Digital adoption platforms guide employees through new systems and offer advice on workflow best practices. Turnover and onboarding challenges drove demand for DAP before COVID-19 increased the urgency. The covid-19 pandemic has forced many workers to learn how to use more technologies than ever before, as video conferencing, collaboration tools, and remote processes became essential to conducting business.
How companies keep remote employees efficient and engaged amidst this sea of tools while ensuring employees’ positive experience is a growing area of interest. Fortunately, there is a rapidly growing category of software designed to help companies with this very problem.
Digital adoption platforms, as they are known, are built into an organization’s applications and rely on a combination of artificial intelligence and analytics to essentially keep an eye on what employees are doing, providing advice and guidance on how to work with various tools.
“It’s like having an expert sitting next to you while using these apps,” said Dion Hinchcliffe, vice president, and principal analyst at Constellation Research. “We can create experiences instead of just throwing technology at people.”
Increased Role Of Technology In The Employee Experience
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past decade, it’s been impossible to escape the term “customer experience.” The desire to make it easier, and even fun, for customers to buy products has run through the veins of companies like a necessary blood infusion. But more recently, another group of users has attracted the attention of IT and HR leaders, driven by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: employees.
Even before the pandemic, the employee experience had become significantly more complex. Case in point: Contact center workers, who aren’t exactly the most skilled or educated part of a company’s workforce, have to learn to navigate up to 40 apps to get their jobs done, according to Hinchcliffe.
The pandemic has exacerbated this problem, as millions of workers have been forced to work from home. Many companies have been surprised at how efficient it has been to have people work remotely and are therefore considering keeping that model permanently.
The speed with which this trend is developing is remarkable. In previous years, Hinchcliffe said employee experience has typically not featured on organizations’ top 10 priority lists but is now typically one of the top two priorities.
Rotation And Onboarding Generate Interest In Digital Adoption Platforms
Most of the Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) on the market today are from specialized providers such as Appcues, UserIQ, WalkMe, and WhatFix. However, in 2018, Oracle bought a DAP provider called Iridize and said it would include the technology in its Oracle Guided Learning platform.
SAP OnScreen partner specializes in ERP vendor platforms. Hinchcliffe said DAPs were already gaining importance in recent years due to two factors: record employee turnover rates and longer onboarding processes. High turnover has led to more people being hired for specific projects, and a DAP becomes a valuable tool for these often temporary employees to get up to speed faster.
Arthur Mazor, director and global leader of HR transformation practices at consulting firm Deloitte, said DAPs are essentially replacing less efficient methods, such as providing training or asking employees to read manuals or FAQs, for which employees no longer have patience. “Even watching videos is not keeping up with the pace of activity that today’s workplace demands,” he said. Mazor believes that a contributing factor to the rise of digital adoption platforms is the expectations that employees now bring to the workplace.
Outside of work, they can do much of life’s business using technology and need no help to make this happen. “I can do things without any training,” Mazor said, many employees are thinking. “Why can’t I do that in the workplace?” The reality is that digital workplace technology tends to be much more complex than consumer technology.
As an example, Hinchcliffe gave a scenario in which an employee must interact with a dozen different systems to complete a sale, with each system designed to manage a part of the process. The employee must also handle sub-scenarios and exceptions. In such a scenario, DAPs can guide the employee through the experience, efficiently moving them through systems and “learning” where inefficiencies exist and can be improved.
Matt Cain, research vice president at Gartner, said via email that digital adoption platforms, when used effectively, inject organizations with a combination of efficiency and agility by directing employees down the best pathways, thereby eliminating the manual data entry and monitoring.
“Completing tasks more quickly can allow new employees to become fully productive faster and existing employees to change quickly as business processes change,” said Cain. “For example, incumbent salespeople may focus more on selling than executing tasks,” Cain said DAPs are most useful when employees have to rely on multiple tools to get their jobs done, tasks are complex and infrequently performed, and business processes change frequently.
DAPs Could Help Digital Transformation Strategies
But there is another broader goal of many companies that DAPs help with: digital transformation. As organizations become increasingly imbued with digital technologies, many are looking to replace old manual and analog processes with digital automation. That journey is only possible if employees are fully engaged in this universe of digital tools, which is where digital adoption platforms come into play.
As digital transformation takes hold and DAPs help employees make the most of the tools in front of them, companies envision a future in which friction between employees, business processes, and technology will dissolve. You’ve eliminated, or at least minimized, which will help improve a key component of the employee experience. That future, Hinchcliffe said, is fast approaching.
“We are clearly headed for a rebirth,” he said. “The employee experience will go through an accelerated process. It’s going to be bumpy, but in two years, we’ll be in a better place. I’m excited about what the future holds.
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