What is Digital Adoption? 10 Key Steps to Do It Right.

Suzanna Daniel
November 29, 2022
min read
September 19, 2023
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You've built and introduced a new tool. Now, you want your employees and users to maximize its full potential... but how? Let's talk about using digital adoption to scale business success.
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One of the main reasons technology was invented was to make life simpler and more convenient for humans.

And over the years, technology has evolved to cover many human needs and wants, from nutrition, housing, clothing, communication, and even health, all of which are basics most humans cannot do without.

The importance of technology in today's society makes it such that everyone and anyone who wants to should be able to use it easily. 

However, even as mainstream as tech is today and with the Tech-savvy population, there are times when there are oversights, and you don't fully understand how to use a technology or never find out the other ways to use it because it works just fine.

Usually, these things are revealed when you see someone else using it differently, and it's like, “Wow, I could do this all this while?”

According to this research, 77 percent of older people said they would need help using new technology and in this article, school teachers share their struggle with using classroom technology 

Now, if you are building for accessibility and for everyone in your target demographic to be able to find value from your product, then this indicates a worry for you because if users can't get the total value of your product, they are likely to churn.

A deep dive into this article would show why getting people to adopt digital tools or technology is not a “self-explanatory” process.

Sometimes for people to get the accurate and complete use for a thing, they have to be told and shown. The benefits of full digital adoption and how to effectively implement one are discussed further in this blog post.

What is digital adoption?

Digital adoption is a process where employees, customers or organizations effectively maximize technology to its total capacity to advance their goals and derive value.

If a phone is supposed to be able to make a phone call, send a text message, take a picture and also install several applications, digital adoption is yet to take place if users only know to use it for phone calls and texting.

Digital adoption can also be viewed as using technology to improve performance, increase efficiency, improve outcomes and optimize processes. 

The center and core of digital adoption is about creating a better user experience so people are more likely to use new technology. 

Digital adoption vs. digital transformation 

Now while they might sound similar, digital adoption is different from digital transformation.

Digital adoption is the process of using technology to improve the way we work and even carry out day-to-day life activities. It encompasses the entire journey from strategy to execution, and it's a key enabler of digital transformation.

Digital transformation, on the other hand, is a broader, more thorough effort. It's about using digital technologies to change how an organization does business fundamentally.

It's a top-down, company-wide initiative that affects everything from how customers are engaged to how products are designed and manufactured. It's about reimagining how you do business in the digital age.

While digital transformation is a significant initiative that can take years to achieve, digital adoption is a more cumulative process that can be implemented much more quickly.

When you use digital technologies to create new or different business processes, services, and customer experiences, it's digital transformation.

Digital adoption ensures people know exactly how to use what you've created to gain maximum value.

So while you might decide to buy a new phone, if you don't know how to use it, you don't get value from it, and no change happens for you when you can't derive satisfaction in a technological investment.

Digital transformation can be a daunting task for any organization, but it's important to remember that it doesn't have to happen all at once.

Many organizations are finding that a phased approach to digital transformation - with digital adoption as the first step - is the most effective way to make the transition.

To put it simply, digital transformation and adoption have to work hand in hand for innovation to thrive and succeed.

Benefits of digital adoption

Now obviously, as more people become heavily dependent on the tech that makes our life easier and helps us earn money sometimes, digital adoption is essential and here are a few of it's benefits.

Increase operational productivity & efficiency

Digital adoption can help organizations improve performance and achieve their goals. With the right digital tools, businesses can achieve previously unattainable efficiency levels, giving them a competitive edge. 

Think of it like this, You've worked so hard to build a new technology product.

You and your team have put so much sweat, tears, and effort into ensuring the launch is perfect and successful.

Internal prediction and press from the media guarantee this innovation will be the next big thing, and then weeks after, it's crickets. Users are dropping off after signing up and using it for a day or two, and retention is tanking faster than you know, so you check, and you find out nothing is exactly wrong with the product. Users are just leaving because they don't know what to do or how to use it to solve their problems, and with so many other alternatives on the market, they couldn't be bothered to try multiple times.

This scenario can also be flipped to play out in a work environment. For example, you invest in a CRM tool that's supposed to help your team monitor customer behavior to identify loopholes plunging sales, but they can't utilize the tool correctly to achieve this goal because they have no education.

This would lead to operational failure — pushing for digital adoption helps you prevent this.

Once digital adoption is complete, employees can easily use these tools to automate manual processes, reduce errors, and lessen the need for manual intervention. 

Improved customer experience 

Digital adoption can also lead to better customer experiences. When customers have a seamless, positive experience with a company's digital tools, they're more likely to continue doing business with that company. They're also more likely to recommend the company to others. 

Increased employee engagement

When employees use the right digital tools for their jobs, they can get their work done faster and more efficiently.

Improved communication & collaboration

Digital adoption can also help team improve communication and collaboration. When everyone is on the same page it's easier to share information and work together. 

Reduced costs & increased revenue

Digital adoption helps your organization save money and generate revenue by providing new or improved services that users know how to use.

Encourages innovation.

Lastly, digital adoption can help organizations drive innovation. By constantly testing and improving their digital tools and processes, companies can stay ahead of the curve and develop new ways of doing things. 

How to develop a digital adoption strategy

If you're looking to onboard clients or employees on various digital tools, it's important to develop a digital adoption strategy.

This should be a phased approach focusing on digital literacy and skills development before moving on to more tool-specific training and support.

The goal of a digital adoption strategy should be to help employees and users make the most of the digital tools at their disposal and to enable the organization as a whole to reap the benefits of digitalization.

A digital adoption strategy is a plan for how you will use new digital technologies to improve the way you do business.

It outlines the steps you need to take to ensure that your organization can effectively use digital technologies to drive operational improvements and business value. It should be tailored to your specific business needs and goals.

Your digital adoption strategy should cover three main areas:

  • The technologies you will adopt
  • The processes you will put in place
  • The people you will need to support your digital adoption

We've listed ten key steps here to developing a digital adoption strategy:

  1. Define your goals.
  2. Assess your current state.
  3. Identify gaps and opportunities.
  4. Develop and implement a plan.
  5. Define roles.
  6. Set KPIs.
  7. Forecast roadblocks.
  8. Communicate.
  9. Track and measure results.
  10. Collect feedback from employees and users.
  11. Provide in-app tutorials & training

1. Define your goals

The first step in developing a digital adoption strategy is to define your goals. Ask yourself:

  • What do you want to achieve with digital adoption?
  • Do you want to improve communication and collaboration?
  • Increase productivity?
  • Reduce costs?
  • What new or different processes, services or customer experiences do you want to create?

2. Assess your current state

The second step is to assess your current state. Ask yourself:

  • Where are you at the moment?
  • What digital technologies do you currently use?
  • How are they being used?
  • What processes are in place to support their use?
  • Are there any openings or opportunities for improvement?
  • Are there any barriers to adoption?

3. Identify gaps & opportunities

The third step is to identify gaps and opportunities. Ask yourself:

  • What steps do you need to take to get from your current state to your desired state?
  • What digital technologies could you use that you're not currently using to get there?
  • How can you use existing technologies more effectively?
  • What processes or services can you make better?

4. Develop & implement a plan

The fourth step is to develop and carry out a plan. This plan should outline the steps you need to take to achieve your goals and the technology you need. It should also include a timeline, milestones and responsibilities.

5. Define roles:  

The fifth step is role definition.

You must ensure you have the right team to manage and support the digital adoption process. You also need to ensure that the team has the necessary skills and knowledge to implement the digital adoption strategy successfully.

It's easier for digital adoption to take place when there are people in charge of each team to monitor employee progress.

For example, a better-skilled employee could supervise training sessions to ensure everyone learns how to do it right.

6. Set KPIs

For the sixth step, putting KPIs in place is always a good idea as it helps your team have direction.

If the goal is to have 200 active users signing up for a product and using it daily, this KPI set in place will trigger every employee involved to work towards achieving it.

Because there's a target to hit, they could find out if drop rates are high because users don't know what to do and determine the following line of action to combat that. Whether to organize training sessions, live demos, in-app tutorials or use SEO content marketing, etc.

7. Forecast roadblocks

This next step involves thinking ahead to figuring things out before they even happen and creating a barrier to prevent it.

Think ahead of all the possible challenges that could come up during the digital adoption process, like setting unrealistic deadlines to fully integrate a tool into existing processes and poor communication amongst stakeholders; all of these, if ignored, can cause severe obstacles to having effective digital adoption.

8. Communicate 

Digital adoption means you're making a change and you need to carry everyone along to make sure it succeeds.

Communication would ensure that you eliminate employee resistance to change. If your employees find out one day that a vital part of how processes are run was suddenly changed overnight without prior information, the situation can get ugly, and adoption won't happen.

9. Measure

Put your plan into action and track your progress. Are you achieving the results you want?

This step would help you to track your progress and ensure that you are achieving your goals.

10. Collect feedback from employees & users

As you learn and grow, continue to refine your digital adoption strategy. Adjust and repeat with your customers and employees. 

11. Provide in-app tutorials & training for employees & users

While they might not totally eliminate the need for other forms of education on how to fully maximize your product, in-app tutorials come in handy for showing a first-time customer how things get done.

It sets a precedent that you value their time. Employees could also use a lot from training manuals on the new tools you introduce.

You might also want to consider changing some processes to make it easier for everyone to use the new tools.

Here's a guide for you on how to create an effective training manual

Why use Scribe?

Digital tools and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications are rising fast. Companies today estimate that 70 percent of the apps they use are SAAS-based products, with this number expected to increase by 85 percent in 2025.

Using all of these tools requires training, and spending so much time on YouTube videos and online tutorials to figure out how to use all of these products can be a lot for both employees and users, and when either one of these persons feels overwhelmed, they leave because the human brain can't retain all of the different information they are fed at once, and what happens afterward is an unending circle of trying to figure it out. However, if digital adoption is achieved, nothing goes to waste.

Luckily, Scribe can help you with every step of your digital adoption journey when it comes to training and documentation.

Scribe is a no-code tool that makes it easy to train users and employees on new tools and processes. You can use the step-by-step guide generator to develop easy-to-understand tutorials or documents — without writing one word.


And with Scribe Pages, you can create larger process documents to drive digital adoption. Combine Scribes with with descriptions, images, videos and other media in a single document.

Here's is a Scribe on how to create Pages.

Pages are helpful for when you want to organize multiple topics in one place without having to create one long guide.

This allows you to create and combine simple tutorials to quickly implement a digital adoption strategy that will maximize the benefits of digital tools for your organization without losing the flow.

If you would like to read on other training manuals options, we covered it here.


As an Operations leader, team lead, or team member, you must know the latest digital technologies and trends and how they can be applied to achieve organizational goals.

You also need to understand the organization’s existing systems and processes and how and where digital adoption can help to improve them.

Digital adoption is a journey, not a destination. There's no "right" way to do it, and every organization must find its way. But with a little planning and a commitment to the process, you can make digital adoption work for your organization.

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