This article was originally published on Digital-Adoption.com

Product adoption and diffusion are a major concern for organizations in the digital age. 

In the digital age, product adoption has become an everyday occurrence. 


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Yet all too often, enterprises invest heavily in a new software platform or solution, only to realize a portion of their investment’s potential value.

The reason is simple: ROI depends on software utilization and productivity.

This is why it is so important to focus not simply on software implementation, but also on effective adoption and diffusion.

The Importance of Product Adoption and Diffusion

Product adoption – the process where users learn and begin utilizing a product in their working environments – is a must for the modern business.

There are a number of factors and trends that are driving widespread the diffusion and adoption of digital products:

  • Digital transformation. Digital transformation is the journey an organization takes towards digital maturity. These transformations involve a wide variety of organizational changes, which can focus on everything from the customer experience to software adoption. The nature of the transformation will depend on may factors, but it frequently involves the adoption and implementation of new software.
  • Product adoption. Product adoption is a crucial component of many digital transformation efforts. In fact, effective transformation often depends on effective adoption. However, both of these depend, in turn, upon employee skills.
  • The digital skills gap. The digital skills gap refers to the gap that exists between employees’ skills and their organization’s needs. Closing this gap is necessary for businesses to stay competitive and digitally mature.

Since modern enterprises adopt new products so often, the efficiency of adoption processes have a substantial impact on organizational effectiveness.

An organization’s digital maturity, the efficiency of the digital workplace, the efficiency of business processes, and many other factors all depend on product adoption efforts.

Yet it is important to recognize that product adoption itself focuses on the product and the product experience.

Many organizations choose to extend their perspective to focus on digital efficiency, rather than on an individual product.

Product Adoption vs. Digital Adoption

To better understand the difference between these two concepts and why that difference matters, let’s compare product adoption to digital adoption.

Product adoption efforts revolve around an individual product, emphasizing elements such as:

  • Product onboarding. Product onboarding is a critical stage in the onboarding process, where new product users familiarize themselves with and begin using a new product. Onboarding is essential, since it sets the stage for the most important stages of the product experience.
  • Product training. Training should begin from the moment that users begin onboarding, and it should continue as long as necessary. Training is another stage in the adoption cycle that has profound impacts on user productivity and how much of that product’s value can be realized.
  • The product experience. The product experience encompasses all interactions that users have with a product. Optimizing that experience should include not only onboarding and training, but other business processes that impact the experience, such as marketing and customer service.

On the other hand, digital adoption emphasizes areas such as:

  • Fully utilizing software. Software is only valuable if it is utilized. When a company utilizes software to its fullest extent, then they will stand a better chance of realizing that platform’s full value. If employees only use some of a product’s features, though, then the organization will only be realizing a portion of the software’s potential ROI.
  • Maximizing user productivity. User productivity is another factor that impacts software ROI. And, like software utilization, it depends directly on employee training, the employee experience, and other important aspects of the product adoption process.
  • Streamlining the digital workplace. To function smoothly, the modern digital workplace requires not only digital tools, but a digitally literate and skilled workforce, as well as modern digitally-enabled processes and strategies – including an efficient and modern product adoption function.
  • Enabling seamless business operations. Ultimately, a business cannot function efficiently unless its digital operations are able to function efficiently. When digital capabilities are lacking, then organizational performance will also suffer.

For many businesses, digital adoption strategies are the most appropriate models, since they are designed to enhance digital maturity across multiple levels.

How a Digital Adoption Strategy Can Fuel Performance Gains

A digital adoption strategy would focus on components such as:

  • Digital onboarding. Digital onboarding for an employee doesn’t just mean onboarding for a single product. It focuses on onboarding for an entire workplace, which requires training and onboarding for multiple tools and workflows.
  • Digital training. Training, like onboarding, will not emphasize individual tools, but how all of those tools fit together to create an efficient digital workplace. The digital adoption perspective, in other words, trains holistically and focuses on digital maturity, rather than skills with individual software.
  • A digitally mature work environment. Digital maturity requires sophistication across many areas: workers must be digitally skilled, work processes must exploit digital technology, employees must have access to modern tools, and so forth. 

When using a digital adoption solution, enterprises can adopt products effectively, while ensuring that their digital investments are fully aligned with the organization’s digital priorities.