The science vs. the art of digital adoption – which is the right approach?
In fact, you should take both approaches at the same time.
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Below, we will see that digital adoption needs a unique blend of hard and soft skills.
That is, you need to drive success with data, analytics, and technology. But you also need to manage and work with people, which requires an intuitive, artistic touch.
Let’s look at both sides of the equation, then discover how to put them together when implementing digital adoption.
The Science of Digital Adoption
Digital adoption can be approached scientifically.
In fact, to get best results, it should be approached objectively.
As we’ll see later, some aspects of digital adoption require soft skills, creativity, and an artistic touch.
However, without a scientific perspective, your adoption efforts won’t have much success.
Here are a few key features that make digital adoption a “science”:
- Data-driven – Data drives success in the digital world. And digital adoption is no exception. Data, analytics, and metrics are all used to fuel adoption programs. The right data can help companies choose the right software, improve training, pinpoint engagement problems, and more.
- AI-optimized – Today’s most modern companies employ AI, through digital adoption platforms (DAPs). WalkMe, for instance, employs AI to understand user behavior and improve training.
- Strategic and goal-driven – Digital technology adoption is designed to achieve a business aim. At the highest level, this means helping a business attain its strategic objectives. As a result, each program should be approached systematically, aiming for specific targets.
These characteristics make it clear that a scientific, objective approach is warranted.
However, there are other characteristics that do require a more “artistic” touch.
The Art of Digital Adoption
Digital adoption is centered around technology, business strategy, and digital growth.
However, there is a crucial aspect of digital change that cannot be overlooked – people.
Without people to drive adoption, organizational changes will not succeed.
For this reason, it is critical to build a program that is human-centric.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Effective training and onboarding – Training is an essential element of any digital adoption program. Today, many digital adoption platforms assist with learning. However, adoption professionals must always design their teaching around people’s needs and wants.
- Career development and upskilling – Talent management and retention is a top concern for HR professionals. One way to retain talent for the long-term is to assist with career development, skills development, and upskilling.
- Communication and change management – Change is never easy. Change management, including digital adoption, requires an effective, personalized communication strategy. This is something that requires people skills, communication skills, and an artistic touch.
These are just a few reasons digital adoption should be approached as an “art” and not just a “science.”
The Craft of Digital Adoption
Ultimately, digital adoption is both an art and a science, as we’ve seen above.
The skilled digital adoption professional will apply both sides of the equation in their work.
As a result, this business practice – like many business disciplines – should be treated like a craft.
The digital adoption manager should have a balance of both skills. And his or her adoption team should include a cross-disciplinary set of skills.
Ideally, each manager and team should focus on the areas mentioned above.
- Organizational strategy
- Data-driven optimization
- Human-centered communication
- Training and onboarding
By developing a well-rounded skill set and team, the adoption professional can create a well-rounded program.
And, as a result, they can achieve success for both the people and the organization.
Tips for Becoming Effective Digital Adoption Professionals
It is important to recognize that digital adoption is neither a hard science nor a creative art.
The successful digital adoption professional requires a blend of both.
To develop skills in this area, here are a few things to focus on:
Understand your technology ecosystem.
Technology, of course, is the foundation of digital adoption. Naturally, every digital adoption program is a team effort. However, everyone should have a solid understanding of the technology used in their industry – which ones work, how they work, and which way the industry is trending.
Take a big-picture perspective of your organization’s strategy.
Ultimately, every digital adoption program is aimed at supporting the business strategy. In order to develop programs that stay on target, they must understand the reasons behind the program. Organizational strategy should be the context behind every decision you make.
Understand statistics and data.
Data drives success. And since digital adoption professionals must work with data, they must have at least a basic understanding of how to measure digital adoption with metrics and analytics. It is not necessary to become a statistician – but at the very least, professionals should be able to interact with and guide data scientists.
Have strong managerial skills, communication skills, and people skills.
Digital adoption professionals, especially digital adoption managers, should have strong managerial skills. Communication, as mentioned, is the foundation of any effective change program. Without skills such as these, it will be difficult to gain support from stakeholders.
Put a focus on skills training – both for the organization’s needs as well as the individual’s.
Education, training, and onboarding are core elements of the digital adoption process. Effective training has a direct impact on user productivity, engagement, and longevity. For these reasons, it is critical to study and design effective training methods.
The digital adoption process is a multi-disciplinary process.
It requires both soft skills and scientific skills, making it both an art and a science.
The successful digital adoption professional will develop a well-rounded skill set that embraces both sides of the equation.
Approaching digital adoption from both sides will help individuals design programs that get better results … both for the organization and its people.