Every aspect of our lives and work is slowly getting at least some form of digital addition. Digital transformation is a thing and it’s here to stay. That’s what you’ll hear and read pretty much everywhere where there’s something IT related.

And there are lots of examples of that. From the small stories how people jumpstart a shop for flowers via a Facebook page, some ads and eventually an app. To the big corporations which reform entire departments and free people from doing tedious, repetitive tasks, which are automated, and letting them focus on true work that drives the organization forward.

But, digital transformation is a very broad theme. And because it’s so broad, people and companies often have different ideas and understandings of what qualifies as digital transformation. Sadly, sometimes they think a lot less of what actually is needed for true digital transformation.

And sometimes this actually is valid for entire countries. During a House of Lords debate, Martha Lane Fox claimed the UK has been “sleepwalking” through digital change and urged for more to be done to promote “digital understanding”, ComputerWeekly reported. The same could be also said for the EU as a whole. While the European Commission does work on several digital strategies and sets them in motion, actual progress is very slow. The EU for example lags far behind the US and China in fintech and more than 80% of EUs fintech business is actually in the UK.

So, while the EU might be very up-to-date with what is needed, the actual progress is glacier slow. This also qualifies as “sleepwalking” through the digital disruption. It shows a serious underestimation of how things are actually happening in the digital world and age. And it has a direct effect on you and your business. The slow progression means less options. It also means less effort in education to create skilled workers who fit the new needs. This further leads to the digital skills gap expansion and so on.

It’s about understanding

So, are you or your company sleepwalking through the digital disruption? Are you missing out and not doing enough? The way to find out is to first achieve what Lane fox and her peers dub “digital understanding”. This is not to be confused with digital skills.

In short, digital understanding means to “know” technologies. This means not only to know how to use them, but to be able to understand the risks, the need for proper cyber security, to be in touch with what’s going on in the tech world and the possible results from that.

“Nearly all UK internet users have the digital skills to use a search engine, but only half know how to distinguish between search results and adverts. More than 1.4 million of us work in tech-related jobs, but as the recent WannaCry attack showed us, hardly anyone is investing the time, resources or expertise to keep our systems safe. This list could go on forever”, Lane Fox says.

These are the same people that work for you in your company. They need this digital understanding and then you can build on it with the right trainings to hone even better digital skills. This way people will know better what to look for and how to apply their skills. And this is where the real results come.

You too need to know if you have your digital understanding in place. Otherwise you may be focusing on the wrong part of your digital transformation. And while t’s not the end of the world if you get some of it wrong, you do want t be on time and not spend time and effort on the wrong thing, right?

 

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