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Digitalisation: how much do skills and mindset matter?

07 Apr, 2020 Methodologies
Digitalisation: how much do skills and mindset matter?

2020 marked a turning point in the Italian digitalisation process, changing many of our habits: within this context, skills and mindsets play a central role in software and project creation.

Smart working, e-commerce and digitalisation

The pandemic has clearly created a situation of discomfort.

But we tried to look at a snapshot of our country with clarity of mind: we see it for the first time as ready to experiment remote working, trust an online store and to enjoy a free and fast home delivery.

We see people deciding to pay a bill through an app for the first time or having to meet, out of necessity, through a video call; people who, driven by the difficult economic situation, ought to request an allowance on a portal using PINs, SPIDs, electronic cards.

By analysing this scenario rationally, we can see that digitalisation although forced by the circumstances, is making its way among the different sections of the population.

This can only mean two things: a real and concrete digital literacy together with companies and teams having the right skills and the right methods, are needed to carry on this process.

INPS in hardship and proactive companies

Our reflection was inspired by several data and news facts recorded in the last few weeks.

Let’s take the INPS case as an example.

As you might already know, self-employed workers have been given the possibility to apply for the COVID-19 allowance from the 1st of April. All this had to happen online, through the institution's portal.

Well, everything went wrong that day: server not responding, users’ personal data shown to other people, report of an alleged hacker attack, later denied even by Anonymous. All of this preceded by unclear and inaccurate communication, which turned out to be completely unsuccessful.

Social media, which now reflect national-popular sentiment, exploded with memes, complaints and accusations.

Another reality to be observed is the one of those companies that have decided, in true Darwinian spirit, to adapt to the new situation with the aim of ensuring the survival of their business. How did they do that?

By digitalising some of their services: many pizzerias and supermarkets, for instance, now allow online (or telephone) orders with home delivery, just like many learning centres have created virtual classrooms on their platforms.

These examples may seem trivial but have even led to increased sales in some cases.

Skills and mindset

These realities made us reflect on the importance of:

The technical team and its working method can really make a difference, especially when risk becomes concrete and many companies have to quickly adapt to online business.

In this particular moment, the first aspects to keep in mind are:

We need to be able to solve a critical issue, provide an urgent service and do it without wasting time nor money. This is why it is essential to have the right skills to create a software without violating privacy and GDPR in one go, but having the right mindset is crucial too.

Starting to work on a project means having a clear understanding that the solution we are going to build has the satisfaction of the final user as its primary objective.

Each phase of the work should be guided by feedback and by a build-measure-learn cycle allowing to rationalise the number of things that need to be done, in order to achieve the best result in the shortest possible time, thus limiting the waste of resources and optimising the growth of the project.

In conclusion, maybe it's time to understand that those looking like buzzwords - Agile, Lean Startup, Design Thinking, Growth Marketing - are actually methods that can and should always be applied; this should be done with the purpose of improving the daily work and life of people who might, in the near future, consider digital technology as a resource and not as an enemy.

Beatrice Bottini

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