Digitise, Digitalise and Digital Transformation: What’s the Difference?

The world is changing, digital technology is ever-evolving and the need for businesses to adapt is critical. Despite the fact that the term ‘going digital’ is certainly overused, it’s somehow still misunderstood. So, the aim of this article is to unpack the different levels of adapting your business to a digital economy.

Digitisation, digitalisation and digital transformation - what’s the difference?!

Even though these terms sound like synonyms of the same process, they mean very different things. It’s important for businesses to understand these differences in order to compete in the digital world and improve overall processes. So, let’s dive into digital distinctions, change management, and how a holistic approach can benefit your business.

Digitisation: From Physical Print to Digital PDF

Put simply, digitisation is the conversion of information from an analogue or physical format into a digital one. This usually means transferring information to a computer system in order to automate a process.

Sound easy? Here’s an example:

You’ve just handwritten minutes of a meeting. To keep the minutes safe you scan the page into your computer and save it as a PDF document.

This is digitisation. The information is no longer solely held in the physical world, but also as bits on a digital device. Most companies today will find themselves digitising files, records, images etc. Simple, right? It should, however, be noted that this is only the digitisation of information, not the process. That’s where digitalisation comes in.

Digitalisation: From Local Hard Drive to Sharing Online

Where digitisation focuses on transforming information from an analogue to a digital format, digitalisation is the use of digital tech to change business processes. In changing a business process, new valuable opportunities arise to, in turn, generate revenue.

Let’s put this into perspective:

The minutes of your meeting are now captured on a scanned PDF on your computer. In order for everyone at the office to access the minutes, you put the document in shared cloud storage. In effect, enabling all employees to access the information whenever and wherever they are.

This change in the way your business communicates or operates is digitalisation. Essentially, digitalisation improves business processes which ultimately transforms workflow. Increasing process efficiency is at the root of digitalisation and enables businesses to exploit opportunities made possible by tech.

Famously, New York Times Company saw this gap in their reader’s experience and with the creation of a digital newspaper, boosted their subscriber network and generated revenue through a new business process. They effectively made digitised data work in their favour.

Integrating digital systems proves to better business in the long-run and helps to keep businesses competitive under a constantly changing digital marketplace. With that said, the way in which businesses use their new processes to their advantage leads us into phase 3 - digital transformation.

Digital Transformation: From Sharing Online to Editing in Real-Time

With digitisation and digitalisation underway, businesses open up the opportunity for digital transformation. This complete change in the way a business operates involves the integration of digital solutions throughout all aspects of a company.

Transformation, therefore, comes into play when the use of digital tools are part of the culture, production and company as a whole. Along with this, a fundamental aspect of digital transformation involves the improvement of overall efficiency, risk management and the discovery of new revenue opportunities.

So, what does this look like in the real world?

The minutes of your meeting are now being written in Google Sheets on the cloud instead of a scanned PDF. These minutes are then uploaded into an app that analyses the data and provides insights to better improve customer meeting efficiency in the future.

As a result, time is spent more wisely and costs are reduced, which could lead to increased sales. Processes are, consequently, now being implemented in a completely new and innovative way.

Notably, Netflix saw the opportunity to leverage digital systems in order to improve individual customer experiences through machine learning and data analytics. Every user’s experience on the streaming service is tailored by collecting user experience data to provide customised recommendations and advertisements. In effect, the overall platform experience becomes more efficient, leading to greater customer satisfaction to drive more sales.

Are You Ready to Ride the Wave of Digital Disruption?

Implementing new digital systems can seem like a mammoth task. This is especially so when digital systems inevitably change the way that your business is run. These change-driven effects on your internal culture and employees and can affect how you interact with customers.

With that said, how do you make sure that your company’s digital transformation goes smoothly?

Simple - effective change management. Change management does, however, require time and effort. We get it, you need to focus on your work, but that’s why companies like JA. exist. Businesses need not worry about surviving a transitional phase as long as their change management is secured with a firm follow-through.

Don’t for a second believe that everyone knows this.

How we do it? We take a holistic approach to ensure that your company’s golden thread remains intact when adopting digital solutions. We help smoothen the internal shift by helping to align your company vision with your company execution. Naturally, these steps are all reflected externally, which is why you want someone who understands how a new tool will affect what your clients think about when they see your logo or hear your name.

If you want to take digital transformation by the horns, we’re ready to help you see it through.

Get in touch with us today, and say JA to going digital!

Kind Regards,

The JA. Team