Digital transformation is underway but is the talent function is not to the speed. This is the reason many of us feel we can not catch up or  4 A's of technology ( automation, analytics, artificial intelligence, and augmentation ) is surpassed us. 

There are clearly many interruptive events that are impacting us on daily basis and we just feel their symptoms such as " Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity".

Following are some of the events;
  1. Rapid changes in our ecosystems ( Weather, Air, Ocean....etc.) causing flooding, drought, fire, tornados, hurricanes
  2. Rapid acceleration and changes in technology ( automation, analytics, artificial intelligence, and augmentation)
  3. Rapid deployment of human knowledge and communication connectivity through internet
  4. Rapid growth of human populations and needs 

The rapid technological change means we face a very real digital competence gap in the coming years—a period in which technological capabilities accelerate so swiftly that talent and knowledge can’t keep up

The competence gap will create friction, slowing realization of the benefits of digital transformation. Small business and Enterprise-level digital business disruption will displace 50 plus percent of incumbent businesses & companies in the next five years, according to the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation.

Digital transformation is being accelerated by the explosive growth of data and connected devices. By 2025, we will live in a world with 80 billion connected devices, increasing actionable data almost ten-fold. Yet, the digital business transformation is not just about automation and business model disruption; our organizations require the right knowledge, skills and experience to drive transformation and sustain advantages.

Virtually every sector is experiencing radical change. In the coming decade, the 4 A’s of technology  (automation, analytics, artificial intelligence, and augmentation) will require new knowledge and skills to drive business value

No longer is it sufficient for digital know-hows to reside in IT, engineering and R&D. Now executives, managers, and front-line businesses & employees need to understand how technology changes the business model and need to be able to move fast to capture value. Forward-looking talent and learning leaders are now hiring and developing digital competence across the enterprise.

This article highlights findings from ongoing research and interviews with chief talent, learning and technology leaders across the globe. What emerges from this dialogue is a picture of talent and learning organizations in flux and insights into how to support the changing business models and competence needs across the enterprise. Talent organizations surveyed demonstrate a wide range of response to digital change, from well-formulated, comprehensive strategies for bridging the gap to no appreciable plan in place.

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Defining Digital Competence

It’s a VUCA world: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. The proliferation of information and communication technologies, globalization and accelerated change have contributed to the VUCA state of our world. The “VUCA world” is the context in which the digital transformation of business occurs. Having VUCA-capable leaders is correlated to financial performance, yet in a Conference Board Global Leadership Forecast, less than two-thirds of leaders said they were confident in their ability to meet VUCA challenges. The skills required for the assembly line of the Industrial Revolution are giving way to innovation, collaboration, problem-solving and communication.

In Dancing with Robots, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane examine the structural economic changes brought about by technology. They argue that the future of work will focus on three human activities:
  • Solving unstructured problems
  • Working with new information
  • Carrying out non-routine manual tasks
The bulk of the rest of the work will be done by computers or offshore labor. Digital-era business requires flexibility, innovation, collaboration and personal responsibility. Employees are expected to adapt to and thrive in a VUCA world. In this context, digital competence is more than simply computer, software or data related skills. As the 4 A’s of technology take center stage, industry requires a holistic framework for digital competence that reflects the systematic, strategic, innovative and collaborative skills required to transform business models.

Searching for a digital competence framework reveals significant public sector economic and education policy works, but little of that has been translated for industry. Two notable models have been promulgated: DIGCOMP: A Framework for Developing and Understanding Digital Competence in Europe and the World Economic Forum’s New Vision for Education: Unlocking the Potential of Technology. Based on these reference frameworks and the ongoing research and input of industry leaders, a cluster of adaptive skills and abilities emerge that begin to inform digital competence for the industry. The industry framework centers on seven critical abilities:
  • Comprehend and Engage the Digital Environment
  • Effectively Create and Consume Digital Information
  • Communicate Effectively
  • Collaborate with Diverse Stakeholders
  • Innovate Rapidly/Agile
  • Think Critically/Solve Problems
  • Maintain Cybersecurity

Closing the Digital Competence Gap

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year a CEO panel all agreed that technological change brought by AI would create more jobs than it would eliminate. Fortune quoted Dow CEO Andrew Liveris as saying, “There will be more employment, just different.” But they acknowledged two serious societal challenges: 
  • First, educating and training workers to take advantage of the change; and 
  • Second, assuring the benefits of productivity gains are widely shared.

Building digital competence requirements across the employee talent life cycle is the most fundamental strategic challenge ahead. Talent and learning leaders must articulate and constantly reinforce the vision for transformation. Inertia in organizations and cultures will slow progress and occasionally make the quest seem Quixotic, but the external realities of digital transformation will ultimately prevail.