The Ultimate Digital Adoption Platform Guide

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Digital Adoption Platform Basics

What is a digital adoption platform?

A digital adoption platform (DAP) is a software platform designed to simplify the adoption of new technology among your users, whether they are customers or employees.

Products with unengaged users will suffer from high churn and poor retention rates. A digital adoption platform helps users master key tasks faster, thus increasing customer satisfaction and improving user loyalty.

Most software used to further internal digital transformation efforts requires intimate user familiarity and consistent usage before an organization sees a return on their investment and a positive impact on employee performance.

The more effective a digital adoption platform is, the quicker your workforce is onboarded and becomes productive with a new tool. You can achieve a faster time-to-value and begin seeing an earlier ROI.

Digital adoption and digital enablement

A proper digital adoption framework emphasizes both digital adoption and digital enablement.

Digital adoption is when an organization and its workers use a software platform to its utmost capability. This doesn’t necessarily mean using all features, but rather, properly using all applicable features to improve the business’ process and employee performance.

Digital enablement is how users learn to use a new software tool. This encompasses any tools that provide training, knowledge resources, and learning reinforcement. These tools can either be built into the product itself or driven by third-party software.

Digital enablement is crucial to the success of digital adoption. A digital adoption solution without supporting digital enablement will result in a poorly-understood and underutilized product.

Learning methodology also plays an important part in digital adoption. Micro-learning and contextual learning can dramatically increase digital enablement’s effectiveness. Thus a successful digital adoption framework will have the product itself and effective digital enablement tools that are built around a learning methodology to fit the needs of your workforce.

Digital adoption platform benefits

So, “why is digital adoption important?” After all, aren’t more software applications shifting towards “plug-n-play” and streamlined UI? Yes and no. Consider the difference between knowing how to drive a car, and being a good driver. Anyone can learn how to drive, but driving well can take coaching, mindfulness, and experience.

It’s the same way with digital adoption. Your staff needs to learn how to use your software application well in order for it to bring value to the business. Simply leaving them to their own devices won’t work.

The benefits of digital adoption include:

  • Accelerated onboarding and training
    In-the-moment usage tips and in-depth training resources help users learn the product quickly. From there, they can do the job they were hired for much faster instead of logging additional training hours.
  • Higher employee productivity
    Employees work better and faster because they know how to use your product to its utmost capacity, and tech issues are no longer slowing them down. When answers are presented in the flow of work, they’re not forced to leave an application and search for answers.
  • Lower resistance to new software
    Many users resist using new software because of the fear of the unknown, or because they don’t understand the new way of doing things. Digital adoption can help alleviate this fear by giving step-by-step contextual instructions that put employees at ease.
  • Increased employee retention
    Employees who are confident in their role and can navigate software tools without frustration are more likely to stay than users that struggle with applications. Even better, when other employees see team members succeeding and using a product with ease, it increases tool adoption and provides and internal network of champions to further the cause.
  • Faster Time-To-Value (TTV)
    Increase customer satisfaction and retention by helping your customers get value out of your product faster.
  • Competitive agility
    When a team is experienced and can work quickly, it provides an immediate advantage over competitors who don’t have the same digital adoption platform benefits.
  • Fewer IT support tickets
    Effective self-learning means that fewer users will be reaching out to IT for support questions.

Digital adoption platform software market

As software tools become more available, and our reliance on continues to grow, the digital adoption platform software market is only going to increase in the coming years. As it stands now, it’s already achieved incredible heights.

According to Absolute Market Insights, the digital adoption platform market size reached a value of $43.11 million in 2018. This group projects that it will grow at more than 15% annually and eventually be valued at $162.84 million in 2027. That valuation is spread across the 65 digital adoption platforms ( as listed on G2), and while that is relatively small compared to other more mature industries such as MarTech, more DAPs are being released into the market every year, as the demand for such services grows.

There are certain capabilities and best practices common to the top digital adoption platforms; examples include:

  • Onboarding assistance
    All DAPs have at least some capability of supporting users as they onboard on a new product, whether they’re in-app tool tips or a content library of written and video resources.
  • Change management support
    Change is difficult and updates must be communicated quickly, which is why a digital adoption platform should contain easy, editable, in-app alerts to help drive change management.
  • Employee analytics
    How can you improve your digital adoption program if you don’t know how effective it is? A good DAP will collect stats and metrics on whether or not employees are actually using your new tool, engage with your content and see alerts.
  • Contextual content
    General guides often leave out a lot detailed and specific information, which is why the best digital adoption platforms allow you to create custom content that gives the user the info they need within their specific workflow.

Digital adoption platform comparison

Just as there are different car models available to savvy consumers, there also many different digital adoption platforms available to choose from.

So, how can you tell which of them is right for you? Although there are lots of digital adoption platform reviews on sites such as G2, we’ve put together a handy digital adoption platform comparison of some of the most popular options and how they compare with Spekit.

WalkMe is one of the pioneers of the digital adoption platform and is a popular choice among Fortune 500 companies. It primarily focuses on assisting companies on improving the user experience and employee productivity, with a secondary focus on process efficiency.

WalkMe’s main advantages center around the following areas:

  • Advanced analytics on user behavior and engagement
  • Triggered alerts whenever a step-by-step walkthrough breaks
  • Advanced walkthrough builders that include decision trees and data validations that limit what gets entered into a field
  • Quizzes that offer real-time feedback and grade users based on performance

WalkMe does have limitations, however. WalkMe competitors like Spekit generally have the advantage in the following areas:

  • The WalkMe digital adoption platform solves primarily for tool adoption, not employee productivity (adoption & enablement)
  • Heavily manual process with some integrations
  • Requires coding background to manage, maintain, and update
  • No Salesforce integration to automatically embed
  • WalkMe pricing can be obtained by requesting a quote. Other WalkMe alternatives include WhatFix, Apty, and Pendo, to name a few.

Guru is a digital knowledge management system. As a WalkMe alternative, Guru focuses primarily on knowledge sharing and providing verified information from experts on your team. It’s ideal for sales enablement and knowledge management teams.

Guru’s advantages include:

  • A flexible editing experience
  • Templates
  • Trust Scores that promote strong data governance
  • Comprehensive content hierarchy

Guru’s limitations include:

  • Focuses on knowledge availability rather than tool adoption and change management
  • No out-of-box content for key tools
  • Inability to embed information cards makes it difficult to establish context
  • Complex UI and content hierarchy

Guru pricing is divided into three tiers, with each tier providing a different amount of features:

  • Starter – $5 per user per month
  • Builder – $10 per user per month
  • Expert – $20 per user per month

Seismic is a digital adoption platform that focuses primarily on sales enablement. It has more in common with a Content Management System (CMS) than other DAP platforms like WalkMe and WhatFix. Alternatives to Seismic include Highspot and SalesLoft.

Seismic and similarly CMS-heavy DAPs excel in the following areas:

  • Content analytics that give data on end-user behavior and content consumption
  • Provides a central location for playbooks and content assets
  • Quality control that ensures up-to-date and on-brand content

Seismic’s limitations include:

  • Designed for long-form customer-facing content, not bite-sized information for micro-learning
  • Not designed for training and adoption
  • No contextual content available

Seismic pricing is available upon request.

The digital adoption platform future

The days of traditional employee training classes are numbered. With the advent of remote work, digital learning and adoption solutions, and alternative learning methods, traditional learning methodologies are no longer effective in a corporate workforce environment.

Take micro-learning, for instance. Micro-learning is dividing a topic into multiple small chunks, which are then taught to learners over short periods of time.

According to RPS research, micro-learning improves focus and supports long-term retention by up to 80%. This is because content is more digestible and avoids overwhelming the learner, which therefore increases information retention.

This can have a powerful effect on your team. According to a Software Advice report, The LMS Features that Drive Employee Engagement IndustryView, over 50% of the 385 employee respondents said that they would use their company’s learning tools more if the courses were shorter. They went on to say that longer courses are more challenging to digest and retain, and that taking these courses got in the way of their daily workload.

Contextual learning increases the effectiveness of micro-learning by relating the information being taught to an actual situation that the user or employee will encounter over the course of using the software. It’s a practical application that instantly solidifies the information in the learner’s mind. Even concepts are easier to grasp in this way because it can be contextually compared to a real-life situation.

Just-in-time (JIT) learning is also complementary to micro-learning, because the closer the timing of a lesson is to its practical application, the better the information will “stick” to the learner. Lessons learned in the traditional way are difficult to retain because they are often far removed – in both distance and time – from the actual application of the lesson.

Digital adoption platforms combine the best of micro-learning, contextual learning, and JIT learning into a digital environment that can help employees and users quickly learn, engage, and master a new software platform or tool. This accelerates an organization’s TTV and ROI for purchasing the tool, and elevates the team’s productivity.