Not All Digital Adoption Platforms are Created Equal

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Digital change is a constant in today’s corporate world, as is the need to learn about and be proficient in new software. Because of this, we see the learning management systems (LMS’s) of old starting to evolve into more robust digital adoption platforms in order to keep up with the pace of change.

Positive digital transformation is vital to how employees and customers interact with a successful company as it grows. Implementing new tools to improve the customer support experience, for example, happens predictably as a company expands. It’s vital to scaling good service. However, the pace of such transformation is making traditional learning platforms less relevant than they were in the past.

This is due to a variety of reasons. Workers have difficulty retaining large chunks of learning material presented in webinars or in-person training. It is also difficult and time-consuming to search a bloated database for specific answers. For company leaders, identifying which skills need work and reinforcing those skills is also difficult.

Digital adoption platforms set out to solve these learning and retention issues by guiding employees through the use of and engagement with new technology. However, due to the rapid pace of industry change and the constant advent of new technology, the definition of a good digital adoption and learning platform also has to change and evolve.

Not every digital adoption platform has flexibility in the way learning is supported, making some more able to meet the needs of employees, trainers and company leaders than others. It’s critical to be able to use the newest learning technology to solve the issues that modern competitive environments face both now and in the future.

What does a digital adoption platform do?

Digital adoption platforms or solutions have the purpose of guiding a company and through digital transformation, which is the use of new technology to meet a company goal. Such a system should be a valuable companion when it comes to rolling out any digital adoption strategy.

This type of software should integrate with the web-based applications that employees are using daily, and should help guide workers through new processes in real time. These platforms also need to handle new user onboarding .

These learning systems should also guide users through training to address any skills gaps that might arise. Ideally, in-app learning management should provide constant reinforcement of learned material as well, and this process should be automatic.

The ability to communicate any company or process changes to all departments with ease should also be included in any digital adoption tool.

Ideally, what goals should it meet?

The learning technology of today must make employees the central part of digital transformation, and not a barrier to it. It must give company leaders a way to adapt quickly to innovation and get ahead of the competition.

Improved employee productivity is another main goal for learning management systems. The right digital adoption platform takes this one step further; greatly reducing or cutting out the fear of change that makes most digital transformations fail. Addressing this fear is important in increasing product and software engagement.

Automated and self-guided learning should be able to onboard and train new hires quickly, cutting down on the dreaded learning curve associated with traditional learning methods.

It should also save time for managers and trainers by consolidating learning material where work is done for quick editing and content creation. Reinforcement of learned material should be just as simple, appearing in the flow of work.

The right learning software must allow company leaders to easily align all departments with the same top level goals. It should allow leaders to take a company through rapid changes and cut down on the time needed to make that digital transformation happen. Leaders must be able to find and address skills gaps quickly, so that they can make full digital adoption a reality.

How are traditional learning platforms falling short?

Unfortunately, many digital adoption platforms and the legacy learning systems they are based on fall short of these goals. This means that most digital transformation strategies aren’t working well . This is because the base of successful transformation is user onboarding and improved user adoption. If a platform cannot properly get users to engage, they will inherently fail.

Despite the issues with context switching, many learning management systems still rely on search databases. Smart searches, though somewhat helpful, often aren’t contextual and lead to employees wasting time because they have to hunt for answers. Workers must often leave the programs in which they’re working to use such databases, cutting down on employee productivity.

This causes a lack of true integration with the various apps and programs that workers use every day. Some learning systems also cannot integrate with more than one or two different apps. Company departments will use more than one or two programs throughout the course of a day, and learning needs to extend to all of them for each process critical to that work group.

For company leaders, the need to communicate changes quickly and easily to an entire company is always present. This can align an entire company to the same goal, but many digital adoption platforms don’t allow for this, leading to meetings and webinars that carry a learning curve and take too much time.

Often, trainers end up creating too many different types of training, such as Powerpoint presentations, databases, wikis, and videos that often create far too much executional overhead to be relevant for long. This can cause trainers to become bogged down as they try to meet the needs of all employees. Training resources typically become hard to update because there are so many of them in different places.

Overall, many traditional LMS’s are simply too large to keep up. They can lead to poor employee and customer experiences. They gain too much momentum and are too big to allow an easy change in direction. This also makes them difficult to scale up or down as change happens.

What functionality is truly required to meet demands in this rapidly changing world?

While the definition of good digital adoption platform software is always changing, one thing is true: These systems need to have the flexibility to keep up with innovation and empower company leaders to be flexible as well. This means less bulk and more power. To drive users into embracing change, often a “less is more” approach is appropriate, as long as the methods used produce better results, which is exactly what we are seeing with the learning of software.

Training and user engagement must happen quickly and be able to both scale for and adapt to change. This “less is more” approach is ideal for that. Successful digital transformation is tied to an organization’s ability to be agile consistently and over the long term.

This fundamental shift in approach comes more easily with lightweight systems, as they can change and pivot with new innovation in less time. Lightweight systems, lacking the baggage that other platforms bring, can focus on the contextual learning that is truly needed by saving time and eliminating frustration inherent in legacy systems.

To clear this baggage, all training needs to be stored, created, and edited in one central tool, but be accessible within the flow of work. Processes, policies, and programs change often, and the need to alter training on the fly is a must. Avoiding a fragmented system with training stored in multiple places can greatly speed up the pace.

With a centralized system, trainers should be able to make the right training with just a few clicks and edits. They should also be able to make fast updates, which populate through the system at once. Walkthroughs should be very fast and easy to set up, without the need for coding.

Such training and reinforcement should go to the employee in real time. This type of training should also allow for instant, hands-on learning and give workers constant reinforcement. Automated learning, once set in motion, can be used to onboard and train new employees. Hints and tips should also be easy to insert into a variety of programs at once, and not just a few.

Without a mountain of outdated and siloed content bogging it down, a good digital adoption solution can easily integrate with many different apps. This includes some goal-oriented programs such as Salesforce. Items such as sales playbooks can be customized for each team and follow sales reps to each app where they work.

Finally, company leaders should have the ability to send out real-time alerts that appear right where employees are working. These alerts should be able to communicate updates, new resources, and new processes.

Less is more: the right digital adoption platform can make all the difference

The great news is that these much-needed traits in learning management are already here, and are further evolving to meet the needs of companies in the digital era. These enterprise applications will help companies succeed, while others will fall short.

The right platform can give company leaders a chance to embrace what is truly needed to make digital transformation a success. With the right training, employees can become the drivers of change, and not a barrier to it. User behavior will help, not hurt, business goals.

When it comes to embracing real change and true digital adoption, less is more. Digital learning should be lightweight, easy, fast and contextual. It should guide users automatically through business processes.

Using the right learning management platform can eliminate the context switching problem by integrating with every app that employees use. This type of on-screen guidance is very powerful. Trainers can create “flows” that appear in-app that walk both seasoned employees and new hires through new processes.

Such learning is automated and self-guided, which reduces the need for long and expensive training sessions. This coaching-driven approach can follow employees through the apps that they use, with help and reinforcement always present.

These “flows” make it very easy to create step by step guides that appear in the workflow. They are very easy to edit without the need for coding knowledge. Better yet, the help presented in this real-time learning can be updated in a centralized digital adoption platform knowledge base that populates through the rest of the system.

This type of training is easy to scale with growth and change due to its lightweight nature. Changes to the centralized knowledge base are quick and easy to make, and those changes can carry across to other in-app learning experiences.

Change alerts and other notifications can now appear directly in-app, catching the attention of an entire company at once. Communicating change is now fast and easy for company leaders and department heads. This capability allows leaders to keep pace with innovation and more easily align teams around the use of new tools so they can beat the competition.

Remove the baggage today

Successful digital adoption and transformation can seem like a lofty goal, and many company leaders have trouble reaching it. However, there are learning systems today that can help meet the goals of change, and often accelerate anticipated success. In that implementation, it’s important to understand that not all solutions are equal and closely match your goals with learning capabilities that will truly empower change.

Ready to start that change? Chat with us today to help find your lightweight, powerful digital adoption and learning solution.

About the author

Melanie Fellay
CEO & Co-founder
Mel is a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient, a Top 100 Female Entrepreneur to Watch, and has been featured across Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and more.
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