Driving digital dexterity - the top 7 areas to address

Digital dexterity plays a pivotal role in determining how quickly an organization adapts to changes. Although fostering this key competence isn’t totally straightforward, you will succeed if you set the right course and have the necessary staying power.
January 11, 2024
5 min

Digital dexterity is one of the most important prerequisites for an organization’s successful digital transformation. However, taking targeted action to establish digital dexterity is a complex process that involves a number of challenges. After all, any organization looking to boost digital dexterity must take a multi-pronged approach, especially when it comes to the corporate culture. 

Digital dexterity as an organization-wide initiative

If digital dexterity is to be achieved, a change process must take place at the interface between culture and technology. The somewhat unusual nature of this task calls for close collaboration between experts and decision-makers from a variety of departments. Based on a shared understanding of methods, measures and both operational and strategic goals, this collaboration must often first be established. What’s more, sufficient resources must be available so that staff can also develop their digital skills and keep these up to date. 

Digital dexterity – the seven most important areas to address

Once the foundation has been laid, there are numerous options for driving digital dexterity. Essentially, the seven areas to address are as follows: 

1. Establishing digital adoption 

Digital adoption is now seen as the silver bullet for organizations looking to get their workforce to accept and actively support digitally driven changes. Strategically embedded into the change process, digital adoption helps staff understand why changes are necessary and recognize the hidden potential offered by new technologies. That has a direct impact on the entire organization’s digital dexterity. 

2. Reducing digital friction 

Digital friction occurs whenever staff have to interrupt their productive work because the application they are using isn’t functioning as expected or an inflexible, outdated technology is preventing intuitive operation. To establish digital dexterity, it’s therefore essential to identify and eliminate friction of this kind. Countless options are available – from providing a single sign-on and implementing cloud-based collaboration tools to an AI-supported meeting tool.  

3. Defining user-friendly processes  

Unnecessarily complicated processes result in a high training outlay and are detrimental to digital dexterity. Consequently, it’s vital for the IT department to create smooth end-to-end processes that are easy to learn and simple to use. Another targeted way of ensuring more user-friendly operation is to test processes – before future users get involved, for instance – and check their practicability.  

4. Using a digital adoption platform 

Using a digital adoption platform (DAP) helps build digital dexterity, too. A platform of this kind helps staff with any questions they may have about the new applications, processes and regulations – directly in the workplace. In this way, reservations about the digital transformation are overcome, digital skills are acquired and a willingness to embrace self-organized learning is promoted. At the same time, a DAP reduces digital friction and relieves the strain on staff assuming the role of mentors.  

5. Offering development incentives 

The workforce should be encouraged to acquire new digital skills – either by their line managers, for example, or through an internal job description. Having the opportunity to climb the career ladder or benefit personally in some other way makes them more motivated to be proactive when it comes to digital upskilling. Development incentives therefore make a key contribution to digital dexterity. 

6. Appointing mentors 

A mentoring program offers on-site assistance and learning opportunities. In every department, experienced staff help their colleagues by acting as mentors. This gives learners direct access to specialists who are familiar with their day-to-day work and can offer expert digital advice and support, which encourages the growth of digital dexterity in everyday working life on an ongoing basis. 

7. Identifying the expertise required  

The digital transformation is changing the way knowledge is organized and necessitating new roles – from change agent and data analyst to customer experience manager. What digital skills do individual staff require for these roles, though? Traditionally, this is a question for HR. Given the complexity of internal changes, however, it may be necessary for IT users and HR to join forces. Together, they can come up with an answer that factors in strategic, user-specific and technological aspects and encourages digital dexterity. 

Digital dexterity is an ongoing process

The progress an organization has already made with digital dexterity determines the particularly relevant areas to address. It’s advisable to start with the areas that promise the most – and perhaps also the quickest – success, and then build on these. After all, digital dexterity calls for staying power. Even with the appropriate tools and the right basic attitude, it takes a while before the corporate and learning culture changes to any significant extent. 

Digital dexterity requires management support

It’s therefore all the more important for management staff to recognize the opportunities and potential associated with a high level of digital dexterity. They themselves must spearhead the transformation and take the necessary action to become more digitally adept. This may also involve reorganizing responsibilities and areas of competence, as illustrated by our interview about the issue.  

The effort and investments definitely pay off. Just a quick glance at the benefits that can be achieved shows the potential of a strategy to establish digital dexterity – potential that is too great to simply ignore.  

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