Companies that Rapidly Adopt New Software Lead the Competition, Shows New Report By Harvard Business Review Analytic Services

Pendo-sponsored report also reveals that less than one third of executives rate their organization highly effective at driving adoption of employee-facing software.

Pendo, a company that provides software that makes software better, today released sponsored research conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services that finds rapid software adoption to be a priority and competitive differentiator for the majority of executives. And yet, companies struggle to drive adoption of employee-facing software — just 30% of executives rate their organization as highly effective at ensuring their employees know how to use the software required to do their jobs.

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“Transformation isn’t only about adopting new technology for the enterprise. To achieve the quickest and biggest impact, it requires that the people throughout the enterprise are adopters, too,” said Alex Clemente, managing director for Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

The report, titled Driving Digital Adoption for a Competitive Edge, includes insights from 638 organizational leaders at companies ranging in size from 200 to tens of thousands of employees and spanning industries and global locations. The report comes as companies face the dual challenge of ensuring employee productivity as hybrid and remote work become the norm, and keeping employees happy and engaged in an increasingly hot job market. Organizations also invested heavily in digital transformation and need to ensure employees adopt the software they’ve implemented.

“Now more than ever, companies rely on software to realize key business outcomes. Yet these outcomes depend on how well employees use the tools provided for them,” said Tatyana Mamut, senior vice president of new products at Pendo, in the report. “We hope this research inspires companies to look at their organizational systems and structures to ensure they’re set up for a successful digital transformation.”

Below are four key insights from the report.

Digital adoption is top of mind for the majority of executives. 89% of survey respondents say driving adoption of employee-facing software is a moderate to high priority, and almost 75% deem successful adoption a competitive differentiator for their business. Executives also recognize the link between happy employees and happy customers. A vast majority – 86% – agree that it’s impossible to provide a great customer experience without also providing a great employee experience.

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Employee experience suffers when software is hard to use. Some of today’s most critical core systems are sources of frustration for employees, the report finds – 39% of respondents rate ERP systems difficult to use, followed by HCM (29%) and CRM (25%). Software training plays an important role in addressing this issue. About half of survey respondents strongly agree that employee experience suffers in the absence of effective software training, and 72% plan to increase investment in training over the next two years.

Employee feedback is critical for improving the employee experience, but hybrid work makes gathering feedback more challenging. 59% of leaders cite employee feedback as a metric for measuring the impact of initiatives designed to drive the adoption of employee-facing solutions. Yet almost half of organizations rate their ability to collect employee feedback on how they use their software tools as weak. The report calls out the rise of hybrid work as an impeding factor to the already challenging task of gathering employee feedback.

IT is responsible for driving digital adoption…for now. Respondents overwhelmingly point to IT as the department responsible for digital adoption today, although leaders believe responsibility should be shared. The report suggests a coming rise in job titles focused on digital adoption. These new positions will help orchestrate a cross-functional team responsible for ensuring software adoption across their respective departments and teams.

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