Competency trap killing pace for organization Digital Transformation – Legendshub Blog

Around the world digital disruption is quite visible now. Every business vertical is been affected by digital move which ranges from Technology, AI, Blockchain and 5G transformations. Generally organizations miss the early symptoms of digital affect and in no time there is bigger challenge possessed by next generation way of doing business or providing services.

Competency Trap

We all know how thousands of analog companies got hit when people start switching to digital form of communications. TV and radio revolution is one of the biggest digital revolution in recent times. Media and Information technology sectors are the early adopter and victim of digital transformations. Much has been written about the transformation and proactive gauge into the digital way of doing the operation. In this article we will focus on major roadblock organizations are facing while developing road map to digital transformation i.e. Competency Trap.

The competency trap is not only limited to organizations or enterprises, it also impact individuals. Enterprise tend to assume that with past performances they can continue to derive results and goals in future. If we can take example of companies such as Nokia which were at zenith point of sales and perception in late 90’s. Nokia was not able to estimate the adoption of Android and smart phone technology in manufacturing. In spite of being an ethical player Nokia become the victim of Digital transformation. Competency trap can be a big barrier in organization mentality towards accepting new way of working.

When digital journey is being proposed to the stakeholders and decision makers, they are reluctant to take any aggressive measures to adopt them. Few reasons which exhibit such behaviors includes waiting for seamless retirement, priority to operations over innovation, lack of vision, technology overlap fear.

Because of competency trap organization start losing practitioners who will drive next gen digital initiatives. Companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Netflix, and Tesla are already on the path of reaping benefits of early digital adopters. Agile way of working for new business is pushing enterprise to move from waterfall way of working. Competency trap is effecting team’s big time i.e. why idea of forming small teams is gaining popularity. Upskilling of vast number of employee has become another challenges for enterprise which are services based. When employees are been told to upskill the same competency trap results in demotivation of number of performers not able to adopt to new technologies and tools. We have observed top performers in selling on premises infrastructure business are struggling to get same business when provided portfolio for Cloud infrastructure.

Adaptation gap is becoming significant. It is been observed that companies providing contemporary services to external customers are not able to convince its own employees with internal process and framework. Employees are seen complaining about internal tools which enterprise use internally, of not being up to the mark. On continuing the discussion with employees one can conclude that there is lot of gap in employees vision of using tools to what they been locked down to use for by enterprise.

Sometime it is better to evaluate absorptive capacity of an enterprise. There are constant voices been raised by employee about too much to absorb and no standard communication channel to reduce work overlap or duplication. Majority of enterprise end up using multiple commercial software’s for solving similar problem statements. It drastically block the flow of effectiveness. Take a case where team is using one configuration management tool to achieve tool installation and now suddenly same team member is been told to move to new team using different configuration management tool to achieve same automation. As a resource individual need to get himself/herself familiar with new tool before any tangible outcome is expected. So enterprises are missing a point here of one centralized architecture team.

Digital Transformation leaders are in demand but not every leader will flourish in the role as it need targeted vision keeping  the contemporary readiness of organization in mind. Many organization is missing the point of importance of practitioners in digital transformation journey. There is a view in market that by flattening the mid-tier hierarchy challenges of competency trap can be mitigated. This view is not always true until we have statistics supporting the theory.

In recent time it is quite visible that many big ships have merged small scale organizations to bring competency issue at par. But it is also observed that majority of such mergers results in large scale attrition of skill set which was expected to be preserved. As individual also bolster certain mission statement and ethics of enterprise which make them more inclined towards respective enterprise then other in the community. In case of merger or acquisition it is been observed ethics/goals are not same on both side of coin which trigger large scale context switch from employees.

Communication of digital maturity need to be circulated across the organization at regular time interval so employees are always updated about stage of enterprise digital maturity. This process will help in building confidence about organization in sight of an employee.

Retail industry was the big victim of digital wave adopted by e-commerce business enterprises. Many retailers are not able to move fast enough to bring on digital talent. Retails like Walmart have started bringing in competency early such as Digital Marketer, Digital advisory and similar competency on technology front which help them to accelerate the digital maturity from transformation which matters. And now they are able to reduce the adaption gap using competency to advantage.

Will an organization ever say they are digitally matured? May be not as digital transformation is always changing from one form to other. The only way to adapt to it for an enterprises is to create a resource management system which can proactively understand the changing competency dynamics.

“Digital transformation is not a threat. It is always an opportunity.” This may not be true as opportunity for one business is threat to the rival. But yes rival can also ferret out opportunities form the threat and adapt quickly.

Hopefully enterprise will become people focus to achieve digital transformations.


Amrit Pal singh

Designing critical migration from legacy to cloud environments, extending devops approach into analytics, AI/ML to maximize the purpose of agile approach. We work to integrate compliance with risk, security and regulations, building seamless interfaces across multiple systems. I am fortunate to manage complex hierarchy of global portfolios, programs and projects and executive communication . Provide TCO analyses to low level architecture, design and implementation, readiness and building BCP/DR/HA, and around the clock monitoring & management using cloud tools relevant to our customer's situation and objectives.

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