What is digital adoption? Benefits, challenges and tips for success

September 25, 2020
June 26, 2023
Learning And Development

Technology can only make people and processes more efficient if the platforms are fully understood and adopted. That’s what makes digital adoption so important, the idea of fully harnessing digital technology capabilities to operate more effectively as a business.

You’ll often see the terms digital transformation and disruption used when people discuss this topic, as there can be an element of overhauling current systems and processes. But the reason digital adoption is most commonly used is that, without buy-in from your people, you can never truly achieve that transformation.

Jump to:

The role of digital adoption
Digital adoption challenges and tips to overcome them
The benefits of successful digital adoption

The role of digital adoption

It might seem like the power’s with the people, but it’s more about giving power to the people. Digital adoption provides employees with tools and resources that make them more effective in their role, help them achieve their goals, and drive innovation in your business. And, by creating a better employee experience, you often give them the means to improve customer experiences.

For example, adopting a customer database tool that provides more detailed analytics on behaviour can create more meaningful conversations, and using a learning platform that makes resources searchable can empower sales reps to leave a better, more knowledgeable impression on prospective customers.

However, this is only achievable when you convince employees to use the platforms you’re giving them access to. It’s the equivalent of buying somebody a book that they read and learn from versus the pages gathering dust on a mantelpiece. Communicating the value effectively is crucial to creating that buy-in and ensuring there’s an understanding of why digital adoption is important.

Digital adoption challenges and tips to overcome them

Using tools to their full potential

They’re only useful when people are receptive to them and understand how they work. The number of platforms you use and the guidance you give will play a huge part in this. If your people are overwhelmed by tools and lack clear instructions on how they can use them, the likelihood of adoption is low.

So, consider the number of digital platforms you use, how they interact with each other, and the guidance employees need to benefit from them. Otherwise, you’re not giving people the freedom and tools to become more productive.

Roles and departments will be affected differently

No two tools are created equally, at least in the eyes of the people that will be using them. Some tools will just be more useful for different parts of your business. For example, a data visualisation tool will be more helpful for those in areas like HR and finance, while we’ve already highlighted the benefits of database tools to our customer-facing employees.

Considering how it will affect different roles, people and departments is key to convincing them of its importance, as is providing examples of when they’ll benefit from it. It should also inform the training they’re given and the exercises that enable them to learn by using the technology.

Creating a vision and culture that accepts new technology

Successfully tackle the two previous challenges and you’ll go a long way towards creating a culture that welcomes new digital platforms. If it’s clear how your people will benefit from new tools and software, and you help them do it effectively, then there will be positivity when you ask them to adopt further new technology.

Incorporating digital adoption into your onboarding process

Once you nail the first three steps, it’s important that you incorporate that into welcoming new staff. Make sure they are introduced to the relevant technology, talked through the benefits and given time or guidance to learn how they work. It’s digital adoption from the first day and helps that open culture develop.

Consider customer goals and experiences

We’ve talked about a better employee experience, but the chances are you’re also aiming to improve the products and services your customers receive. It’s crucial that you consider their pain points, how digital adoption will help tackle that, and whether there are particular platforms best suited to improving the customer experience.

The benefits of successful digital adoption

What we really mean by this subheading is: what can you achieve and benefit from when you convince and train your employees to harness the capabilities of your digital technology? It’s just wasn’t as catchy…


Digital technology is incredibly useful when it comes to automating tasks and streamlining processes for employees. Whether that means scheduling your social media posts, automating emails for your customers, or setting up reports to run periodically.


It’s not just a case of using the time saved in more pressing areas, digital adoption can make employees more productive in their day-to-day working life. A learning platform is a great example because it empowers people to teach themselves skills and find answers independently.

Better customer experience

We’ve touched on this already, but there are some aspects left to cover. Those customer analytics we mentioned can help you communicate in the right moments, such as at the three or six-month mark since a customer signed up. While better resources that can be found more easily create more fruitful interactions, as you have the knowledge to respond to their queries effectively.

More effective workplace learning

As an intelligent learning platform, we can attest to how effective digital adoption is in driving workplace L&D. In HowNow, we create a searchable library of your best internal resources and high-quality external content, which can be used on-demand and in the apps where employees already work. This creates a freedom around learning, enabling people to find the resources they want when they need them. Arrange a demo with us and we’ll show you how.