Digital Competence for Next Generation Businesses

Advances in Digital technologies are rapid. Digital technologies such as Mobile, Social Media, Cloud Solutions and Analytics have already become the mainstay for businesses. We are already observing a transition into the next version of digital technologies such as Robotics, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence. Businesses too are quick in adoption of these technologies to create a competitive advantage in this opportunistic market. Enterprises now use these technologies in their day to day operations. There is an ever- increasing shortage of employees who have the talent to effectively and efficiently use these digital technologies to perform their tasks. It is imperative that HR creates a competency framework to manage digital competence of employees. Digital competence would be assessed on the two parameters – Technology ompetence and Usage Competence.

We are at a forefront of a revolution led by digital technologies that is causing business disruptions that are continuous, epidemic or opportunistic. Over the last decade we have seen technologies that have got us highly networked, have given us capacity to store massive volumes of data and have provided us with an unimaginable capability to process data that has transformed us from the Information era to the Engagement era. With the adoption of internet, mobile, social media and cloud solutions in mainstream business, we are now moving from the Engagement era to the Experience era where Intelligence is of focus. We now have technologies that can Understand, Interact, Learn and Reason while providing the efficiencies of Automation and economies of scale. With such digital technologies taking the center stage of this revolution, businesses are being challenged to effectively and efficiently use technologies to create the competitive advantage in the market today. 

The challenge here is two-fold. First – to leverage technology, one must first have knowledge of the technology – what is it? What are its functionalities and features? What are its limitations? Next, it is important to know in what context you can use the technology. Hence there is a need for a two-dimensional framework that assesses Digital Competence on the basis of Technology Competence and Usage Competence. 

Digital competence is the set of skills, knowledge and attitudes to enable the confident, creative and critical use of technologies and systems. It is the skill set that enables a person to be a confident digital citizen, to interact and collaborate digitally, to produce work digitally and to be confident in handling data and computational thinking (problem solving). Technology Competence deals with the knowledge of different digital technologies while Usage Competence deals with the conscious use of the technologies to achieve business objectives. 

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