8 Proven Ways to Drive Software Adoption (+ Success Story)

No business wants to lose a good employee.

Be it an executive position or an intern, if retaining an employee is promising for the company, businesses will put at least some effort into keeping them.

Then, let me ask this:

What improves employee retention by 82%?

Good employee onboarding.

And now, take a wild wild guess; what is it that 88% of companies fail to do well?

Good employee onboarding.

We have the problem and the reason why right in front of us. All there is to do is solve the issue.

That’s why today, we’ll be delving into software adoption strategies and unpack the issue one by one.

So let’s dive right into it with the basics.

What is Software Adoption?

Software adoption, often referred to as digital adoption or user adoption, is a business stage where the company decides to adopt new software or service and needs the employees or the people that will be using the said software onboarded. The onboarding process for software adoption can be hard to manage as a potential problem can only be detected in the long term. Still, various digital adoption solutions are available for a top-notch employee onboarding experience.

Why is Software Adoption Important?

Much like customer onboarding and user onboarding, employee onboarding is a crucial concept, especially for B2B businesses. And a big chunk of employee onboarding consists of the adoption of software employees need to use.

But why is the user adoption process so important?

There are three main reasons that make a successful software adoption process a priority.

1- Team alignment is a must

You can’t just get a new product for your team and go, “alrighty, let’s get to it.”

First of all, you need everyone on the same page; the best software won’t work miracles unless everyone who needs to know how to use it knows how to use it.

Secondly, no business goal is ever reached with the effort of a few champions.

If the entire team can’t support business operations, and if the reason why is lack of competence, you need to check what you’ve been doing wrong first.

2- Software use is inevitable

SaaS businesses know best that any business needs a ton of SaaS tools.

And not very surprisingly, according to Businesswire, an average company is now using a whopping 254 applications, each department around 40-60.

This doesn’t just mean that the business processes are evolving in a fast-paced manner but also that there is virtually no way a business can survive without at least a good set of SaaS software.

The game is finally boiled down to the survival of the fittest: you either raise those software adoption rates or watch the others get ahead of you.

3- Education = growth

40% of executives report that the most notable advantage of digital transformation was operational efficiency.

This means that as product adoption among employees rises, so will the efficiency of business processes, and it is easy enough to concur that efficient business can easily lead to growth.

So, the more you educate your employees and increase user adoption rates, the better chances you have at effective growth. 

After all, growth happens when all gives their all.

Now that you know what software adoption is and why it matters, it’s time to talk about software adoption strategies that you can start implementing right away.

Let’s take a look.

8 Essential Software Adoption Strategies

Getting employee buy-in, scheduling continuous training, and managing an entire implementation process can be a tough journey.

Looking at it from the big scope of change management, handling software implementation, and technology adoption is but one step of the employee onboarding experience. 

Still, there are certain ways to use that can guarantee a successful software adoption and employee onboarding process.

Here are my personal top 8 tips and strategies to be mindful of.

1- Be aware of the technology adoption curve

The technology adoption curve might be something you are familiar with.

technology adoption curve digital software adoption strategies

If not, it is basically a bell curve depicting the distribution of employees according to their reaction to change, or in our case, to the employee onboarding process.

We might as well call it the product adoption curve, with categories like:

👉 Innovators – Innovators are likely the people who have proposed you adopt new software, or they are simply enthusiastic to use it. Though they might be small in quantity, they are qualified champions for employee buy-in.

👉 Early Adopters – Early adopters, though not as eager as innovators, are basically the people who would like to use new software. They might not be your strongest champions, but they are among the ones to get the early majority riled up.

👉 Early Majority – The early majority is, as the name suggests, a big part of the people you are adopting, and their main point of view is focused on what might be in it for them. These folks might not be eager to adopt, but they can be convinced with a little push.

👉 Late Majority – The late majority, on the other hand, is a tough crowd who won’t consider adopting the new software until it is a necessity. Though unwilling, they still represent a big part of your adoption audience.

👉 Laggards – Lastly, the laggards are the people who are openly opposing to change. They may want to keep the status quo, but this won’t save them from being the direct target of your inbound champions.

And why do you need to be aware of the product adoption curve?

Simple.

To take precautions ahead of time and to make sure that all adopt the software in a timely manner.

2- Empower innovators & early adopters

Another reason to be aware of the product adoption curve is that it helps companies pinpoint innovators and early adopters, who are their best allies in helping the entire employee base embrace change.

If your innovators and early adopters live up to expectations, their eagerness alone can be a driver of adoption for laggards.

And if not, you still have the people to run and take active participation in training events.

I call it a win-win.

3- Give digital adoption platforms a try

You can always choose to fight fire with fire.

Having trouble getting your employees to adopt a new software? Get another one!

All jokes aside, a digital onboarding platform might be exactly what you need to hand-hold your employees in their journey to the unknown.

And I’ve got just the thing for you 😎

Guide Employees Now with UserGuiding Now 🚀

At one point in my life, I had to do employee onboarding tasks, and let me tell you; I know the struggle.

I had two juniors who needed to learn about ClickUp, our go-to project management tool back then, and I had the genius idea (?) of holding a video call with the new hires to show them around the tool.

The entire call took 40 minutes with the questions,  and I thought I did a pretty good job.

Until I woke up and opened my computer the next day. And the other day.

The entire week.

software adoption

I had two new hires at my hands that I onboarded to a software we were using that knew nothing about the software we were using.

Then it occurred to me that I could use the big guns.

I installed our latest Chrome extension, UserGuiding Now, to create a guide for the new hires that they can quickly go through and come back to when they need it.

Now, I can’t show you the exact same guide; you’d find out all our evil plans 😈

But I can show you one I built in 5 minutes (more than enough for a running, breathing onboarding flow with UserGuiding if you ask me)

After creating the onboarding flow that looks a little bit like this:

clickup userguiding now software adoption

All I have to do is go on the UserGuiding Now extension, enter my container ID and container URL, and verify it…

software adoption userguiding now

And my guide is available on my UserGuiding Panel.

userguiding now software adoption

After handling the settings, your interactive guide is ready to share with your software adoption group.

Interested?

Some other things you can do with UserGuiding are:

✅ Interactive guides, tours, and walkthroughs,

✅ Tooltips, hotspots, modals,

✅ User checklists, 

✅ Resource centers, 

✅ NPS surveys and more

All with the power of analytics, user segmentation, and targeting.

👉 Try UserGuiding now, for FREE 👈

4- Include the appropriate teams

Adopting a new software might require the involvement of product teams, support teams, or sales teams in the long term and short term.

In the long term, the software might require two or more teams to collaborate, like how HubSpot is often used by sales and marketing teams synonymously and collaboratively.

Or in the short term, IT support might be required, and the support team might need to be called for support or training.

In any case, it might be for the best to adopt tools with as big groups as possible or through parallel adoption, given that the individual users might actually need to learn about the tool at some point eventually.

5- Don’t disrupt internal workflows

Software adoption sure is important for any business, especially B2B SaaS companies.

But at the same time, times of change should never stall actual business processes and growth. No matter how, where, or when the product adoption journey takes place, it should be scheduled around the most prioritized tasks of relevant teams.

Then again, underestimating the product adoption journey for the sake of keeping performance high on daily tasks might decrease the rate of adoption and its effectiveness.

It’s all about balance and how your employees react.

6- Give quality communication top priority

As the software adoption process continues, it is best to check on employees and see their progress. While at it, you can check for reactions or problems that might have developed later on.

You might even find out that your innovators have turned into laggards and vice versa 👀

In a scenario where the employee base is big and the period of time that the software adoption takes place is long, a quick survey might reveal great insight for the future and for what might still be done in the current adoption process.

7- Expect and resolve potential problems ahead of time

As we also mentioned in the first one of our user adoption strategies, an onboarding process might be a tough one, and it is best to expect some amount of problems.

That is why it is also wise to predict what might happen and take precautions accordingly.

For example, if you know that you will potentially have a large number of laggards, a good precaution is to prepare to communicate the benefits of the new software.

If you think there will be a few early adopters, but they will die down along the process, you can try fitting the training events into a packed schedule to make it interesting for them.

As long as you expect what might come, it is always easy to solve these problems.

8- Create a playbook for continuous success

Our last product adoption strategy for the article is to create a playbook for preserving the success of the adoption process at hand and also for future reference on how to adopt the right way.

This playbook might include anything from your very own product adoption curve with the number of each type of adopter, the problems that arose, a list of digital adoption platforms, tools you’ve used to support software adoption, and whatever you think belongs there.

Adding whether you’ve reached the software adoption end goal might help.

Now that you know how to make software adoption work let’s take a look at an example that actually made it work.

Software Adoption Success Story: RAM

A good success story for successful software adoption is that of RAM.

RAM is a hand-to-hand courier company located in South Africa, and they’re pretty much the top of the market in the courier industry.

Their software adoption journey started when they needed to change their IT systems; luckily, a software of their own that they could teach employees more easily.

But the problem was that there were thousands of employees and hundreds of couriers to teach the new software. 

Moreover, they would be hiring in the future, too, so the solution they would find would have to be fast, effective, and maintainable. 

What they did was take up UserGuiding.

Using the newfound power of a digital adoption platform at hand, they created a fun walkthrough for their employees, explaining the entire system interactively and in a matter of minutes.

ram software adoption
software adoption ram
software adoption success story ram
software adoption example ram success story

Thanks to their wise decision with software adoption, the RAM employees were onboarded in no time.

Read the rest of the success story here 👈

To Wrap It Up…

Software adoption might be a time of distress for your company; even if it’s not visible on the surface level, there will always be employees struggling with it.

The best strategy of all is to always stay in close contact with them to know when they need help and figure out in advance how you can actually help them.

Of course, the second best strategy is to get a good digital adoption platform and fight buy-in resistance once and for all 😎

Once you get the laggards on board, you know you got it.

Good luck!


Frequently Asked Questions


What exactly is software adoption?

Software adoption is a way of onboarding employees and personnel to new technologies and software in order to increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace.


How can you measure software adoption?

To measure software adoption, there are various methods and metrics, one of which is software adoption rate which takes into account the behavior of employees toward the new software, the time spent onboarding and adapting, and the total number of buy-ins.


What’s the quickest way to boost software adoption?

The best way of boosting software adoption is to first make sure you are using the right technology to adopt the new technology. Using a digital adoption platform might take away a lot of concerns.


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Serra Alban

When I realized I won’t be the next Tarantino I found myself as a creative content writer at UserGuiding. I’ve been obsessed with UX design, customer success, and digital adoption ever since. If you could stare at good UX for hours like me don’t hesitate to hit me up on LinkedIn. I might end up dropping too much movie trivia but hey, old habits die hard.