No matter your business or industry, major organizational change is scary. Whether that change is implementing new enterprise software, completing a business merger, or undertaking a digital transformation initiative – it is often risky, costly, and rarely easy. But, of course, change is constant and necessary. And enterprises can gain a lot – competitive advantage, increased customer satisfaction, greater operational efficiency – when they navigate it well.
Today’s best roadmaps for major organizational change have taken the lessons from past failures to become more comprehensive and adept at avoiding common pitfalls. However, in many enterprises, these roadmaps are still missing an important piece: a plan for digital adoption.
Digital adoption is the process of reaching a level of proficiency on a given technology that enables users to understand and effectively utilize it in their role, so enterprises can realize the technology’s full capabilities and value. Digital adoption is a common thread and foundational element of every major organizational change.
Because it is necessary for the workforce to succeed in the future state. And workforce enablement is a prerequisite for enterprises to achieve the desired outcomes of their change initiatives. When enterprises develop a plan for digital adoption, the “people” part of change is engaged and empowered, minimizing the potential for operational disruption and internal resistance.
To illustrate the importance of integrating digital adoption in your roadmap for organizational change, here is a look at 3 common initiatives and ideas for a digital adoption solution any enterprise can implement.
1. Software Implementation
By now, the story of Hershey’s 1999 failed multi-system implementation is the stuff of legend. With Halloween right around the corner, they implemented new ERP, CRM, and supply chain software in a massive, but botched rollout that resulted in unfulfilled orders, $100 million in lost sales, and an 8% dip in their stock. On top of that, many disappointed trick or treaters went home without Hershey’s Kisses. For other enterprise executives, it was a very scary story.
At the time, Hershey’s tribulations were seen as a cautionary tale about enterprise software implementation. But today, over twenty years later, their story is proof of something every enterprise has come to know. Major software implementation will disrupt business at first, because it requires you to change the way you do business. The difference between implementation success and failure is whether an enterprise can quickly and nimbly navigate that sea of change.
As with Hershey’s saga, one of the driving forces behind post-implementation operational disruption – missed shipment deadlines, pricing errors, inventory shortages – is a failure to prioritize end user digital adoption. When users are not adequately equipped to use the new enterprise software, critical errors are bound to happen.
But even when an enterprise knows this and puts a user onboarding strategy in place, many experience slow time to employee productivity. There can be many reasons for this delay, but often they can trace their root cause to an inefficient plan for digital adoption. Think of strained or under-resourced training teams tasked with upskilling a large and diverse group of employees who will have different skill levels, different learning needs, and different uses for the software.
Because of these common obstacles, a plan for both prioritizing and optimizing digital adoption is needed for enterprise software implementations to go smoothly. This plan is especially critical when you take into account that as soon as the implementation at hand is complete, there is always another one around the corner.
2. Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) have a lot of moving parts – which means they have a lot of ways to fall apart. There is a great deal of work to do on the front end for a successful M&A, and a critical part of due diligence should be mapping and planning what do to when the deal is done. Many M&As flounder because they don’t have a thorough strategy for post-merger integration (PMI) – the process of bringing two or more companies together with the aim of maximizing synergies to ensure that the deal lives up to its predicted value.
Here again, a digital adoption-centric approach to PMI mitigates some of its challenges. As businesses merge, they need to:
- Integrate and/or streamline their technology stack
- Evaluate, standardize and document each business process
- Train all or a portion of the workforce on the new standards and various enterprise software
- And likely onboard a wave of new hires
All of this needs to be accomplished as quickly and efficiently as possible. Because the sooner these logistical elements of PMI are in place, the sooner leadership and organizational change management teams can focus on the important but nuanced task of cultivating an engaged and unified post-merger organizational culture.
3. Digital Transformation Initiatives
Digital transformation: nearly every organization in every industry has recognized that it is an ongoing process, not a once-a-decade project. But despite the acceptance of transformation as the state of things, the success of digital transformation initiatives remains elusive for the majority of organizations. In 2016, 84% of companies reported they have failed in their initiatives. In 2019, a survey of the customers of ERP system vendor SAP found that 75% of the participants were digital newcomers – meaning they are still in the planning or early stages of their digital transformation journey.
What is hindering or stalling the digital transformation of these organizations? A 2020 report looked at data from 1,000 digital transformations over the past 20 years and revealed that neither the software central to these initiatives nor its system integration had a significant impact on the duration, cost, and risk of operational disruption. Instead, the number one challenge identified by digital transformation leadership and project teams was the “people” part of transformation.
The failure to engage and empower the workforce results in internal resistance to change. And when viewed through the lens of digital adoption, this resistance comes from an understandable set of reactions:
- Misunderstanding about the objectives of the initiative and how it will bring value to the roles within the workforce
- Lack of confidence in the strategy for achieving objectives when it doesn’t leverage internal subject matter experts or acknowledge “the way we do things”
- Anxiety about the future state and the organization’s ability to support the workforce to be successful in it
In digital transformation roadmaps, it is important to include a plan for continuously enabling the workforce to adopt the multiple and varied enterprise software applications that are the crux of initiatives. Without this plan, the anxieties that feed internal resistance can grow and continue to weigh down your digital transformation journey.
What is the solution?
Digital adoption is integral to successful organizational change and needs to be a key element of any roadmap, no matter the nature of the major change. Fortunately, there is an enterprise solution that targets digital adoption: digital adoption platforms.
A digital adoption platform is software that runs on top of the enterprise application or system that end users need training and support in. It provides walkthrough guidance for process workflows that aid in accelerating and strengthening user adoption. A digital adoption platform can:
- Optimize end user training programs by offering point-of-need instruction for enterprise software, supplementing and sometimes replacing other resource-heavy training methodologies.
- Streamline the standardization of business processes by making the documentation and distribution of best practices as simple as recording the correct workflow execution and adding it to the platform’s walkthrough guide catalog.
- Leverage more skilled end users – the internal subject matter experts – to capture and share best practices as they evolve. DAPs like OnScreen easily engage subject matter experts because they don’t need to be experts in training methodologies, only in the technology or process for which they are creating instruction.
- Provide digestible, on-demand learning that removes barriers to expertise for other end users, as they can more easily learn and become empowered to develop expertise themselves. This better equips the workforce, and their organization, to adapt and succeed with each major change.
OnScreen is the agile digital adoption platform for SAP and web-based enterprise applications that boosts process efficiency and employee productivity by empowering any user to become a super user. Book a Demo to learn the other ways DAPs can save your enterprise money through successful digital adoption.