How To Increase User Adoption

Increasing user adoption can be key to unlocking internal efficiency, automating tasks, and increasing overall employee satisfaction. Digital adoption solutions make it possible to streamline employee onboarding and improve user adoption by automating process documentation creation, among other things. User adoption is maximised with digital adoption solutions that allow businesses to maintain software training resources and keep materials fresh for users with little effort.
How to increase user adoption
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Laura Reininger
Laura is the Content Specialist at ClickLearn, operating at the intersection of Marketing and Experience Design, helping to increase awareness of concepts, companies, problems and ideas.

Increase user adoption to achieve successful digital transformation

Everyone agrees that the bulk of modern business takes place online.

With organizations spending trillions on digital transformation, it’s clear that there are huge expectations for the new tech they implement, and a profound understanding of the importance of going digital. Why can it be that over 80% of all digital transformation projects remain stuck in the implementation phase?

To put it simply, it all comes down to how successfully companies are able to drive digital adoption internally. Here, we’ll cover the basics on user adoption and give you some tips and strategies for increasing user adoption within your organization. 

What is user adoption?

This is a question we hear often. User adoption refers to the process a new user goes through when first starting to use a new product, software, or service. The main goal of user adoption is to get new users proficient with the new technology in a way that helps the users achieve their goals. With many digital tools, successful digital adoption is often part of a bigger digital transformation strategy, and often has end goals related to increased operational efficiency and productivity.

What is a digital adoption platform?

A digital adoption platform (or DAP for short) is software that helps improve user adoption by guiding new users through key aspects of another software, app, or website. Platforms like ClickLearn offer in-app guidance and create documentation based on your operational workflows, making onboarding and digital transformation as a whole easier and faster to achieve for your organization as a whole.

Digital adoption platforms are key to not only introducing new digital technologies to your team but also helping you increase your overall ROI on your software investments.

Benefits of user adoption

When done correctly, successful software adoption helps eliminate manual processes, empowering employees to fully adopt new software and integrate it into daily operations.

Some of the main benefits of user adoption include: 

  • Reduced tech stack costs
  • Better efficiency
  • Higher ROI

Lower tech-related costs

New technology investments every few years are not just a costly undertaking, but also time-consuming and downright frustrating. Too often organizations look to switch their software for another one, only to face the same software implementation failures over and over.

The key to successful digital transformation often boils down to an effective digital adoption strategy.

Better internal efficiency

With increased user adoption rates come increases in internal efficiency. The better your end users can use the appointed software to automate repetitive tasks, the higher your overall user productivity will be.

Better efficiency can naturally only be achieved if a user adoption strategy is put in place. Without the right end user training and documentation, successful adoption is highly unlikely.

Thankfully, digital adoption solutions help to train end users in a cost-effective way without sacrificing training quality. In fact, platforms that offer localization and multimedia authoring tools can help tailor the training process to suit each individual learner. And the better end users adopt new technologies, the better your organization’s internal efficiency will be.

Higher ROI

Enterprises have various reasons for software product adoption. Some organizations may look to structure business processes in a new way, while others look for new features to better suit their operations.

But one thing is for certain: the better your employees can utilize all aspects of your new software, the higher your overall ROI will be. Low user adoption rates directly correlate with how much value you get out of your new tech.

In order to keep your ROI high in the long term, consider opting for digital adoption software that makes new feature announcements fast and simple to communicate to users. This way, you’re able to keep reaping the benefits of your tech stack as new product features get added to the software you’re using.

What is the difference between an authoring solution and a delivery platform?

Often when discussing a user adoption strategy, both authoring solutions and delivery platforms are mentioned in tandem.

An authoring tool is software that allows users to create documentation for the digital tools they use to execute various operational tasks in an organization. Often, authoring tools support multimedia content, meaning that documentation and learning content can be created in different formats, from text-based written instructions to audiovisual content like videos.

Often, an authoring tool essentially records your processes step by step and generates documentation based on the clicks and actions you take within your software. A good authoring tool makes use of strong identification technology. This effectively means that the tool is able to identify what elements are actually targeted, rather than asking the user to specify what actions were taken, in what order, and so on.

A delivery platform is software that uses integrated tools to develop, store, and deliver learning content to new and existing users. A good delivery platform also has a built-in notification system that makes it easy to deliver messages to end-users in an intuitive and non-disruptive way.

ClickLearn combines the best of both worlds, by driving digital adoption through a powerful delivery platform with integrated authoring solutions for various popular software products, like Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Users adapt to technology in different ways. Of the types of adopters, innovators and early adopters drive the technology adoption curve – observing their behavior and motivations helps organizations to further improve their digital adoption strategies. These two types of users often pave the way in using new technology for the early majority, late majority and laggards.

The history of digital adoption platforms

Traditionally, digital adoption was done by hiring a trainer to handle the onboarding of a new software or set of software for your entire staff.

The problems began to arise after there were software updates. Static training materials meant that slowly but surely (or sometimes overnight1), the eLearning solution would get outdated, leaving you with outdated training resources for any new employees who needed to be onboarded.

The main function of a digital adoption platform is to allow for the easy maintenance of documentation resources. Since there is a high production cost for manually maintaining onboarding and process documentation, widespread digital adoption can become difficult without a robust and flexible digital adoption solution.

Currently, the digital adoption solution space is moving towards offering a platform with an authoring solution and a delivery platform in one. These kinds of solutions make it easy to record your work processes and then distribute the updated documentation to your end users.

Who benefits from user adoption?

Generally speaking, enterprises, software vendors, and software partners are the parties that benefit from digital adoption the most.

For software vendors, the idea of effective user adoption is key to avoiding churn. Vendors are able to achieve better retention rates the better they can support their users to perform at maximum capacity. And since many software business models are subscription based, they are increasingly vulnerable to ineffective digital adoption. If users feel they have a hard time onboarding, they can simply switch to another, similar tool. Vendors’ user adoption strategies often revolve around superior onboarding experiences and standard content delivery.

As software partners often work on large ERP and CRM implementations, they commonly have a very good idea of how they want the ERP to be customized for their clients. The better they can onboard their users and enhance user adoption, the better user stickiness they can achieve. Partners need effective user adoption strategies in order to create and deliver customized and tailored software solutions for their clients.

For enterprises, the main benefits of user adoption include:

  • Enhanced documentation and training content
  • Delivery of unique cross-application experiences
  • Low content maintenance cost

Given that today’s IT infrastructure comprises many smaller applications, most enterprises benefit from user adoption tools that facilitate their business processes and communicate them effectively to the end user. Most organizations also look for a cost-effective solution for maintaining and updating their documentation and content. In order to drive user adoption, enterprises need tools that are customizable, easy to maintain, and able to work across all the tools that are used on a daily basis.

Strategy: How to drive user adoption

Creating a user adoption strategy that also successfully delivers results comes down to good internal communication prior to the digital transformation, and a clear and positive onboarding process for your end users.

1. Communicate benefits to users

According to Gartner, internal resistance is one of the key reasons for software implementation failures. A successful digital transformation can only happen if your end users are onboard.

This means that you need to take the time to communicate all the benefits your new digital adoption strategy will have for those using the new technology. To reduce adoption friction, ensure that employees feel they get heard through an open, honest, and candid discourse. Also be sure to plan enough time for training and onboarding, facilitating contextual learning wherever possible.

2. Choose the right digital adoption software for your needs

Your digital adoption software should be compatible with your existing software and tools, or the software you’re planning on migrating to. An experienced DAP vendor understands most organizations use multiple business applications in everyday operations, so look for a provider with a seamlessly integrated digital adoption platform.

This will help with user onboarding and all the training in the future but also makes ongoing software update management faster and more intuitive to the users.

When choosing the right DAP vendor, ensure that the platform can support growth. Bugs, integration issues, and functionality glitches are the last things you want to deal with while scaling your team and bottom line. Look for enterprise-graded tools that have experienced support teams and demo access prior to purchasing.

3. Create documentation and training materials

Next, you need to create documentation for your business processes and user onboarding.

In order to get the most benefit out of your digital adoption strategy, you should opt for a solution that has a built-in authoring tool with intelligent identification technology. This essentially means that while you click through your processes, the tool will understand your process flows, and automatically create documentation based on your actions within your software.


4. Monitor behavior and collect feedback

It's how to measure user adoption

Make sure you gather feedback from your team throughout the adoption process. This way, you’ll understand where users are encountering bottlenecks in your current onboarding and training flows.

At this point, you should also consider what metrics you want to track in order to measure how successful the user adoption has been. This could mean tracking increases or decreases in team performance, or using available product analytics to measure more grassroots level activity within your tools.

from Microsoft MVP Rachel Profitt

What is most crucial when starting a digital transformation? Get insight from Microsoft FastTrack Solutions Architect (and TED Talks speaker)

How to increase user adoption: Key Takeaway

Most of modern business taking place online and the number of apps used by any business is ever increasing. This is leading to increased strain on users to adopt more new software on a seemingly daily basis. On top of that, cloud updates mean that even instructions for established software can go quickly out of date and are constantly changing.

Effective user adoption is still the key to unlocking internal efficiency and increasing overall employee satisfaction. 

Use a digital adoption solution to increase user adoption. It is possible to streamline employee onboarding by automating the processes of documentation creation and maintenance.


Make sure to look for solutions that allow you to continue maintaining your software documentation with surprisingly little effort, no matter how many new releases and updates keep coming.

Change management is important for mitigating potential adoption barriers and maximising the likelihood of successful implementation.

FAQ: User Adoption

What does user adoption mean?

User adoption means learning new technologies proficiently enough to be utilized to their full potential. In businesses, this is achieved when the company enables employees or customers to use technology throughout their implementation phases.

How does user adoption work?

User adoption is a change and learning mechanism that allows individuals to learn and understand the digital potential, accept and use new software to achieve their goals, as well as use technology at its maximum to increase efficiency and improve processes.

User adaption or user adoption?

To adopt something means to take it as one’s own. While to adapt something means to accomodate or adjust to it. When referring to use of new technology, the term user adoption is the most commonly applied term because of the often complete replacement of one technology for another.  The user is effectively adopting the software.

What are the phases of user adoption?

No matter which type of user is adopting a new technology (innovator, early adopter, early majority, late majority, or laggard), the tendancy is to flow through some key phases in adopting software. While software adoption is not a linear process, phases of user adoption typically include: awareness, interest, evaluation, trial, activation, adoption. Users can potentially cycle through different stages in any order and even multiple times. 

Looking for a partner to support your user adoption?

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