Microsoft 365 is the most adopted general workforce productivity tool in the world. According to Statista, it is used by over a million companies worldwide, and South Africa is no different. Walk into any office (or home office) and Outlook, Word, Teams, PowerPoint and Excel will be the productivity and collaboration tools on offer – not to mention SharePoint and OneDrive.
However, while digital solutions have streamlined the way we work and enabled better, faster businesses, South Africa is facing a significant digital divide.
According Xpatweb’s 2021 Critical Skills Survey, 77% of participants stated that their organisation struggles to recruit individuals with critical skills, with the demand for ICT skills remaining unprecedented and climbing: 14% of businesses say that they struggle to source skilled professionals to drive their operational demand to transition into the digital economy.
The challenge is that IT skills are no longer only limited to developers and programmers – all workers must now be able to operate in the virtual economy, which means basic and more advanced IT literacy has become critical.
In 2020, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report revealed that 84% of employers are rapidly digitalising working processes and expanding remote work. However, digital skills are not keeping pace with the need, with South Africa particularly hard hit.
This is one of the key reasons why digital literacy is core to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), which includes a specific target that by 2030 the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills – including technical and vocational skills – for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship has been substantially increased. Ultimately, ICT skills are becoming essential in an environment that’s shifting from industry and manufacturing to a knowledge and digital economy.
Key benefits to computer literacy in the workplace
The ability to operate in a digital age requires digital skills. For any organisation that wants to remain competitive, productive, efficient and profitable, ensuring their employees are up to date with basic computer skills is no longer a “nice to have” – it’s a “must have”. By leveraging digital skills, businesses can better market their products, track finances and inventories, streamline productivity, leverage innovation, and improve profits.
The good news is that tools like Microsoft 365 have become so ubiquitous that understanding one solution easily translates into being able to use all Microsoft-based tools, with systems, applications and data all integrated. Microsoft’s solutions have been designed to work for almost every organisation across different scenarios and modes of work, and most employees are already familiar with Microsoft products. For those who need to be upskilled, their skills can be leveraged across multiple tools and solutions, enhancing productivity, efficiency and decision making. Short-term interventions and computer and Microsoft literacy training will always have long-term benefits.
Computer literacy and Microsoft application proficiency enhance job performance in several ways:
- Increased productivity and problem solving skills: Employees who are skilled in using Microsoft applications can complete tasks more quickly and efficiently, collaborate with ease, and ultimately be more productive. The ability to analyse data, organise information and present findings contribute to better decision making and problem solving.
- Better communication and time management: Employees today are working across different offices, off-site, remotely and even occasionally in different time zones. Effective communication and collaboration takes place across e-mail, instant messaging and collaborative tools. The ability to share the correct information, updates and documents quickly and effectively not only improves outputs and customer service, but when employees spend less time struggling with technology and can focus on their core job responsibilities, they become better performers.
- Adaptability and higher accuracy: We’ve mentioned the ubiquitous nature of Microsoft, but when we consider how ingrained digitisation is in everything we do, it makes sense that any employee well versed in Microsoft applications is better equipped to adapt to new software and updates or changes in technology. This minimises downtime, but it also means that they are more likely to maintain data accuracy in their work, which contributes to better overall performance and fewer mistakes.
Leveraging Microsoft training for a better, more skilled workforce
Through authorised Microsoft training, Torque IT empowers end users to realise their full potential by providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills to optimise the adoption and use of Microsoft solutions.
For 19 years, Torque IT has maintained the status of Gold Learning Partner for Microsoft in South Africa. This is the highest level of accreditation that Microsoft awards to learning partners that specialise in technical, product, sales, development, end-user and solutions training.
These achievements reflect Torque IT’s commitment to providing our customers with quality skills development, enablement, training and certification solutions that demonstrate exceptional depth, breadth and expertise across Windows Server, Windows client, Microsoft Virtualization, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, Skype for Business, System Centre Server, Visual Studio and Microsoft Office technologies.
About Torque IT
Torque IT is recognised by Microsoft, and the industry, as having met rigorous standards for educational competency, service, customer satisfaction and investment in Microsoft technologies that will prepare the next generation of IT industry professionals. For more, visit Torque IT on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
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