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How Digitalization Challenges Have Led to the Rise of Digital Adoption Platforms

Digital transformation (DX) is inevitable. Organizations acknowledge that digital transformation is crucial for growth and survival. It is particularly essential in the new normal, as consumers and businesses become accustomed to using technology to facilitate a wide range of remote activities.

However, not all digital transformation initiatives succeed. Many companies encounter challenges in making their digitalization efforts work for various reasons. Going digital is not as easy as deciding to invest in new technologies and telling employees to use a new digital system.

This reality of DX is undeniable as evidenced by the rise of new products and services aimed at helping organizations improve their digital transformation outcomes.

Failures in digital transformation

A Harvard Business Review Analytic Services research sponsored by WalkMe, a leading digital adoption platform, has alarming findings on digital transformation success rates. Entitled The State of Digital Adoption 2021, the study says that 80 percent of companies admit that their digital transformation strategies have been ineffective.

The research surveyed over 500 business executives to obtain insights into the ways they try to transition their organizations into digital systems. Bluntly put, there is a big opportunity for businesses to still improve on their digital transformation strategies.

An overwhelming majority of the executives surveyed, at 81 percent, say that they are pushing hard to digitalize. They say they are doing this as a pathway to differentiate their organizations in the market. Unfortunately, only 20 percent say that their strategies have produced the intended results.

One of the crucial reasons why organizations fail with their DX strategies is the digital aptitude of employees. “So-so at best,” this is how the study described the digital aptitude of most organizations with 16 percent saying that it is consistently high for them, 41 percent consistently moderate, 14 percent consistently low, and 28 percent saying that it varies throughout the organization.

Another reason for the failure is the lack of an organized way to assess digital transformation performance. The research says that a high majority of organizations tend to use qualitative and quantitative metrics to measure the effectiveness of their strategies, but they do not have universal benchmarks for evaluating success. Some 13 percent of the respondents in the study say they either have no idea about the effectiveness of their DX strategy or they do not conduct any evaluation at all.

On the other hand, the research suggests that successful digital transformation and accelerated digital adoption are closely linked. Companies digitalize better when they do it with a sense of urgency. Also, the active involvement of executives has an impact on success, 81 percent saying that it is “important” or “very important” to allow organization leaders access to information about and the progress of digital transformation initiatives, so they can prioritize these efforts.

The viability of external DX solutions

Most of the companies surveyed use internal solutions to digitally transform with 73 percent employing in-house strategies, 8 percent using global system integrators and other consultants, 5 percent relying on original software developers, and 14 percent using other options.

Given these numbers, it makes sense to consider external strategies or solutions when most internal solutions appear to be failing. There are Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) designed to ensure better outcomes for DX initiatives. These are developed by experts in digital transformation to address almost all of the challenges encountered by organizations.

As noted in The State of Digital Adoption 2021, “a growing number of companies are turning to

digital adoption platforms (DAPs).” These solutions include digital experience analytics features as well as AI-powered user experience data crunching to formulate better ways to improve DX outcomes.

“The study confirms that the world’s most digitally transformed companies rely on DAPs to reduce time-to-aptitude, increase competitive agility and improve many other ROI measurements that have been out of their reach until now,” says WalkMe President and Co-Founder Rafael Sweary. “Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) provide executives with the insights they need to identify and resolve digital friction,” he explains.

A growing sub-industry to address digital transformation for enterprises

DAP and similar or related software are not the only products created to address the challenges organizations face with digital transformation, though. Because of the failure of many organizations to go digital successfully, a new ecosystem of products, services, solutions, and even jobs has emerged.

Several digital transformation-related jobs are now posted on various job sites. Positions like digital transformation intern, digital transformation specialist, digital transformation analyst, DX business analyst, DX consultant, and digital transformation leader can be seen in job boards.

Companies and learning institutions are also offering digital transformation training programs or courses. As it becomes increasingly clear that digital transformation is about people, organizations recognize the need to help employees acclimatize towards full digital adoption. As mentioned in the study earlier, most companies realize that they are failing with their DX strategies. It makes sense for many to consider external help, and many are keen to serve the demand.

Additionally, an online search would reveal several academies, institutes, and even business schools that offer programs on digital transformation. These offerings would not exist without the demand for them.

Existing products and services are also seeing more demand in light of digital transformation endeavors. Some cybersecurity companies, for example, are remarketing or making some augmentations in their products to boost security for organizations that are in the process of digital transformation. Computer shops are seeing requests for bespoke or built-to-order desktop and laptop computers designed to be easier to use for first-time users. Cloud services and SaaS solutions are also becoming more in demand as organizations seek safe, reliable, and maintenance and configuration-free systems for their complex business operations.

Moreover, there are tech products or services that may appear unrelated to digital transformation but are emerging as viable tools for rapid digital transformation. These include artificial intelligence, Big Data, predictive analytics, virtual reality, and the internet of things. Some entities involved in these technologies are developing ways to leverage these technologies in the creation of more effective digital adoption platforms.

The takeaway

The rise of a sub-industry or sub-segment in the tech solutions market because of failures in digital transformation is nothing new. Failures almost always mean opportunities for improvement, which entail the possibility of offering new products and services to help drive success.

The digital transformation sub-industry is not yet that big, and no studies or projections have been undertaken about its size and growth. Still, it is undeniable that a new set of products, services, job positions, training or learning programs, and enhanced solutions, among others, have emerged to meet real needs.

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