If we as a country are bound to move into the direction of the Fourth Industrial Revolution it is only right for those who take up the use of digital literacy to share their digital knowledge with their communities. Only then will this enable these communities to compete at an international level.
With digital maturity slowly but surely creeping into various work spaces, learning about it and making the use of technology as its core goal, is equally important to understand this properly as this can make or break an organisation.
Passionate about the digital work space Digital entrepreneur Mohammed Shehu, better known as Mo Shé and NUST FM Manager, Vivette Rittman brought forth a discussion centred on the phenomenon of digital maturity.
Digital maturity is defined as the ability of organisations to learn how to respond appropriately to the emerging digital environment.
This digital transformation can only be achieved once organisations understand the basic importance of digital literacy as this will help individuals find, evaluate, produce and communicate in a better way through digital platforms.
It is unfortunate that this requires some form of digital literacy which many Namibians lack. This is seen in the manner in which many Namibian’s are prone to falling victim to internet scams or malware and fake news as they do not understand the basics of digital literacy.
This maybe be caused by various factors, Mo Shé notes that it is an unfortunate reality for most who grow up in the rural parts of the country as they rarely ever had access to a computer or technology.
“It is only when they come to the city and enter university or the work space, that they learn how to make use of a computer and have to start from scratch to understand it”.
Once digital literacy is said to be understood by an individual it then allows for one to create their own digital identity which is said to very important.
Rittman shares that in this day and age if one is not online it is a bit of a mistake because if they are looking for a job, employers are more likely to look for you online.
“They are going to look for the kind of presence you have online. So ask yourself if I were to google you what would I find, would I find pictures of you at a bachelor party or am I going to find posts of things that you are an expert in” she questioned.
With career and identity management being pivotal, those who are digital literate are urged to make sure their online presence represents them well. This may include making sure that one’s Linkedin profile is up to date.
Another important factor that would greatly contribute to digital literacy is the ability for one to use digital tools which may include being able to learn while using technology or being able to get certain work tasks done by using technology.
One would question how organisations can go about increasing their digital maturity in the work place, Mo Shé highlights that an organisation needs to place technology at the centre of its operations where it has digitalized their processes such as moving from manual filling systems into the Cloud.
“Another aspect organisations can look at is to implement the use of next generation user experience. This is simply how a consumer experiences a brand from when they first make contact with it to the end.
An organisation should also make use of collected data from users and competitors to make decisions” he said.
For organisations that already have a digital maturity presence, one must be mindful to continuously improve on it.
Mo Shé explains that organisations have to look at digital rights which may include privacy such as limiting how much information people can see.
Another pointer he stated is improving digital communication which enables organisations to communicate with one another from opposites sides of the world.
“Being digital emotional intelligent also plays a major role in improving digital maturity as it enables people to be more aware on what’s on the other side of the communication device that one is using.
Organisations also need to understand digital security as this enables people to understand that when they leave the office, they should not leave their Facebook account or the company portal still logged in because one never knows who has access to your computer” he cautioned.
Further cautioning on digital safety, Rittman highlighted that it is an easy process for virus to get access to a computer and wipe of important documents if organisations do not know the importance of digital safety.
“We have all experienced surfing the web and have come across an ad that says send us to a link that tells us we either won something and once we click on that link it takes you to a website where malware gets into your computer and wipes out your files. Which will then require you to spend money on recovering these files”.
Concluding the discussion the duo, Mo Shé and Rittman both urged organisations and individuals to take better care of their digital health as to not spend too much time on technology.
“We all wake up in the morning and we cycle through our mobile phones through various emails and other social media apps, we then get to the office and are then glued to our digital laptops which affects our digital health. Be aware of your digital use”.