Digital dexterity – powering your own way to digital transformation

If organizations are to adapt more quickly to new challenges, they need something that most of them are currently lacking – digital dexterity. We explain what this involves and why it is a skill that is becoming increasingly important.
June 22, 2023
3 min
Britt Bürgy, Product Management bei tts - knowledge matters Britt Bürgy

Digital transformation – everyone wants it, but only a few have what it takes. A couple of statistics are sufficient to highlight what is probably the biggest dilemma facing organizations at present. While a number of analysts predict that annual investments in new technologies are set to rise to some 1,000 billion U.S. dollars by 2025, the Global Digital Skills Index published by Salesforce in 2022 reveals that around 75 percent of the 23,000 respondents from 19 countries don’t have the resources to acquire the necessary digital skills. Even among Gen Z digital natives, only a third of respondents felt they were “very equipped” for a digital-first job. 

Upskilling or reskilling won’t cut it 

By 2019, upskilling and reskilling had therefore already moved six places up the executive agenda, from ninth to third. The question, though, is whether this focus on upskilling and reskilling will actually achieve the hoped-for breakthrough. In fact, it’s far more likely that organizations will make things too simplistic rather than considering the big picture. A concept that is also gaining ground in German-speaking countries can help – digital dexterity. 

What is digital dexterity?

The term “digital dexterity” refers to the ability and ambition of individuals and organizations alike to adapt rapidly to changing conditions with the help of digital technologies. The reason for its success is that organizations with digital dexterity have an excellent grasp of how to work with data and use technologies as a tool for finding creative solutions to problems. What’s more, these enterprises have a flexible understanding of roles, practice collaborative approaches to work, and are always willing to learn new things and take risks.  

Digital dexterity is becoming ever more important

Especially in uncertain times, the organizations that identify trends faster than the competition and react flexibly to unexpected events are increasingly the ones that come out on top. Digital dexterity makes a significant contribution to this, because it enables the relevant organizations to deploy the necessary digital technologies much more quickly and efficiently than their competitors. For example, an analysis by Gartner revealed that digitally dexterous employees are 3.3 times more likely to complete digitalization projects rapidly and profitably than a workforce with just a moderate level of digital dexterity. 

It goes without saying that staff play a key role. After all, it is they who need to use the new technologies with confidence and adopt agile ways of working. Fortunately, many of the relevant technical skills can be acquired through appropriate training and upskilling. Even if such measures result in a noticeable improvement in the digital skills of individuals, though, this is little more than an initial step on the way to an organization with true digital dexterity. 

Digital dexterity requires an environment with an affinity for technology

In actual fact, digital dexterity isn’t so much about technical skills as about creating an environment with an affinity for technology in which agility develops from the inside out, with staff embracing new technologies and adapting their approach to work of their own accord.  

This calls for the right mindset – one that motivates people to use digital technologies to deliver an enhanced customer experience and better business results (digital adoption). It also requires a corporate culture that rewards creativity and initiative. Only then does an organization with true digital dexterity emerge, where digitally adept individuals can realize their full potential. 

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