One of the inquiries that TSIA is getting more and more frequently from its Education Services(ES) membership is, “How can education services help drive adoption?” To answer this question, let’s start with a definition of adoption. Adoption, in its simplest form, is getting a customer to use the product more, whether it’s a technology product, education product, or both.
The Two Sides of Successful Adoption
As shown in Figure 1, there are a couple of perspectives on adoption: (1) the supplier’s and (2) the customer’s. You, as a supplier, of course want to increase adoption, as the more a product is used, the more likely the customer is to purchase more product, renew a subscription (if the product is a SaaS, cloud-based offer), renew a maintenance contract, and so on. For the customer, adoption enables realizing a better return on the investment and achieving outcomes such as increased efficiencies, improved customer satisfaction, or expense reduction. The other important element in the Perspectives on Adoption diagram, seen in Figure 1, is the adoption arrow showing a gradient from low to high to effective adoption.
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Figure 1: Perspectives on Adoption
In total there are nine “plays” in the education services adoption playbook. Below are four of the nine. The remaining five plays can be found in the full report available for download here. The playbook includes concepts, tools, skills, metrics, processes, and offers that education organizations can employ to help drive adoption.
Play #1: Ask Questions
Referring to the adoption gradient, it is important for education services to understand where on the gradient an individual user is and then to aggregate that information for a company-wide view of adoption. To assess the level of adoption, education services can begin by asking three questions, as shown in Figure 2.
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Figure 2: Adoption Gradient Questions for Education Services
Creating a brief questionnaire that addresses if the product is used, how much of the product is used, and if the product could be used better, provides a means for ES to assess where the learner is on the gradient. The questionnaire can be administered to any new learner as part of the enrollment process. So, whether registering the first time for a multiday course, or purchasing a subscription-based offer and logging in for the first time, the key that unlocks the registration or subscription door is a “profile” that enables ES to understand not just what a learner may know, but where he or she is on the adoption curve. Updating the profile annually ensures that ES keeps a finger on the adoption pulse.
Play #2: Monitor Consumption
While a company may not readily have technology product usage/consumption information, most education services organizations do have education product consumption information, thanks to the learning management system (LMS). As much as the LMS can be a pain point, the upside is that it is a great repository for all sorts of learning information. The following are just some of the data points that an ES organization should be regularly collecting.
- Consumption by user
- Consumption by company
- Consumption by course title
- Number of log-ins to learning portal
- Average length of time in learning portal
- Certifications issued by user
- Number of certifications issued by exam title
Play #3: Report Consumption
A question in the Education Services Benchmark Survey asks the following: “Does education services have a person assigned to follow up with customers regarding their usage of education services offers and/or subscriptions?”[i] The answer to this question is 40% yes and 60% no. Some education services members have stated that they provide an online dashboard that shows consumption, but this is typically at a user level, with no guarantees that the learner is going to review the dashboard. So, while this is a good start, it is not sufficient. A quarterly consumption report showing individual user consumption and aggregated company consumption sent to the primary contact at the customer site begins to paint the usage picture and can serve as a methodology for identifying skill gaps at an organizational level. Closing these skill gaps via education paves the way for increased product usage. Education organizations just need to package consumption reports in an easy-to-read format. Using data visualization tools, such as Tableau, provides this capability.
Play #4: Hire a Skilled Data Analyst
An integral part of adoption is data analytics, particularly for education organizations that want to demonstrate a correlation between learning and product adoption. If education organizations are serious about driving adoption, then a data analyst must be hired. This is not a catch-as-catch-can position. The data analyst role requires an individual who is skilled at data collection, analyses, and application.
For the rest of the plays and a deeper look into these four, please read "Education Services Adoption Playbook: Nine Plays to Help Drive Adoption," and see where your education organization can fill in the gaps and succeed in the New Year!
[i] 2015 Education Services Benchmark Survey, Maria Manning-Chapman.