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Software as a Service (SAAS) often known as ‘cloud software’

Storage and management of data

Cyber and data security

Communication and collaborative digital tools

Presentation of data

Mobile services

Digital problem-solving

Social media for business

Creative content creation

Computer literacy

Linked with cyber and data security, and SAAS, a good understanding of storage and management of data is imperative. Nowadays, all employees are likely to be saving, moving and deleting files, and sharing files with colleagues and customers on platforms such as Google Docs & Google Drive. Loss of data, hacked data, unstructured storage of data, and a lack of understanding of file sharing can be very costly for a business. Having trained staff in all aspects of data storage and management is invaluable in reducing costly risks.

Creative content creation is about engaging customers through creative online content. The skills are required in content Marketing job roles, but nowadays employees in many different roles require these skills. They may be writing and sharing an e-newsletter, reporting on an event, writing a blog, or creating posters, etc. Employees with the skills to create great content are invaluable, especially if they have a good understanding of why and when content is used, and the applicable legislation attached.

Digital problem-solving skills are generic skills required in the workplace - they enable digital evidence to solve problems and answer questions. These skills can only be developed if employees have a good understanding of the why, when, and how technology is being used in the organisation. If an employee has only learnt a process and doesn’t understand the wider context they won’t be able to problem-solve. Data is often at the heart of digital problem-solving.

Data is changing the way people and organisations work across the world. Loss of data through a cyber-attack or non-compliance of data regulations can be hugely damaging and can literally mean the end of a business. Cybercrime is increasing year on year unfortunately, with almost 50% of businesses now experiencing cyber-attacks that are very damaging or potentially fatal for a business. So it’s critically important that employees have a good understanding of how to minimise the risks of a cyber-attack, and maintain the safeguarding of their employer’s data and ensure data compliance.

One way to develop your communication skills is to actively listen when others speak. Focus on what they are saying without interrupting, and ask clarifying questions to demonstrate your engagement and understanding.

Many organisations now conduct all their internal, supplier and customer communication and collaboration online, including meetings, task and project management, customer relationship management and email. Staff should be trained in why, when and how these tools are used so that they understand not just how to use the tools, but why they are used and in what context.

Mobile devices in the workplace are increasingly popular, particularly in businesses with mobile workers where mobile devices increase productivity and reduce costs. However, they do present security risks to businesses - therefore many employers have adopted strict usage policies to reduce these risks. If the employee is using their own phone for work, they may not be sufficiently maintaining the security settings to ensure data safety. It only takes seconds for a hacker near a device to view its contents or contaminate it with malware. Employees who aren’t supplied with a work mobile which has been made secure, and are using their own, should be given training on how to configure the required security settings, anti-virus software, use of wifi, storage of company data and use in line with company policy.

Microsoft Office tends to be the focus of digital skills developed at school, but not always in the context of the workplace. Multiple programmes may be used in the workplace - for example, Microsoft Word for writing a report or meeting minutes, Microsoft Excel for calculating expenditures or sales, and Microsoft Powerpoint for delivery of a presentation.

Computer literacy should be taught in school; however, older employees may not have developed the range of digital skills to be able to efficiently utilise the internet for research. The internet is a dream come true, and a minefield simultaneously! A comprehensive understanding of how to use computers and the internet is absolutely imperative these days, and training should be offered to all employees.

Over the last few years, Software as a Service, a method of software delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription, has grown hugely in popularity. With complete businesses being run ‘in the cloud’ it's really important that employees have a good understanding of how it works and the impact of the service on their job role. Google Drive or Mailchimp are both examples of commonly used SAAS - there are many, many more.