High user adoption rates reflect that your company's software investments are being appropriately leveraged, and ideally show that users are engaging with the system. To determine the effectiveness of the software at your company, you need to know your user adoption rates.
A common method of measuring user adoption rates is analyzing the number of users who log into your system each day, or how many times each user logs in. This method is easy to measure, because it can be automatically collected as a number of hits or system accesses. However, this method only provides you with that specific information. It doesn't tell you how your users are using the system, or whether they're actually using it at all. These results are called quantitative results. They tell you how many users have accessed the system, and how often.
It is possible to have an extremely high quantitative user adoption rate. Perhaps almost all of your users log into the system each day. However, that doesn't mean the users are doing any of their work in the system. They may be continuing old processes, old workflows, or old manual methods rather than engaging with the system. But because your user adoption analysis shows high rates, you might never know that your system is not being leveraged.
To determine how your users are actually using the system, and how helpful it is, you need to obtain qualitative results, which are the real measurement of effective usage and user adoption. These results are more difficult to calculate, because they can't be automatically measured by numbers. Qualitative results are giving you insight into the behavior of your users, as well as their opinions of the software they work with, and their needs and preferences. This type of information must be collected through participant observation or through surveys.
By measuring qualitative results and finding out how your users are actually engaging with your software solution, you can have a more accurate picture of what your users think, and how they work. While high quantitative user adoption rates are exciting, they don't mean much if users are only accessing the system to placate management. Doing qualitative surveys or participant observation gives you meaningful results and lets you know if your users are finding the system helpful.
For more information on achieving high user adoption, download the NexJ whitepaper "Invested Users: How to Maximize User Adoption."