Change Management vs. Digital Adoption – What’s the Difference?

Change Management vs. Digital Adoption – What’s the Difference?
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Change management vs. digital adoption – what’s the difference?

Change managers and organizational development professionals probably know that these two terms don’t mean the same thing.

However, what exactly is the difference?

And why does it matter?

Below, we’ll learn why digital adoption is so important to understand, especially for today’s digital-savvy change managers.

Change Management vs. Digital Adoption – The Real Difference…

Change managers, organizational development professionals, and human resources professionals certainly know the definition of change management:

Change management refers to directing, overseeing, administering, and supervising organizational change initiatives.

This organizational change discipline is related to – but distinct from – change leadership.

Change leadership focuses on envisioning and driving change.

Both of these change-related disciplines are necessary for any initiative to succeed.

And, as we’ll soon find out, both disciplines are becoming more and more necessary in today’s evolving workplace.

The modern marketplace is moving faster than ever, and one of the prime drivers behind this change is digital technology.

It’s digital technology that has created the internet, the globalizing economy, and the digital workplace. In this fast-paced world, change has become commonplace.

Constantly, the change manager finds him or herself dealing with digitally-driven changes … which brings us to our next term, digital adoption.

Digital adoption refers to the adoption and implementation of a new software, platform, or tool.

On the surface, such a change may seem insignificant.

After all, you’re just installing new software, right?

However, anyone who has experienced such an adoption, knows full well that such a change can be very transformative and involved.

Digital Adoption vs. Digital Transformation

Before continuing, it’s worth pointing out that “digital transformation” is another term you’ll likely hear these days.

However, digital transformation is different from digital adoption.

Digital transformation refers to the “digitization” (or “digitalization,” depending on who you ask) of an entire business.

As a business becomes more synced with today’s digital economy, digital transformation will have wide-ranging impacts, in such areas as:

  • Work processes
  • Tools and platforms
  • Communications
  • Culture
  • Deliverables, products, and services
  • Customer service and customer care

From this perspective, we see that digital adoption could be considered one part or area of digital transformation.

Digital adoption could refer to the implementation of a single process or platform.

But digital transformation, however, could involve the adoption of many new tools, platforms, or software solutions.

So what does all this have to do with the change manager?

How Digital Adoption Impacts the Workplace

Digital adoption has ripple effects across a business.

Change one aspect, and impacts are sure to be felt elsewhere.

In some cases, these ripples are quite small.

Updating to a new email program may not entail many big organizational changes.

However, implementing a new CRM, a new marketing automation platform, and a new sales automation software suite will certainly have farther-reaching impacts.

Such ripples could be felt by customers, sales staff, marketing staff, and business leaders … at the very least.

Let’s look at a few “ripples” that could result from digital adoption initiatives:

  • New tech means new learning curves. Employees have to learn new software, skills, and workflows –and not everyone looks forward to studying.
  • New workflows means breaking old habits. Unlearning old ways can be just as difficult as learning new skills.
  • Employees may resist change. The above two issues –along with those below –can cause employees to resist change programs.
  • New methods, systems, and workflows can cause cultural changes. A culture shift can mean new attitudes towards customers, work, and the company itself.

Understanding what’s involved with digital changes can help change managers foresee and prevent problems before they start.

Let’s look at one way to prevent digital adoption problems – not to mention increase productivity and employee satisfaction – that’s related to digital adoption.

Digital Adoption Platforms: Change Made Easy

Change management for the digital workplace is ongoing.

And this is why digital adoption platforms (DAPs) have been developed. These are change management software solutions that automate employee onboarding, training, and orientation.

These tools help change managers:

  • Reduce employee resistance
  • Increase productivity, fast
  • Boost the change program’s ROI
  • Cut down on the deployment timeline
  • Shave training costs

And more.

The benefits of such a system should be clear – especially in work environments that are undergoing digital transformation.

Conclusion: Digital Adoption Doesn’t Have to Be a Challenge

Change managers have enough on their plates as it is.

And today, digital transformation has piled even more on top of that workload. Instead of “just” dealing with organizational change, digital technology has been added to the mix.

Fortunately, digital technology has come along to solve its own problems.

Digital adoption platforms help change managers cut away some of the biggest obstacles, such as employee frustration and resistance.

While a change manager’s job is never done, these platforms make their job that much easier.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.