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The Digital Dexterity Index Shows Some Countries Adopt New Ways of Working Easier Than Others

by Craig Roth  |  May 10, 2018  |  1 Comment

Taking calls from both buyers of digital workplace solutions and sellers (vendors and service providers) has given me a vantage point from which I’ve noticed a key barrier on the way to digital transformation: many workers are just not ready to adopt new ways of working.

That readiness – which we call Digital Dexterity – is critically important to the success of digital transformation. Organizations cannot upgrade the ways their employees work the same way an airline can upgrade the seats in its fleet.

As I’ve written before, most new productivity technologies enter the organization as systems of choice . So deep transformation of work requires a critical mass of employees to want to change their approach toward teamwork, leveraging consumer innovations, tendency to do nonroutine work, work on different devices and places, and have a welcoming approach to new technology.

But Gartner estimates that by 2020, only 25% of organizations with more than 1,000 employees in developed countries will possess sufficient digital dexterity to achieve success with products targeting new ways of work.

Companies want to know where they stand relative to peers to get a better idea of their readiness for digital workplace projects. And so they can determine which areas require upskilling their workforce to enable digital workplace success.

At the same time, the providers of products and services for digital workplace need to know where to look for buyers that understand the value of what they are selling without a lot of pre-sales education. And to find buyers that are likely to transform using their product (and provide great case studies) once they are sold.

To answer these questions Gartner created the Digital Dexterity Index (DDI), which has just been published in “User Survey Analysis: Use the Digital Dexterity Index to Target Buyers Ready for New Ways of Work“.

The DDI weights six attitudinal factors that show where solutions requiring employees amenable to digital transformation will flourish. It’s like the consumer price index, but the basket of goods includes “nonroutine work” and “tech positive view” instead of food and healthcare. And using it can point out differences between countries, company sizes, industries, and age groups.

Below is an example of three countries from the index:

DDI blog post

The DDI reveals quite a difference between countries! I was surprised at how much the DDI varied by countries, even within regions. While this chart just shows one illustrative country in each region, we have the scoring data for three countries in Europe (UK, Germany, France) and three in Asia/Pacific (Australia, Japan, Singapore). Our study revealed strong differences between countries in the same region, meaning there are differences in how likely attempts to implement new ways of working are to succeed.

The industry, company size, and worker age scoring also showed a similar degree of variation.

None of this means that organizations are pre-ordained to succeed or fail based on factors out of their control such as where they are located, their industry, or the age of their workforce. Every organization has its unique DDI score that may beat the averages.

And, more importantly, the index points out where organizations can improve. Low score for positive view of technology? Expend extra effort on making introductions of new technology a positive experience and use design thinking when rolling out technology with user experience in mind. Low score on consumerization? Work with IT to transition from a dictatorial to trusted provider mindset.

Each element of the index can be improved, with the end result being an improved chance that any future projects related to new technologies and processes that change how work is done are more likely to succeed.

Category: digital-workplace  

Craig Roth
Research VP, Tech and Service Providers
7 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Craig Roth is a Research Vice President focused on cloud office suites, collaboration tools, content management, and how they are being impacted by digital workplace and digital business trends...Read Full Bio


Thoughts on The Digital Dexterity Index Shows Some Countries Adopt New Ways of Working Easier Than Others


  1. […] away from their desks, external factors get in the way. One of the findings from my work on the digital dexterity index (a measure of how likely new ways of work are to take hold based on workers’ readiness) was […]



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