Gartner: Digital dexterity will leverage supply chains

By Georgia Wilson
Development of digital dexterity and data literacy of existing employees will be the key to creating the supply chain professional of 2025...

Digital dexterity will be the key to developing the supply chain professional of 2025, reveals a report from consultants, Gartner.

The next four years are going to be critical for companies seeking to stay competitive with their supply chains - post COVID-19 - and developing employees with digital dexterity and data literacy will be vital for future success.

The consultation paper discusses the talent-related challenges and opportunities that Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) will need to address in their efforts to remain competitive amid an ever-changing environment and to develop the supply chain professional of 2025.

According to Gartner, employees are not currently empowered to act with agility. “If CSCOs truly want to build an agile workforce, then they need to redesign work and focus on the capabilities that support digital,” says the report. 

To achieve agility CSCOs need to identify and enable the people and capabilities necessary to support new digital workflows, recommends the support. 

“Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) tapped digital business for increased investment in 2020. In fact, 47% expect to increase the speed of their digital initiatives to find innovative ways to drive growth,” comment Gartner.

However only 27% of leaders surveyed said they had the talent needed to meet current supply chain performance requirements especially as it will now require skills such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), deep learning and natural language processing (NPL).

As there is likely to be hyper-competition for these technology skills, Gartner says, CSCOs will have to work to improve the digital dexterity and data literacy of their existing workforce and redesign work to reduce complexity. 

“When redesigning work, ensure that workflows (processes, tools) produce valuable work outcomes. A focus on simplification and elimination is key” say Gartner. This should include: 

  • Remove specific procedures, partners, rules that staff must follow to complete workflows or achieve specific work outcomes 
  • Consolidate systems, give preference to advanced solutions that reduce the need for supply chain staff to have a high degree of technical expertise 
  • Remove less essential competency requirements of supply chain roles when new, critical competencies are added to ensure that talent is focused on developing the right skills 

“Adapting to new technologies and effectively leveraging data and analytics in the supply chain will require new capabilities,” comments Gartner.

“In order for employees to work digitally and support the efforts of becoming a digital business, supply chain roles will need to feature digital dexterity competencies. And with an increased focus on data and analytics in the supply chain, the average employee will need to develop skills in data literacy.”

Digital dexterity

The report, Gartner for Supply Chain Developing the Supply Chain Professional of 2025, highlights the importance of digital and data dexterity.

“Digital dexterity is composed of the beliefs, mindsets and behaviours that accelerate digital business transformation. It can be described in two dimensions, employees’: ambition and ability to build digital businesses; and ambition and ability to work digitally.

Competencies that drive digital dexterity include:

  • Business acumen
    Outcome-focused and aware of how work affects the end customer. Prioritises the business’s long-term goals over short-term and/or personal wins. 
  • Adaptability
    Successfully delivers work in novel, uncertain and ambiguous situations. Intellectually curious. Approaches obstacles with a persistent and positive attitude.
  • Political savviness
    Gains support from a range of stakeholders. 
  • Fusion collaboration
    Leverages peers’ strengths to inform their work. Thrives in a team setting and can assimilate the contributions of peers into their own thinking. Clear communication.
  • System thinking
    Understands how their work affects other functions and the organisation as a whole. 

“Data literacy is the ability to read, write and communicate data in context. To be data-literate, one must have an understanding of data sources and constructs, analytical methods and techniques applied, and the ability to describe the use-case application and resulting value.

Competencies that drive data literacy include:

Business value
Shares and discusses data and analytics and the decisions they support, and processes and outcomes they improve. Can describe how their company’s data enables collaboration with trading partners. Innovates on supply chain decisions with data.

Understands that information is a strategic asset. Can distinguish between data quality, master data management and information governance/stewardship. Can name multiple data sources that are relevant to the supply chain


Understands the following: difference between predictive and prescriptive analytics, analytics techniques and how they support the supply chain and NLP and natural language generation, ML and AI.

Actively supports the learning and development of others through social learning, on-the-job coaching and mentoring. Communicates the importance of data literacy.

Read more

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