Digital dexterity is essential to creating highly scalable mission capabilities and usable technology. Harvard Business Review (HBR) and Gartner report having high digital dexterity increases the likelihood of successful digital transformation by over threefold – 3.3 times exactly. Venkatapathi Puvvada (PV), NetImpact CEO, shares pragmatic best practices for developing digital dexterity to give federal agencies that multiplier advantage.
Our world is littered with a myriad of stove-piped digital tools, but you can pivot to reduce digital friction and build digital savvy skills, here is how.
As organizations embark on their digital transformation journey to significantly enhance ability to leverage digital technologies and aspire to deliver better results and mission outcomes, they face challenges in enabling employees with the needed agility and skills to take advantage of their entire digital ecosystem. Most often digital transformation roadmaps and initiatives focus on a hefty catalog comprised of tools driven by latest technology trends or purely IT-led mandates rather than the end goal of achieving desired mission outcomes more effectively and efficiently. As a result, these efforts do not have what should be naturally “built-in” capabilities such as relevant digital skills and ease of user's ability to productively consume digital tools and simplified processes. These challenges are more pronounced within government agencies who have unique and complex missions as well as an institutionally impaired ability to attract and retain top digital talent.
Popularized by Gartner and other leading industry leaders, Digital Dexterity is essentially defined as “a core employee cognitive ability and social practice that will define digital business success”.
Organizations can make breakthrough progress in improving their “Digital Readiness” by adopting the concept of Digital Dexterity. This concept is no different from the manual or mental dexterity that we need to be successful in our tradecraft or in navigating our daily lives.
Gartner cites that digitally dexterous employees and organizations are 3.3 times more likely to launch, complete, and succeed in digital transformation initiatives.
Regardless of whether you are a knowledge worker, services professional, auto mechanic, surgeon, artist, or even Twitch Streamer; you need dexterity and skill in using your hands and mind to operate the tools of your trade. Similarly, without digital dexterity, organizations will not be able to maximize the use of digital technologies and inspire employees to achieve meaningful outcomes for their missions. Digitally savvy employees can find new and creative ways to eliminate toil in the business processes that they operate so that their valuable time is preserved to apply human intelligence to tasks that matter.
At NetImpact, we are passionate about enabling Digital Dexterity for our clients. We believe organizations must set deliberate focus and thoughtful commitment in order to create an environment digital dexterity requires to thrive. You can craft your digital dexterity journey with these five practical techniques and best practices.
Start with a study of your current employee digital readiness and dexterity by critically examining your inventory of the most impactful digital tools and how well these tools serve the workforce. This assessment should help baseline the critical success factors and quantifiable measures, which must then be validated by user surveys and user sentiment. Once you have an assessment of the true current state, you can focus on closing the gaps and designing a maturity model that is appropriate for your organization.
It is important to align your future goals that matter most to your organization's digital strategy with the overall business/mission strategy in addition to desired workforce capabilities. Your digital dexterity goals must consider the specific needs of the employee population's various role-based personas. This exercise will help prioritize the competencies and skills to focus on while revealing what core systems and processes of your digital transformation initiatives have immediate importance to digital dexterity enablement.
To observe the criticality of beginning with a digital architecture conducive to a dexterous future, think about this: Does anyone need a user guide for iPhone?
Would the iPhone have taken off like a rocket in 2007 if Steve Jobs did not insist on simple and super intuitive user experience? Can you imagine the Sisyphean task of delivering the convenience and simplicity we're now accustomed to if Jobs did not obstinately demand a mobile digital architecture that does not try to cram-in lots of functions that don't matter to users?
It is too late to think about enabling digital dexterity and building a digitally savvy workforce at the time system deployment. Digital dexterity must be an integral part and scope of your architectural design. All parts and layers of your enterprise architecture - from user interface to application to data to infrastructure - must include specific definition and standards on how each part enables digital agility, simplification, and ease of use for the whole.
The best way to institutionalize digital readiness is by prioritizing the weightage and importance of digital dexterity goals within your business cases of your digital transformation and modernization projects. These goals should include factors that are more likely to enhance the value proposition and provide compelling return on investment as it relates to digital dexterity and increased employee effectiveness in their roles. This approach will ensure a broader buy-in, stronger user adoption, and higher readiness to embrace change with new ways of performing work and delivering services.
The biggest derailer to digital readiness is the friction created by conflicting and overlapping digital tools and functions that are typically designed and deployed by teams with “legacy” analog mind-set and digital isolation. Employees are frustrated by using tools that do not talk to each other in a way they expect; or they are forced to enter data again and again and again; or they are forced unnaturally to switch between different tools to complete a single business function. Digital modernizations teams need to deliberately validate via several digitally dexterous use cases that their tools and systems enable seamless integration and communication not only on the “front end,” but also on the “back end.” While it is appropriate to roll out “de-centralized” or “agile” capabilities, these solutions must be designed to be connected and contextual, not become stovepipes.
NetImpact understands that high digital dexterity protects our workforce's most precious resources: time and attention. By providing our employees the right integrated toolset to be successful and maximizing their ability to use them, we allow people to perform their duties more easily so they can focus on their crafts.
NetImpact has the most comprehensive approach to accelerating our clients' digital dexterity journey. We intelligently apply our DX360°® solutions and products that are anchored by our “Digital Ready” PlatformFirst® technology approach.
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NetImpact Strategies, Inc. (NetImpact) is a digital transformation disruptor solving today's challenges for our clients while readying them to capitalize on tomorrow's opportunities.
NetImpact partners with customer agencies to deliver high-performance, secure digital solutions to transform operations and accelerate mission outcomes. Our comprehensive Digital Transformation 360°™ (DX360°®) capabilities empower our clients in harnessing technology to bring their strategic vision to reality and achieve impactful and lasting value.