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What is Digital Dexterity and Why is it Important?

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Every year, thousands of companies initiate their Digital Transformation efforts, and each year a few of them die. What makes these companies fail? The lack of communication, collaboration but most concerning of all employee resistance.

Employee resistance occurs due to two reasons – a lack of interest in change from employees and a lack of encouragement from employers. The latter plays a bigger role in the resistance.

As surprising as it may sound, these seemingly simple aspects could lead an entire organization’s transformation efforts to failure.

If you’re looking to overcome potential disasters in your transformational efforts, it might be wise to learn about Digital Dexterity.

In most organizations, Digital Transformation initiatives are always an ongoing process. According to IDG, 89% of businesses are digitally abled and always evolving.

This leads organizations to revisit their structure, tools, and strategy on a regular basis to stay relevant in their respective industries.

Business leaders must design a long-lasting plan to steer through change. In order to do that, a high level of Digital Dexterity is essential for an organization to withstand the ever-changing environment.

In this post, we’re going to cover:

What is Digital Dexterity?

Digital Dexterity is a state where an organization’s employees are independent and hence are able, agile, adept, and effective to embrace any existing or emerging technology for better business outcomes.

Now that we have defined the concept of Digital Dexterity, let’s try and understand it better by drilling down on how it benefits your organization.

What are the Benefits?

  • It helps organizations align their business strategy, train their employees, create a better solution for the customers, prepare for digital disruption and streamline business goals.
  • The goal of Digital Dexterity is to make an organization agile and adaptable towards any cultural and technological changes.
  • According to Gartner DD enables employee autonomy and consumerized technology.
  • It gives employees the confidence to be a part of the organization’s future by proactively updating themselves regularly to match organizational demands effortlessly.

Why Digital Dexterity (DD) is a must-have?

Technology is growing and changing at a rapid rate. While some companies find it difficult to cope with the change some others proactively develop their infrastructure well in advance, to sustain the upcoming changes.

The difference is DD.

For example:- Apple pushed the barriers and gave their customers an experience that no other player in the market was able to provide. It took over 5 years for many companies to catch up with Apple while many companies like Nokia and Blackberry lost the market share and eventually died.

The reason behind it is DD.

As technological advancements are drastic the rise & the fall of companies are occurring at the same speed. Organizations often find it difficult to pivot in the middle of any execution. The reason is the lack of Digital Dexterity.

So, it becomes important for businesses to ingrain DD in their organization DNA for the following reason:-

  • Advanced tools are used in growing organizations and especially with the advent of SaaS-based solutions, the market is filled with groundbreaking technology. Having an open mindset and technological aptitude will help businesses boost their ROI.
  • As we speak 91% of organizations are moving towards being fully digital, which indicates that the workforce must be digitally abled and efficient.
  • Many important aspects like business processes, strategies, user experience, and onboarding associated with businesses are, or will be, directly related to the efficiency and capabilities of an organization and its workforce.

Even though we have listed why Digital Dexterity is necessary, it is up to you to decide on how to go about it as different organizations have different goals.

Who owns Digital Dexterity?

An organization as a whole should own Digital Dexterity. It’s not just the obligation of the HR and IT team to look after it.

Yes, DD is related to people and technology but it is not the sole accountability of a particular team to look after it.

All they can do is enable the necessary tools that are required for DD but eventually, it is up to individual departments, managers, and personnel to incorporate DD into their daily life.

Why do some Organizations Lack Digital Dexterity? 

A. Lack of Leadership: 

We have already discussed that there is not a single owner to enable DD, but that doesn’t mean that an organization doesn’t need any leadership to inspire Digital Dexterity.

Leadership within the team and at the top is essential as it can encourage and promote DD throughout the organization.

If the leadership feels otherwise and dismisses the idea of DD, then the company will struggle to cope with industrial trends and take the competition head-on.

B. Absence of Vision: 

Many businesses understand the importance of DD but fail to define what it is and how they will approach it. When there is no proper vision and roadmap in place, it becomes difficult to execute and meet the expected result. 

C. Resisting Mindset: 

Employees sometimes resist the idea of DD which could hamper the organization’s goal of achieving better business outcomes. If employees resist, then there is a very high chance that your organization might fail while adopting new technology and process. It is necessary to make them realize the value of Digital dexterity and the positive impact it could have. 

Related Read: DAP simplifies digital enablement strategy

8 Key aspects for enabling Digital Dexterity

There are key aspects that an employee must possess and others capabilities that have to be provided by the organization to sustain Digital Dexterity.

Here are 8 key aspects that any organization must incorporate:-

1. Define your goals and envision the future

It is a must for companies to define goals and objectives before moving in this direction. Every company has a different objective and the “Why” would help you to draw a roadmap.

Further, the “Why” should not be limited to the objectives but should help you to design the long-term goals.

It can be achieved by analyzing the current market trends, competition, and other factors that affect your business. Introspection is also essential as it will help you to understand the gap in the processes, technology, and skills that might be required with the latest transformational efforts.

2. Ensuring Clear Mindset

From an organization’s standpoint, a clear mindset is a fusion of having a clear digital and personal clarity. If an organization wants to have a successful transformation, Digital Adoption must be its priority. But to enable it, the organization must act as a single unit and should be in a state of Digital Dexterity.

In order to achieve DD, the HR, Team Leaders, Managers, and C-suite executives should encourage their employees and create awareness by showing the benefits of being in the DD mode.

It will help employees to overcome their mental blocks and drive them towards developing a better mindset on a personal level.

On accomplishing this, businesses must focus on developing a mindset where each and every employee has a natural inclination towards data and relevant digital solutions to boost their productivity, creativity, and customer experience.

An organization with an ideal attitude would be able to harness a lot from the deployed solutions. Further, they could always think of switching to better technology at any given point in time to reap maximum rewards.

Once the fusion of mindset is successful, organizations can innovate, re-invent, change, and implement new processes to stay ahead of the curve.

3. Receptive State

Change is a continuous process and so is Digital Dexterity. Technology changes all the time and several businesses are always looking to adopt new technology. But did you know that 70% of all transformation efforts fail because of employee resistance?

Even if employees have a clear mindset, sometimes too many changes could overwhelm them. It eventually creates a problem in the later stage as they will not be receptive to change.

It’s like being blindfolded and shooting a moving bob. The better solution would be to deploy a Digital Adoption Platform like Apty which can cope up with drastic transformation across organizations seamlessly.

It helps your employee to adopt any deployed application flawlessly. It saves time for the deployment and reduces dependencies.

4. Developing a flair for Digital Dexterity

Many businesses are being digitized, but there is a significant difference in achieving digital ability and Digital Dexterity. The difference lies in how well you’ve developed the flair for DD.

An organization with collaboration, communication, and a data-driven approach tends to be more successful than the ones which do not take this approach.

Collaboration and Communication:-

It is paramount to overcome silos and work together as one unified unit. The organization has to have better collaboration and communication in place to drive better transformational efforts.

Collaboration among all departments and employees – be it HR, Marketing, Sales, IT, Testing, Finance, Operations, or Services- is necessary for success. It enables people to communicate ideas freely and in a better way. It further helps to push the latest solutions and technology easily across geographies, departments without any resistance.


It is essential to be data-savvy in this rapidly changing world. Employees must be comfortable to draw insights from the available data to make crucial decisions. Investing in the most state-of-the-art software is futile unless you use it to its fullest then. So it is equally important to leverage your software to its maximum capacity.

Having a collaborative and data-oriented environment will create a culture of knowledge sharing and flexibility.

5. Flexibility and Agility

We already know what trait makes an organization stand out but few other traits are essential to achieve Digital Dexterity.

Agility and flexibility are also important for an organization to achieve DD.

Trends change all the time and having an agile approach throughout the organization will pave way for a lot of possibilities. They could pivot back if the initiated process is not suitable for a particular department or trend changes.

Developing an agile mindset in the business process, technological initiatives and cultural change will make any business competitive and a leader in their domain, provided they are consistent with their approach.

6. Higher Engagement and Digital tools

Once the approach and mindset are sorted businesses must focus on developing a higher engagement rate with the newly rolled out technology.

It is crucial for companies to make their employees engage with the latest application over a period of time to reap maximum rewards.

But for that to happen organizations must focus on training their employees efficiently. There are many traditional methods like:-

  • Classroom training
  • Live-online training
  • Pre-Recorded sessions
  • LMS
  • PDF
  • PPT

These methods are good and should be incorporated but they should be complemented with modern Digital Adoption Solutions.

As it consumes less time and guides employees inside the application from one step to the other. Since it is an in-app guidance solution it acts as ready to use guide and repository of information.

7. Digital Talent

A recent survey conducted by Capgemini found that more than 77% of companies feel that a lack of digital skills contributes to the failure of their digital business transformation.

It is a serious concern that modern businesses have and finding the right digital talent could be a herculean task.

The fact of the matter is that if the talent gap is so big then the ideal approach would be to train the new and existing talent to match the organizational and industry demands.

But the biggest roadblock, in this case, is to understand how the employee uses the application and what is their progress post the provided training.

In this case, drawing insights is essential to map the progress of employees and to analyze the issues with the application.

Tools like Apty help you to draw Application and Walkthrough insights. Application insights help to get an idea of how the application is being used and where the real issues are in the application and how the application is being utilized by the user.

8. On-demand Training

Employees, Partners, and Customers may become digitally-abled but they might face some issues every now and then.

The journey of becoming dexterous could get hampered if the user does not feel confident with change and is satisfied with the provided solution. The better way to counter this is to make the user feel secured and able at all times by reducing dependencies.

It can be achieved by having a solution that sits right in the application at all times and guides, the users as and when they require.

These are generally in-app guidance tool that acts as an interactive-knowledge-base. It provides users with walkthroughs, necessary documentation (In any format), videos, and knowledge base links.

Further, these tools can be customized for each job function for a better user experience.

What are the benefits of Digital Dexterity?

Achieving a state of Digital Dexterity is difficult. But once it is achieved, the organization can enjoy numerous benefits, like:

  • Higher Productivity:- The user becomes more productive as they can utilize the application at its fullest.
  • Enhanced Efficiency:- The efficiency of the users is improved as they can accomplish the same task in less time
  • Complete Agility:- Dexterous employees are more inclined to adapt to any new roles and responsibilities which could open a lot of possibilities for a company.
  • Advanced Risk Appetite:- Appetite for risk increases once employees get into DD mode and understand the benefits of it.
  • Better Digital Adoption:- It also boosts the digital adoption rate as employees and other users are capable as they have attained DD.

Digital Dexterity, in a nutshell…

Digital Dexterity requires leaders to take initiatives and encourage employees to break barriers by having a futuristic mindset. While technological aptitude is essential, the right attitude to drive and adopt digital technology and change is a must.

Communication, collaboration, data, insights, talent management, skill development, and training are essential aspects of Digital Dexterity to create an organization-wide impact.

A strong foundation is necessary prior to any initiatives and this case has to be laid down by HR, IT, and team leads.

Developing Digital Dexterity need not be difficult with the advent of Modern Digital Adoption Solutions like Apty.  Apty has helped several Fortune 500 Companies achieve a high level of dexterity in a matter of a few weeks.

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Krishnan Kaushik V

Krishnan Kaushik V

Krishnan is a Marketer and Content Crafter. He has an in-depth understanding of Digital Adoption, Transformation, and Enterprise applications that helps business to generate business outcomes. In his former life, he was an IIoT & Automation engineer. You can find him trying new recipes, riding a bike, and wondering about the most complex object on the face of the earth i.e Human Brain.

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