How to build a compelling DAP business case for your organization
So, you’ve done your homework on digital adoption platforms (DAPs) and figured out that you need one for your business. But while you understand that DAPs can generate real return on investment, key decision makers within your organization may not even know what a DAP is, never mind how it could improve your tech stack.
You’ll therefore need to create a compelling business case to take to the teams that need to sign-off on purchasing new software, sharing your learnings on how a DAP could benefit your business. Luckily, at AppLearn we’ve been working within the digital adoption space for over a decade, helping major global brands like Rolls-Royce, EY and Nissan along the way.
To help you introduce a DAP to your organization, we’ve put together a simple guide to walk you through how to put together a strong business case. It includes tips on what to consider, what data to gather, and how to prepare rollout plans, all broken down into four steps to follow:
- Identify the problem
- Assess possible vendors
- Demonstrate the rollout plan
- Map out associated costs
By following these steps, you’ll be able to demonstrate the true value of a DAP to your team, and why it’s so important for your company to invest in one. Let’s get started.
Step one: Identify the problem
You’ll know the challenges your organization faces when it comes to getting the most out of business applications and software. It’s likely others in your company recognize these too, and probably have firsthand experience of them.
It’s important to address challenges upfront when creating a case to invest in a DAP – to show how the technology can help you unlock improvements within your organization
Of course, each organization’s challenges are unique, but the decision to rollout a DAP can generally fall into one of two categories: proactive or reactive change.
Proactive change usually involves planning for a change that is not yet urgent. You might have a live system that is generally working fine, and people have a decent understanding of how to use it – but you’re not truly getting the most value out of it and using it to its full capabilities. Maybe your company rolled out a new piece of software when you began working from home, but now that you’re adopting a hybrid model, perhaps your team are no longer using it as efficiently as they could.
It’s about optimizing your software, to unlock its full potential and to improve your team’s digital experience. And a DAP can support with this, by identifying key functions or processes that your team require additional guidance on, providing in-app support or helping you to tailor onboarding and training.
Reactive change involves attempting to solve a challenge – perhaps a software rollout plan that’s gone awry or fixing a process that might be causing problems. For example, let’s say you’ve introduced a new CRM system for your sales team, but its functionality is proving very different from the previous system and your team are understandably taking longer to complete certain tasks or flagging more support tickets.
Your sales team will be frustrated, and their productivity will be suffering. Your sales-related performance and data accuracy will also be feeling the strain. A digital adoption platform could provide you with analytics to understand where the most frequent challenges seem to arise in-app. This can be used to shape additional training content, tooltips or specific how-to guides which can then be placed right where they are needed in the CRM system.
The contents, success rate and urgency of your business case should vary according to whether your challenge is proactive or reactive.
Whatever the challenge may be, it’s important to address it upfront when creating a case to invest in a DAP – to show how the technology can help you unlock improvements within your organization – potentially saving time, money and making employees’ lives a little easier. You want your internal stakeholders to be able to truly see the value of a DAP and how it can benefit the business and recognize the need to invest in one.
It’s vital to also agree the scope and goals of the project ahead of time. For example, do you want to reduce support requests? Improve uptake of certain application features? Reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a task? Laying these goals out and how you’ll measure their outputs out in your plan can really help your business case. Here you can outline what you want your DAP to achieve and the benefits it’ll have for your business
Later in the guide, we’ll talk you through some of the metrics you can use to measure DAP success, according to these unique challenges.
You will want to consider:
- What metrics do you have at your disposal, that can be used to measure the success of the DAP after implementation?
- How business critical is the challenge you’re facing – and therefore how quickly do you need to move?
- What is the cost or metric you are looking to affect, and how does this tie back to your business objectives?
Finding the right data to support your case
Gathering the right data will help with outlining the costs, and there are some simple ways you can pull together such metrics. It all depends on your specific problem. Here are some examples of how you could bring the metrics together:
- Put a cost against IT support. Adding a monetary value to your support tickets (i.e., $x per ticket) will help you to put a number on how quickly the costs add up when it comes to the support people need to use specific applications. It can help to uncover the scale of how much unintuitive tech might be costing your business.
- Outline the speed of completing tasks or training overheads. If you have an employee hourly rate, you can calculate overall costs too. Where relevant, you might be able to quantify the costs of customer retention or customer support.
You could also outline some of the metrics that may be slightly more difficult to quantify, but really help to build a strong business case. For example:
- Unintuitive tech that frustrates your team. Our report on The Hidden Cost of Digital Employee Experience found that 1/5 of employees within large businesses are becoming increasingly frustrated with business applications.
- A DAP could help to improve employee productivity and satisfaction: You could gauge satisfaction with specific workplace tools through employee surveys, presented alongside data on how much time people spend using them. It’ll help connect the dots between frustration and loss of productive time. You could even quantify the costs of not incorporating a DAP for the business.
If you gather this level of data, you will paint a picture of the cost and efficiency savings a DAP can achieve. And you don’t have to do this on your own—the right kind of vendor will help you to do this.
For example, at AppLearn we can provide transparent or anonymized customer examples of actions and return on investment. We also have a Business Value Assessment calculator preloaded with industry data that we can complete with you to help make this process super simple. Finding data to support your case doesn’t have to be a complex, time-consuming task if you have the right partner.
While the metrics above can help you establish a baseline, it’s important that you don’t limit your business case to these alone. Consider additional costs – potentially around implementation or technical support. When you’re having conversations with the vendor sales team, they should be discussing these costs and the support they offer in these areas. This will help you gather specific data and analysis that can create a truly compelling business case – we’ll go into this in more detail in the next step.
An excellent way to determine why a DAP might be the best solution for you is to look at third-party resources that show the benefits of the technology. Independent research organizations such as Gartner, Forrester and Everest Group have various resources covering the use cases and ROI potential.
For example, AppLearn have licensed an Everest report on navigating change with technology for better ROI, where Practice Director, Sharath Hari N, made the following observation:
“Emerging technologies are helping organizations to make the most of their digital transformation initiatives.
One such technology is Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs), which organizations can leverage across all change management stages to optimize outcomes.”
Get the full report here for more from Everest Group on how DAPs can help businesses manage software change more efficiently and effectively.
Third-party sources like expert analysts can also help you clarify why a digital adoption platform is the right software category to purchase and may offer some comparisons between vendors. Which leads us to our next step.
Step two: Assess vendors
When you’re putting your business case together, you may need to evaluate multiple DAP vendors. But while cost is always an important consideration, you should also assess vendors based on your organization’s needs, the product on offer and other factors.
Different DAPs offer different levels of in-app support and analytics. Look towards your organization’s goals to decide what features will be the most valuable for you (hint: more features don’t always mean more value).
We know that product features will be important to you and your team, so make sure you consider which ones are your priority. Ask yourself, what separates the must-haves from the optional extras, and can a vendor’s platform provide them?
Core DAP features
In-app guidance: this is the key functionality of a DAP. It supports users in completing specific processes by placing step-by-step guidance directly into workflows. All DAPs will have some form of in-app guidance, but it’s important to establish how advanced and comprehensive this guidance is.
Automation: establish whether the DAP offers automated walkthroughs of the application, requiring minimal input from the user and/or admins.
Surveys and user feedback: some DAPs have the ability to embed surveys and gather valuable insights from users to measure satisfaction.
Announcement and news: DAPs may provide users with up-to-date information about the application and share the news with your employees.
Knowledge management: DAPs may be able to consolidate all materials into one location. Some can even convert in-app guidance into other media formats. This means users can access the relevant information in-app via centralized knowledge portals.
Analytics: DAPs should come with some form of analytics, but there are different levels of insight and approaches to consider. End-user engagement with DAP support is the minimum, but DAPs can also provide a view into software or process performance. Our platform even provides proactive insights into user behavior and potential process pain points.
It’s also important to remember that while many DAP providers are pushing the boundaries of enterprise tech, mobile capabilities and multi-app integrations, this may not be strictly necessary for your business requirements. Make sure you focus on what’s truly going to benefit your organization. Do you need all the features, or will a choice few do most of the heavy lifting?
And while cost is important, the level of in-app support and analytics that different DAPs offer can vary significantly on this basis. Look towards your budget and what features will be the most valuable for your organization. It may seem like you’re saving money initially, but make sure you look at the long-term benefits of different DAPs, especially if internal resource is light. Remember, a product that fits your specific needs will be more valuable than an ‘all-singing, all-dancing’ product.
Remember, though, that product features should not be the sole consideration. You should also consider the type of vendor you work with, and the wraparound services they offer.
Key DAP vendor attributes
Support and services: What wraparound support does your business need, and what level of support do different DAP vendors provide? For example, can they help in deploying the platform, or customizing it to your specific needs? Will they provide training support post-rollout? Does it offer a plug and play approach? Do you require additional advice or implementation support, or are you able to get started with the tools at your disposal?
Internal resources: If you don’t have enough resource internally to manage applications, arrange training, oversee new software rollouts, you may need a DAP partner that offers professional services to get things up and running. This level of support is more than just the product, covering things like the implementation, production of in-app support and analysis required to get your DAP up and running, and unlocking value in your software.
Business size: The larger your business, the more likely you are to encounter complexities – whether it’s requiring applications in multiple languages, or rolling technology out across a variety of roles or locations. Support through a DAP will need to be something more sophisticated to account for these needs, if it is to be tailored to support a variety of translations or location-specific processes.
Additionally, when there are more users, there’s always more data. This may not take more time to analyze, but it will create a potential for more splits of data and insight. Different DAPs come with different costs, features and services.
The size and culture of your team and organization should influence your decision on the best DAP and vendor relationship for you.
Pricing models: Most DAP providers offer custom pricing based on a range of considerations, from number of users to number of applications it will need to overlay. Often the prices of these solutions are based on your unique requirements and tailored specifically to your business. However, some have basic and premium plans with respective feature sets.
Whether you’re looking for a free but time-demanding trial or a managed integration like we offer, the best way to get a clear indication of the overall costs is to get a detailed quote from the vendor.
Types of partnership: The right DAP for your business will obviously have to take costs into consideration. However, it also comes down to the relationship you’re looking for from a DAP vendor. Are you looking for hands-off product access or partner-like support?
As part of your business case, you may want to make sure you pick a vendor that can rise to the challenge you’re looking to solve. Are they willing to speak with your internal teams, to educate, offer advice and support with the rollout of a DAP? If this matters to you, and we think it should, then you need to find out early on.
Product format: DAPs come in various formats. Some are browser-based plug-ins, while others are mobile or desktop apps. Some DAPs are customer-facing, helping your clients move through your applications while others are focused on your internal team’s needs. Here are some of the key functionalities you’ll want to consider when choosing a DAP:
Customer success teams: Some vendors offer a dedicated customer success team, who work day in, day out to support new and existing customers with their DAP projects. They’ll help you make sure your software works for your team on an ongoing basis, leveraging the tech to solve new challenges. Our VP of Customer Success has written a post about this and how working with a customer success team can boost your DAP roll out.
Insights and reporting: When bringing your business case together, make sure you’ve thought about the type of analytics you want from your DAP. Do you just need simple statistics for a specific app, or do you want to go deeper and measure user journeys across processes within an app and across others. Who will benefit from the insights the DAP provides? Is it so you can offer high level insights to senior stakeholders and executives, or will you use the insights to make changes to existing software and processes?
Your executive team may just want to know the bottom-line figures, but they might value in-depth insight into how your team use, adopt and experience technology across the organization. Some DAPs can provide analytics into upstream and downstream applications that might contribute to poor digital employee experience. AppLearn Adopt goes even further, allowing you to proactively optimize the entire workflow, rather than focusing on specific applications or reactive issues.
Analytics like this will reveal opportunities to enhance performance metrics like experience, engagement and milestone completion, and to optimize software and licensing spending based on usage. This allows you to make continual improvements to applications and workflows, saving time and money in the long run, by making your workplace tech more intuitive to use.
Step three: Demonstrate the rollout plan
Once you’ve mapped out how a DAP can solve your organization’s tech challenges, compiled the data and compared the vendors, it’s time to start thinking about how the DAP will be rolled out across your business. Internal stakeholders will want to know that you’ve considered every aspect ahead of time, so put together a plan with all the details you need, including:
- Exact details of timings
- The internal resource you’ll need
- The team members you’d like to be involved
- The training and comms you’ll need to provide
- How you’re factoring in security considerations
These details will differ depending on your organization’s needs and size, but some vendors can support you in putting timing plans together. Vendors may also support with speaking to internal teams and providing training, so make sure you discuss this early in the process.
Outlining how users and administrators will be impacted by the introduction of a DAP is a key part of any plan you put together.
It’s important that you plan for how to communicate with your team why you’re introducing a DAP – so they understand it’s all about getting more value out of the digital tools they use every day. After all, like any software, a DAP can’t reach its full potential without your team knowing the exact purpose behind any behavior changes.
Within the business case, you could outline how you’d approach the internal comms – the key points you need to get across, where you will signpost employees if they have further questions, and the frequency and format of these communications. You’ll also want to outline the training that might be required to get to grips with the DAP, for those who will be involved in the rollout or back-end administration.
Depending on the vendor, modifying the in-app support or leveraging the analytics may be relatively simple or more time-consuming. Either way, you would be wise to consider the associated skills training that should come with this too.
It can be beneficial to bring together different representatives from relevant teams (such as legal, IT and security) early in the process too. This can reduce friction and delays down the line, as affected departments and stakeholders can provide their own perspectives on what matters to them and their teams, and input this into the rollout plans.
And as we mentioned earlier, it’s also important to make sure you have the scope and goals of the project outlined ahead of time. Here you’ll map out exactly what you want your DAP to achieve and the benefits it’ll have for your business.
If you want to find out more about handling a seamless DAP rollout, our VP of Professional Services has put together a guide on how to create an effective software implementation plan.
Step four: Map out associated costs and savings
Outlining the costs and savings of the project is an important part of any business case, and you’ll be unlikely to get sign-off from internal stakeholders without it. As with any other software, DAPs come with costs associated with platform maintenance and infrastructure, there are some additional costs you should factor into your business case. These include:
Implementation costs: Implementing a DAP may require collaboration between you and your vendor’s teams. You can work together to build step-by-step guidance that’s tailored to your organization’s needs. However, these services may have a cost attached, so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of the additional expertise. This may be an opportunity to revisit the current costs that build up when you’re not making use of a DAP and compare the two.
The cost of infrastructure, documentation, communications and training: Are these included as part of your DAP purchase or do you need to budget/allow time to create your own? How much time and money will you need to spend on training to use a DAP, for example?
The return on investment that a DAP could deliver: If you’ve already worked out how much not having a DAP costs you year-on-year, you can balance that against the costs of the platform. A good return on investment will always make your business case more compelling. In fact, Interfor saved over $200,000 in just nine months using our DAP, Adopt. Savings like this show just how much of a rapid return on investment a DAP can provide.
Vendor cost comparisons: As we mentioned earlier, overall costs are not the be all and end all. However, comparisons of cost vs features can help you build your business case because it outlines the value for money you’ll get.
Software licensing savings: As a DAP offers you better transparency into the usage of applications, you’ll be sure you’re using them to their full potential. This means you can cut down on other software that you don’t need, saving you costs on unnecessary licensing fees.
IT support savings: DAPs can provide in-app guidance and streamlined support for users, meaning they are likely to need less help and support from the IT team to complete certain tasks. For example, we helped King’s College London reduce admin approval time by 66%.
Presenting all these costs and savings to your internal stakeholders helps to create a solid business case – and shows the scale of the savings a DAP can bring.
A comprehensive business case is key to getting your DAP journey started. In this guide, we’ve laid out the steps you’ll need to take when creating this case for a DAP, but
It’s important to remember that vendors – like us here at AppLearn – can support you in gathering the relevant information to make sure you’re in the best position to move forward. This includes identifying the problem and working out exactly how a DAP can solve it. We can also help you gather DAP product information and costs, useful to present back to your team.
Ready to get your business case together? We’re here to help. And maybe we’re biased, but we think you should include our DAP offering, Adopt, in your business case. We’re here to answer any questions you have, so if you’re not already speaking with a member of our team you can get in touch for a demo of our product or request a quote.