Business leaders should stop being ‘shopaholics’ and achieve the promise of digital investments - The EE

Business leaders should stop being ‘shopaholics’ and achieve the promise of digital investments

Most of us could probably describe at least one person we know as a ‘shopaholic’, says Rafael Sweary, president and co-founder of WalkMe. Every shopaholic is convinced, somehow, that the latest shiny toy or item of clothing will bring them happiness. But once the card is swiped, and the purchases are taken home, many sit in boxes, gathering dust.

In a business context, it could be said that some leaders act like workplace technology shopaholics by moving onto the next project without first ensuring the success of the previous one. It shouldn’t be this way, of course: just as parents try to teach children how to spend their pocket money, business leaders need to save their pennies, delay their gratification, and enjoy a greater reward further down the line. 

The digital adoption gap

It’s important to remember that the cause of many leaders’ shopaholic mindset is the fact that there’s currently so much investment in digital transformation. The numbers are huge: research has revealed that organisations’ continued investment in digital transformation could help grow the UK economy by £232 billion by 2040.

Regardless of industry, organisations are largely aiming for similar outcomes when making these investments increasing revenue, improving operating margins, driving better customer, employee, or associated business experience, and reducing risk. Some businesses have invested in hundreds of different applications in a bid to achieve these outcomes but in reality, many are often only using a fraction of the softwares and features they’ve invested in.

This is where a ‘digital adoption gap’ forms the difference between outlay and the desired outcomes achieved. Closing this gap would unlock value from investments, which are currently being held back by limited user adoption. But exactly how can businesses close the digital adoption gap?

The Three Ps

Of course, not every organisation has the same kind of digital adoption gap every scenario is different. But nevertheless, any business looking to close it should make use of three key ingredients:

  • Platform

 The first ingredient is a Digital Adoption Solution (DAS) a category recently recognised by the likes of Gartner for technology that streamlines digital adoption. Its most common form, a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP), forms a layer sitting above a digital product, providing customised user guidance and data visibility, helping to drive increased technology adoption and ultimately, business outcomes.

 From an employee point of view, DAPs can alleviate many common headaches lots of us face in the workplace, with a single interface freeing people from the burden of having to master the interfaces of hundreds of different apps, and they are customisable meaning they no longer need to sit through hours of training that might be irrelevant for their job role. Although these kinds of platforms can be game-changers, they can’t work their magic in a vacuum.

  • People

The second ingredient is Digital Adoption Platform professionals (DAP professionals). In a nutshell, these people can take responsibility for using DAPs to drive and oversee their organisation’s digital strategy. In particular, DAP professionals focus on ensuring employees can use digital investments to their fullest capability. They measure the progress of the adoption and success of technologies within an organisation. 

In line with the rise of DAPs, DAP professionals are now becoming more common figures within an enterprise environment. Although still a fairly new role, it is already becoming increasingly formalised, with the first DAP professional-specific qualifications recently becoming growing in popularity.

  • Persistence

The final ingredient for success is persistence ‘seeing things through’ before moving onto something else. To take the spotlight off digital transformations before they deliver their promised value would be a costly mistake, but it is also one that is regularly made.

Digital transformation cannot be viewed through the lens of a one-off investment that fixes everything in a single swoop. CIOs and other business leaders must be prepared to play the long game and realise that the digital enterprise is an ongoing project. This is precisely why DAPs and DAP Professionals are coming to the fore and they will only grow more important to businesses in the months and years ahead. By focusing on driving digital adoption, businesses can generate maximum value from the investments they have made, while minimising the need to spend even more on the ‘next big thing’ further down the line.

Leading by example

Rafael Sweary

If a business’ digital transformation is failing to deliver, it’s hugely likely the technologies they’ve invested in aren’t being used to their full potential. Reviewing these investments may not be an obvious priority, but this is a crucial first step that simply cannot be missed. This can prove the difference between patiently waiting to reap massive rewards, or throwing money after shiny new toys like a classic shopaholic. Rather than leaving tech doomed to sit on the shelf, unused, gathering dust, it’s time to prioritise putting everything to use.

The author is Rafael Sweary, president and co-founder of WalkMe.

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