Digital transition and digital transformation often swapped for one another, actually differ significantly in focus and usually scope. Digital transition focuses on the fundamental (though still potentially massive) shift from analog or physical information to that which is stored, reproduced, or processed using a digital platform. There may be benefits like increased speed, accuracy, reliability, privacy, etc., but we are generally talking about facilitating behaviors and transactions coming out of new digital tools. Digital transformation involves changing the way a company or institution organizes relationships or conducts transactions enabled by technology.
What is digital transition?
Digital transition itself is merely the process of compressing analog media into bits and bytes to make them available in digital form. It can be videos, images, and much more. However, analog and physical products are always reproduced, copied, or transmitted digitally. The original remains intact.
Digital transition in various contexts
Digital transition of content
In everyday business, the digital transition can mean transitioning documents such as invoices, archives, products and using them for processing, storage, or sharing. For example, we can use image recognition programs to read content from forms and submit them to the system. This is the first part of how businesses can digitize by converting analog documents and content to digital.
Automation through a digital transition
The digital transition is also often used as a synonym for automation. In this way, existing processes can be digitally mapped or automated to save work steps. Companies often already use the term digital transition when they digitize and automate their operations. An example of such an automated process would look like this: Create an order, create a shipping label, send an invoice, and contact the warehouse to prepare the shipment. This allows entire processes to be transformed into one automated workflow.
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is using digital technologies to modify existing or create new business processes, customer experiences, and culture to meet changing business and market requirements. This new look at business in the digital age is digital transformation.
It goes beyond traditional roles such as marketing, sales, and customer service. Digital transformation depends on how you think about your customers and how you interact with them. Moving from paper to spreadsheets to intelligent business management applications, we have the chance to reimagine how we run our business – how we engage our customers – with digital technology on our side.
There’s no need to set up business processes for small businesses, just starting and transform them later. From the very beginning, you can secure your organization for the future. Building a 21st-century business on sticky notes and handwritten ledgers isn’t sustainable. Thinking, planning, and building digital gives you flexibility and prepares you for growth.
Let’s look at a few examples of related transitions and transformations to understand the nuances better.
Email and marketing automation
As email became ubiquitous in most businesses, it was a prime example of the digital shift. Correspondence changed from something that moved with paper and stamps and was stored in folders and file cabinets to something transferred over the Internet and ultimately was stored on local or cloud servers or hard drives.
When marketing automation systems were introduced, they represented digital transformation. These systems not only transferred the original behavior (correspondence) to the new digital platform but allowed fundamentally different, previously inaccessible interaction models, e.g., automated and behavior-based campaigns, mass customization, etc.
Electronic banking and bitcoin
It may be fair to characterize the financial industry’s early transition to online banking as a digital transformation, even though it had no real impact on the business model, the way fees were charged, etc. What was mysterious or burdensome in general banking remained so in cyberspace banking. The way money is tracked, transferred, or posted has remained virtually unchanged.
Compare this to bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency that you know). Blockchain technology has managed to decentralize ledgers, anonymize transactions, and made banking not institutional—a digital transformation (not to mention a potentially severe long-term hiatus).
Electronic medical records (EMR) and telemedicine
The introduction of tablet computers, such as GRiDPad, Apple Newton, etc., and their niche use in the medical industry made them one of the first digital transitions of medical records to the EMR space. The use case was narrow, mainly replacing flipcharts for patients in hospitals. This puts the adoption of these devices straight into the digital transition category.
Compare this with recent initiatives in the field of telemedicine. A concrete example is stroke telemedicine. Successful treatment of a stroke depends mainly on shortening the time between the onset of a stroke and appropriate treatments. But the problem here is that most small or rural villages do not have the resources to hire a qualified neurologist on the job or on call. However, by using a range of online tools – from videoconferencing to real-time remote radiography consultations – in a smaller facility can deliver time-critical treatments in time to reduce stroke disability before transferring the patient to a better-equipped facility. It’s a new, transformed approach made possible by digital technologies.
It’s a fairly simple formula but effective in this case. If the change is a conversion from one storage format (mostly analog to digital) to another, it’s definitely the transition you’re talking about. If the project involves a methodology change where the company or customer goes from a to b, it is a transformation.
So, if your organization is looking at or planning to move to a digital environment, be it transition or transformation, Saven Technologies is here to help. With experience in digital transformation for industry leaders across various verticals, we have been able to help companies achieve digital transformation by creating powerful digital solutions.