The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term digital as being “(of signals or data) expressed as series of the digits 0 and 1, typically represented by values of a physical quantity such as voltage or magnetic polarization.”
When used it terms of IT, digital and its various derivations mean many things to many people.
In particular, the terms digitisation and digitalisation mean two distinctly different things, but are often used interchangeably.
It’s important to clarify the difference between the two to avoid any confusion and misunderstanding.
Digitisation is the conversion of an analogue form to a digital form. The conversion of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form, that can be processed by a computing system, for a variety of different reasons.
Digitisation is also the creation of an automated workflow and processes, designed to manage the digitised form, replacing the existing manual paper-based processes.
When people talk about digitisation, they are typically talking about the fact that they have converted paper documents (or another analogue form) to a digital form, and as a result they have been able to automate their manual processes.
Digitisation, however, in itself is not enough for a business, and this is where the AL comes into digitalisation.
Whereas digitisation is about the automation of existing data and processes for digital information, digitalisation is about leveraging the digital assets and using them to create new or replacement processes to realise a digitally enabled business.
“Digitalisation is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.” (Gartner)
It is not necessary for digitisation to be complete before the process of digitalisation commences. However, you have to have digital assets to start digitalisation, and for most pre-existing businesses these will be created as part of digitisation.
Digitalisation allows businesses to look at new ways of reaching and engaging with their customers (including employees). Enabling businesses to create a valuable online presence, develop a new mobile reach, profile their customers more effectively and create new, and innovative, products that were previously not possible.
This, in turn, will allow the generation of ‘Big Data’, about its customers, understanding how they think, what they want, and how they engage with the brand, allowing the business evolve and develop appropriately.
A Digital Strategy
Having understood the difference between digitisation and digitalisation, and that one facilitates the other, the business needs to define a digital strategy that lays out how it will embrace these concepts and apply them.
This digital strategy needs to ensure that the business is adaptable, adjusting flexibly to developing market trends, allowing innovation to happen rapidly and provide a focus on the customer experience.
In an ever-varied market, where there are so many different ways that a consumer can engage with a business, having the right digital strategy will allow a business to consolidate and strengthen its position, leveraging the benefits that digitisation and digitalisation bring.
If you found this case study useful and would like to discuss how iCore can help you drive your digital journey then contact us on +44 (0)207 868 2405 or email email@example.com.