Lloyds Banking Group and Toni Weber from Nationwide shared the importance of having a primary focus on end-user personas, not only in application adoption but also in business services and process design more generally. They stressed the need for personalization through data and technology, user involvement throughout the process, and regular testing. They also highlighted the importance of delivering relevant content to build trust and enhance user satisfaction. 

"Digital adoption ultimately is about users... The key principle has to be user-centralism. You've got to base design and change around the actual need, not assumption of what you think they need or not based on what the technology can do." 

- Adrienne Cohen, formerly of Lloyds Banking Group

“I use persona insights as I'm thinking through new products and services and how they might impact, whether positively or negatively, a given segment of our population.” 

- Toni Weber, Product Owner, Workplace Technology, Nationwide

The user-centric examples given by Adrienne and Toni reflect a nimble and responsive approach to both sensing user behavior and preferences in the design stage as well as managing a successful application rollout.  An effective focus on the user (understanding the tasks different user groups will need to perform in the application) helps avoid common pitfalls. These include defaulting to "comprehensive" live training sessions delivered too early to be of use OR heavily customized static training that misses the mark. Both of these classic mistakes drain resources and are not cost-effective.

This leads to another best practice covered in the sessions, the Training Needs Assessment, that our founder Edward Porta spoke about, and is an extension of the Persona Assessment required for successful application adoption.

"[The Training Needs Assessment helps you] determine the type, mode and timing of training delivery and whether or not competency checks are needed.  Competency checks, pre go-live, might be indicated if there are complex high-volume tasks that need to be executed at speed on day one.  Other less frequent tasks performed by the occasional user would indicate a lighter, just-in-time training after Go-Live."

- Edward Porta, President & Founder, SolutionsATI Consulting, Inc.

The foundation for successful adoption is focused on the user by understanding how they will use the application and providing what they need to do their job. We use DAPs to deliver important messages, relevant training, and readily available support, all within the platform itself, keeping the user in the flow. Following the execution of an effective persona and training needs assessment, a DAP is often the best way to impart the skills and knowledge a user needs to perform tasks. It is so effective that our founder suggests requiring a mini-business case to justify any training outside of what is already available in the DAP.

Leverage a Professional Services Partner for your DAP

While a DAP has now become a must-have in your technology stack, going it alone when launching your DAP can prove costly and time-consuming, delaying the return on investment you seek.

Working with a professional services partner will help you accelerate your digital adoption journey, allowing you to set the vision and lead the initiative while turning to your partner for their adoption and DAP expertise. The expert advice on how and where to apply your DAP, followed by the implementation of high-quality content built quickly, will result in immediate business impact and momentum.

Following your initial success, numerous potential paths emerge with choices such as expansion to other applications, DAP solutioning capabilities you want from your own team and associated training needs, and the potential creation of a center of excellence for the consistent application of DAP across your enterprise. A good partner can help guide you through to a successful business outcome. 

Case Study One: Brillant Earth and WalkMe. Brad Patterson from SolutionsATI, highlighted a case study in which Brillant Earth leveraged their own subject matter experts and their partner SolutionsATI to achieve the deployment of WalkMe on Salesforce with unprecedented speed and breadth. 

Case Study Two: Jacobs and Whatfix. The importance of strong professional services partnerships was also showcased by Bradley Cook from Jacobs, through their partnership with Whatfix. Bradley shared how Jacobs knew they needed a different approach to adoption and found in Whatfix not only the new breakthrough technology they were looking for in the form of a DAP, but also expert advice in the form of a professional services partner. They've now successfully reframed how they approach digital adoption and, with many implementations under their belt, are making great strides towards creating the "Jacobs experience" across their organization. 

"Find yourself a good professional services partner to onboard the DAP and deploy your initial solutions. With a good partner, you’ll get immediate impact and momentum, and a guide and trainer to help achieve your full vision."

- Edward Porta, President & Founder, SolutionsATI Consulting, Inc.

Evolving Beyond Your First DAP Deployment: The Importance of DAP Governance and Digital Adoption Centers of Excellence

As you expand the presence of your DAP in your organization, it is important to ensure you have a clear strategy in place for enterprise-wide DAP implementation. This includes defined organizational objectives with metrics and governance to operate your Digital Adoption program effectively and deliver a cohesive experience for the user. Bradley Cook did a great job of summarizing the importance of DAP governance and how they use it to ensure a consistent experience for their users at Jacobs.

"Governance was critical [when applying DAP on multiple applications across your technology stack]. If we rush into this without a well-thought-out strategy, it could lead to confusion, inefficiency, and also lack of cohesion across the platforms."

- Bradley Cook, Director, Digital Product Delivery, Jacobs

Creating a central program for deploying and managing your DAP and governing its implementation across your organization - a DAP Center of Excellence - is an effective method to deliver the consistent and easy user experience and return on your investment, that you want across your entire technology stack.

In Conclusion

The PEX Digital Adoption 2023 was a great opportunity to hear from industry leaders across the digital adoption ecosystem. We heard from professionals driving digital adoption initiatives within their own companies, DAP software vendors, and service providers. The picture of how to effect digital adoption is becoming ever clearer, as evidenced by the consistency of the message across the presentations, at a time when the need for digital adoption has never been greater.

I've shared my observations and top takeaways of PEX Digital Adoption 2023. I hope you find these insights useful in driving the adoption of technology in your own sphere. What were your top takeaways?  Please share in the comments below. 


Premier Implementation


SolutionsATI is a Premier WalkMe Implementation Partner that delivers a range of Digital Adoption services and services in Business Operations and IT Solutions. For over 15 years they have been helping their clients make the most of their IT investments while providing opportunities for veterans in the technology sector.


PEX All Access: Digital Adoption Presenters

Adrienne Cohen, Digital Transformation and Change Consultant, Formerly of Llyod Banking

Adrienne Cohen spoke about the landscape of digital adoption. She discussed what leads to exceptional digital adoption, user experience, key challenges that she has faced, and how to measure success.

KJ Kusch, Global Field CTO, WalkMe

KJ Kusch discussed unleashing the potential of technical innovation which included the challenges of navigating complex and ever-changing tech stacks and impacts to critical business processes in the digital workplace. Watch here!

Andrew Hayden, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Precisely

Andrew Hayden spoke about hyper-automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning and how they can drive your automation strategy and your overall digital transformation strategy. Watch here!

Toni Weber, Product Owner, Workplace Technology, Nationwide

Toni Weber from Nationwide presented a case study demonstrating how Nationwide uses data to drive product development and adoption. The example opportunity her team focused on in the product space was live chat. This service allowed associates to multi-task, work asynchronously, and receive faster service.

Steven Bloodworth, Senior Director, Digital Marketing Technology, Astra Zeneca

Steven Bloodworth of Astra Zeneca discussed strategy, in building scalable, sustainable digital adoption for the global pharmaceutical manufacturer. Astra Zeneca is partnered with WalkMe and helped to unlock unrealized value.

Bradley Cook, Director, Digital Project Delivery, Jacobs and Vibhav Agarwal, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Whatfix

Bradley Cook from Jacobs and Vibhav Agarwal of Whatfix spoke about turning technology into impact and the role of digital adoption. They showcased the results of the partnership between Jacobs and Whatfix that allowed them to not only receive value in dollars but also in time saved for end users. Watch here!

Edward Porta, President and Founder, SolutionsATI, and Bradley Patterson, Practice Lead, Digital Adoption, SolutionsATI

Edward Porta and Bradley Patterson from SolutionsATI shared their experience with digital adoption and how to use digital adoption platforms (DAPs) to make the most of your investment. They shared examples of how DAPs can help you solve the four pillars of digital adoption (communication, training, access to help, and feedback loops after going live) to drive adoption and a consistent and easy user experience across your entire technology stack. Watch below!