Pros and Cons Series: Digitization

Breaking down digitization and a cost-benefit analysis of digitizing your business.

What is Digitization?

When someone mentions digitization what comes to mind? For me it is a picture of Sonny, the robot from “I, Robot”. While this may suggest that I am against digitization, I am actually a huge proponent of digitization. How can I not be when every aspect of my life has been made easier with technology? Technology is integral to our present. With frequent breakthroughs in technology pushing us further into industry 4.0, digitizing is a priority for many Small Medium Enterprises (SME) looking to keep up with the times. 

Sonny from I,Robot terrifies me

Difference between digitization, digitalization and digital transformation

Digi-this, digi-that. The terms can get really confusing. So, let me explain the difference between some of the terms. Digitization is the process of making information available and accessible in a digital format. This is a part of the larger process of digitalization. Digitalization involves automating business processes through digitization. Digital transformation, on the other hand, involves leveraging on the opportunities of digital technology to transform business processes. Digitalization merely improves your current business model. While digital transformation transforms your business model to capitalize on the opportunities digital technology offers. But at the core of both digitalization and digital transformation, is the digitization process. So what exactly is digitization?

What digitisation entails

Digitization is the process of converting information from a physical format into a digital one. Simply by transitioning from traditional paper and pen bookkeeping methods to digital formats, you have digitised the process.

Going paperless by digitizing

Cost-Benefit Analysis

While digitization is a relatively simple process, is it really worth doing? Let us explore the pros and cons of digitization.

Pros of Digitization

Increase collaboration. Thanks to cloud applications, the use of digital products like google docs and google sheet (for example) allows teams to collaborate and share data simultaneously making collaboration easier 

Financial savings. Not needing physical records means savings in rental for storage space and purchasing of paper. According to Record Nations, a 100 person company can spend up to $8000 per year on paper alone. 

Increases efficiency. With the accessibility of data through cloud technology, your documents are just a few buttons away. Don’t waste time digging through records when you can do a simple Control + F.

Enhanced agility. The biggest strength of a small medium enterprise is their ability to react to market changes or new opportunities quickly. With digitization, SMEs can adapt to changes even faster and are much more mobile. 

Cons of Digitization

Potential security risk. Storing your data on the cloud means it’s susceptible to cyber crimes. But there are always ways to protect your data, to learn more check out this article.

Increase energy usage. Digitizing means more time spent on energy consuming devices. However, cutting back on paper usage may make up for the difference in energy usage.

Inertia and resistance to change. Introducing change and shaking up the status quo will leave some employees lost and others irate. But once they adapt, the period of friction will be worthwhile. 

Decision

Digitization is a must for SMEs looking to scale. Whether in the form of digitalization or digital transformation, it is the future. Join the wave or risk drowning behind the competition. If you are unable to digitize now, work towards it by making plans and setting up to do so. The real question should be “digitalization or digital transformation?”. Stay tuned to our blog for more! If you have any questions about digitizing, feel free to reach out to us!

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