Adoption matters with digital workplace technology implementations, rollouts and strategies. But it's not the "holy grail," or the last stop when measuring success in the digital workplace, experts told CMSWire. After all, thoughtful measurement in the digital workplace is crucial. Wipro Digital’s 2017 digital transformation survey that found half of senior executives feel that their company is not successfully executing against 50 percent of their transformation strategies. The study surveyed 400 senior-level U.S. executives to understand where they are with their digital transformation strategies.

Ken McElrath, founder and CEO of Skuid, said too many organizations are using adoption as the most important and sometimes their only metric. They are not looking a little deeper into the value of what they're getting. Digital workplace metrics should be directly related to the overall KPIs of the organization. “So if you're an inside sales organization," he said, "they should be all measured by are they doing more deals? Are they making more calls? Are they setting up more appointments? Those are KPIs that any organization can understand. And ultimately I think user experience needs to be measured by those very specific KPIs.”

With this in mind, we caught up with experts and practitioners on ways companies should be thinking beyond adoption in the digital workplace.

Think About the User, Business Needs

“There is still a lot of focus on adoption upon the rollout of a digital workplace strategy,” said Kaumil Dalal, director in West Monroe Partners Technology practice and this can be a distraction.

“The benefit realization time frame for some of these initiatives doesn't really kick in until six months after because that's when you truly know what is the true usage and whether the users are truly finding value in the digital workplace. A lot of organizations really tackle these initiatives more as technology rollouts and lose the focus on the user and the business needs.” 

Compare to Consumer Technologies

One way to measure digital workplace success is to compare it against the current state of consumer experiences. Dalal calls this the “consumer experience gap” test, where businesses can see if their tools and strategies in a digital workplace environment measure up to their consumer apps. Do they help employees with work-life balance much like their consumer apps? He says, organizations can survey employees to see where their tools stack up against their personal consumer apps. If the tools don’t help them be more efficient and improve business outcomes, that’s a “huge failure,” according to Dalal.

User value is important, too. Do your users feel like they’re getting value from adopting the new technology? Surveys, focus groups and user experience testing are all great additions to round out your organization’s understanding of how your digital transformation program is doing, said Shaun Slattery, Ph.D., director of consulting at Igloo Software

Related Article: Karl Redenbach: 'User Engagement Is Central to the Success of a Digital Workplace'

Consider a Change Network

West Monroe Partners believes in creating “change network” teams to monitor digital workplace effectiveness. Gordana Radmilovic, senior manager in West Monroe’s technology practice, said this ensures a “holistic and thoughtful change management strategy which encompasses creating a change network.” It’s composed, she said, of people across your entire organization who are seen as influencers. They are involved in the different business functions and can understand the numerous change initiatives that might be underway within the organization. “They can help really make this effort tangible for people and help people to make the most of the digital workplace that's being implemented,” Radmilovic said.

This network of employees convenes monthly or whatever timeframe the organization feels is appropriate. They talk about feedback from the ground up that people are sharing. “They talk about the key topics that should be communicated and messages that will resonate with the organization to ensure individuals are leveraging the platform that was recently launched so that they're seeing the greatest benefit from what's been implemented,” Radmilovic said.

Consider using employee segmentation data analysis much like your marketing department would with customers. Use that data to understand the needs of different parts of the company and apply that to your change network, Radmilovic suggested. “Some organizations do customer segmentation but they're not spending the time to look at their own employee population,” she added. “So we use a lot of the data that we heard qualitatively through surveys and focus groups through interviews. And we then also apply segmentation and an approach to quantitatively getting some specific data that direct us and our change management efforts.”

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: The Hills and Valleys of a Digital Workplace Road Map

Recognize Your Platform’s Analytics Engine

According to Slattery,  that practitioners must understand what analytics are provided to them by their platforms in the digital workplace. What exactly is it measuring?

Build Your Success Measurements

Create a program of success measurement, one that matures and gets refined over time, Slattery said. His team advises beginning with benchmarking and relying on out-of-the-box analytics and simple third-party analytics. These can help validate decision-making from site structure to content strategy. “We encourage organizations to then begin measuring more granularly, for digital workplace components of key lines of business to begin to identify where business value is truly being generated,” Slattery added. “This involves the hard work of correlating adoption or engagement data from digital tools to performance KPIs of the organization.” Are the highest performing sales regions leveraging digital tools more or less effectively? Do we see lower attrition rates among employees who participated in an onboarding process supported by the digital workplace? “It takes resources to do the work to answer these questions — but they can answer them,” Slattery said. 

Focus on Process Efficiencies, Employee Peformance

Laurie Brownson, digital transformation program manager for Framatome, said her company’s digital transformation is focused on process efficiencies and employee performance that result in improved execution both internally and at customer sites. In their services organization, for example, the metrics are a translation of hours saved (from a pre-established measurement system) into soft or hard dollar savings which gets reported on a quarterly basis to management. “We have seen a greater amount of savings when the digital platform is integrated with everyday work processes in a way that eliminates meetings, enables immediate access to information from multiple devices, and allows reuse of information rather than recreating the information in a different format,” Brownson said. “This is a model that we intend to use as we extend these lessons to other work groups.”

Related Article: Dion Hinchcliffe: The Intelligent Digital Workplace Is Coming

Define Adoption for Your Business

What adoption goals can you clarify? Is hitting the homepage enough? How much time on site or what depth of exploration count as adoption? What functionality should participants use? “This begins to draw near another large, important, but too often ill-defined metric — engagement,” Slattery said. He suggested also asking should adoption be measured the same for all users or do you have different goals for different populations? As organizations mature their measurement practices, Slattery added, they can get more specific and draw on increasingly sophisticated ways of leveraging analytics data. “There are many other kinds of measurement that organizations should conduct to track digital transformation success. Most importantly, is there business value? Tying the usage of digital technologies to solve business challenges to business outcomes is critical to validating your approach,” Slattery said. 

Rephael Sweary, president and co-founder of WalkMe, said finding success beyond adoption first starts with your company’s definition of adoption. “I have heard some people defining adoption by having people trained and do something,” Sweary told CMSWire. “My definition of adoption is changing the habit of how they work into a more efficient manner.” Measure how your employees are being more productive; how much they are spending on actually working versus on friction. “If they are spending time learning something, it means that they're not working because they're not there to learn. This is not high school,” Sweary said. “You can measure the time that it takes employees to do certain things and how much they work, and that’s the end goal.”


“The focus for the digital workplace, should be prescriptive without losing any nuance for the detail surrounding the work. Step away from focusing on adoption, and look at the digital workplace with a fresh lens, considering the user experience and mission as your core tenets” wrote Jill Hannemann wrote in her December piece for CMSWire.