The digital gap is becoming more pronounced in today’s workplace, leaving a marked separation between employees and their tools.
Also called the digital skills gap, this term refers to the gap between tools’ capabilities and employees’ actual skill levels.
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This digital gap is a serious problem for many organizations, as we’ll discover in this article.
What the Digital Gap Is and Why It Matters
First and foremost, we should define the digital skills gap in greater detail.
Here are a number of trends that are influencing the digital gap:
- Digital innovation and disruption. Technological innovation is spurring massive changes across the digital economy. These changes, or disruptions, are creating a slew of business opportunities – as well as challenges. One of the consequences of this continual innovation is digital transformation.
- Digital transformation. Digital transformation is a type of organizational change that is fueled by technology. Though technology and innovation drive these changes, they depend heavily on employees. After all, if employees lack skills or motivation, then digital change efforts will be unlikely to succeed.
- Digital adoption. Digital adoption (see below) focuses on fully integrating digital tools into their environment. An effective digital adoption program produces employees that are more proficient, engaged, and productive. As we will discover later, digital adoption is an important way to reduce the digital skills gap.
- The digital gap. For the modern employee, keeping pace with technological changes can be quite the challenge. This gap between workers and their tools continues to grow each day, since technology is rapidly outpacing the abilities of the workforce.
The problems resulting from the digital gap can be very problematic for businesses, resulting in…
- Poor employee performance and productivity. One natural result of the digital skills gap is inadequate performance. Employees are not always to blame, however. In many cases, the gap occurs because employee training mechanisms have yet to catch up with the state of the digital workplace.
- Low software ROI. Software ROI depends directly on employee productivity. The smaller the digital gap, the more productive employees will be and the greater the returns on the software platform.
- Inability to innovate. Innovation can only occur when employees are fluent with their tools. As proficiency levels decrease, so does an organization’s ability to innovate, change, and evolve in the marketplace.
These issues have become more and more pressing for the modern enterprise, as a number of studies have revealed.
How to Close the Digital Gap with a Digital Adoption Strategy
The digital gap can be addressed and even eliminated – with the right digital adoption strategy.
A digital adoption strategy doesn’t simply focus on implementing new digital tools, it focuses on fully utilizing that software.
Among other things, a digital adoption strategy emphasizes areas such as:
- Maximizing software utilization and ROI. Software is only valuable to the extent that it is utilized. If a workforce only uses half of a platform’s features, for instance, then the organization will only be realizing a portion of that tool’s potential value. For this reason, software utilization should be a central aim of every digital adoption strategy.
- Improving employee proficiency and productivity. Employee productivity and software utilization depend on skill levels – that is, on reducing the digital gap. For this reason, improving digital skills should be a main aim for digital adoption efforts.
- Streamlining the digital workplace. An effective, efficient workplace depends on minimizing the digital skills gap. It depends on, in other words, the successful adoption and integration of tools into the work environment.
As with any other business function, digital adoption programs should make use of the right technology.
How Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) Improve Adoption Efforts
Digital adoption platforms (DAPs) are digital training solutions specifically designed to improve onboarding, training, and adoption efforts.
— WalkMe (@WalkMeInc) September 3, 2017
They are built around a core set of features that include:
- Contextualized guidance. In-app, interactive guidance offers advice and training directly inside an application. This means that employees can learn practical skills without calling technical support or searching for answers. As a result, employees learn more quickly and become productive in less time.
- In-product walkthroughs. Software walkthroughs take users one step at a time through a specific task or workflow. These walkthroughs help employees learn software independently, efficiently, and without the need for any human intervention.
- Automation. Automation is another bonus feature offered by certain platforms, such as WalkMe’s adoption platform. Task automation not only frees up users’ time for more valuable activities, it also creates productivity gains, reduces errors, cuts costs, and much more.
- Software analytics. Software analytics make it easy to monitor how users interact with software. That information can in turn be used to identify users’ needs and improve training efforts.
Effective use of digital adoption platforms can dramatically improve adoption efforts across the entire organization.
Ultimately, the right platform and the right strategy can help organizations minimize the digital gap and its associated performance problems.