What Is Digitization?

Digitization is often used interchangeably with digital transformation, though technically the two are not the same.

Digitization refers to the process of “making something digital.” Turning a paper document into a digital document, for instance, would be digitization.

Digital transformation, used in a business context, is used to refer to the adoption of digital technology, a digital workplace, or a digital work culture.

Here are a few examples of how a business could digitize:

  • Collect, scan, and store digital copies of paper records
  • Switch from paper receipts to electronic receipts
  • Transfer analog media, such as video or audio recordings, to digital media

Some consider process automation to be digitization. 

In this case, the following examples would also be included:

  • Augmenting customer care with chatbots, phone trees, or online knowledge bases
  • Automating software training, accounting, marketing, or other business functions
  • Implementing AI and machine learning to handle decision-making

However, some prefer to use digitalization or digital transformation to refer to business process automation.

Historically, digitization refers only to the transformation of analog information to digital information. This, therefore, is likely the most appropriate use case for the term.

If, however, people conflate the term with digitalization or digital transformation, it is probably best to focus on the intended meaning instead of the terminology.


Updated: April 15, 2022

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