Digitization vs. Digitalization


The term digitization refers to the process of conversion of a variety of information formats like audio, images, videos, drawings, text into a digital format. In digitization, information is organized into single binary codes. Digitization process facilitates quick transmission, processing and easy storage. Digitization can be done either by scanning from a two dimensional analog like photos, hand-written documents, photos or directly through a digital camera or CAT scanner, etc. The most important benefit of digitization is that it liberates the document from the constraint of a traditional access methods.

Digitizing doesn’t mean replacing the original document, image, sound, etc. Sometimes it gets destroyed (after having digitized a paper document you can destroy it or keep it, depending on, for instance, legal requirements), sometimes it disappears anyway (if we capture the sound and ‘motion( of your presentation at an event, the digital format continues to exist while your voice and physical presentation are gone during that presentation are gone forever) and sometimes it is transformed but that’s not that much about digitization in the strictest sense (if you take a picture of a building you have a digitally born representation of the building but the building is not digitized or you might have an analog picture which you scan so it is digitized).

Digitization is the automation of existing manual and paper-based processes, enabled by the digitization of information; from an analog to a digital format. Digitization plays a huge role in the ultra-paced modern life, where communication takes place on a variety of virtual platforms through mobiles, computers, and laptops. This dynamic lifestyle necessitates the importance of fast availability of data. Digitized data assures better security, better accessibility and better preservation.

What is Digitalization?

Although often used interchangeably with digitization, digitalization is much more than just extended automation. It is about creating and delivering new values to customers not just improving the current offerings. Even though the word implies, digitalization does not actually focus on technology but rather on providing value through improved processes and productivity. It makes the use of digital technologies to transform business processes, improve overall business and generate revenues.

Digitalization is the strategy of adopting recent technologies in IT to make the most of the digital resources available in the enterprise. Some of the benefits to adopt this strategy are:

  • Evolve business models to improve businesses, customer experience, more productivity etc.
  • Automation and Factory of the future
  • Ease of doing business
  • Growth; Stay in the race and edge ahead of others.

What is the difference between digitization and digitalization?

Digitizing has increased the efficiency of our processes; digitalization means that business now uses technology to engage with people to precisely address their particular needs.”

It requires digitization of information but it means more and at the very center of it is data. While digitization is more about systems of record and, increasingly systems of engagement, digitalization is about systems of engagement and systems of insight, leveraging digitized data and processes.

Looking for Digitization or Digitalization? Look no further; we’ve got you covered. We at Ninestars, have been a part of this digital shift since 1999, starting with milestone projects in newspaper archive digitization and over the years contributing to the digital transformation initiatives of more than 150 organizations worldwide.

Contact us now to see how we can help you!

Impacts of digitization

Today, the size of a business doesn’t matter, its agility and the capability to re-invent is that gives companies a sustainable advantage to compete in a digitalized world. So, here arrives a question: Has digitization ultimately been good or bad for the society? The question has been debated on since digitization is on attack.

There are multiple ways in which digitization has been a blessing for the evolving digital era: increased productivity, less need of a dedicated workspace, increased mobility and new innovative tools. The world is witnessing an accelerated pace in digitization — the mass adoption of smart and connected ICT by consumers, businesses, and governments. Digitization has helped enhance the world and society in general through flexible and greater work-life integration.

Although blurring the lines between private and work life works wonders on employee and corporate performance, but the implications on family life and health leans on the negative side.

Here are the most significant trends triggered by impacts of digitization:

  1. Digitization of the processes is not a new phenomenon, but it has reached a new tipping point. The connection between Big Data and robotisation evolves a new economy and hence a new world of work.
  2. There are two principal features of this phenomenon: one is the revolution of the platform-based economy with a “winners take all” philosophy, and the other is peer-to-peer exchanges.
  3. Digitization can also be considered as the fourth industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution was that of the steam engine, the second of electrification and mass production, and the third that of the computer. Digitization impacts consist of developments in IT, automation of workflows and processes, robotisation, internet and in field of defence and fight against terrorism.
  4. Digitization can create new types of jobs, new sectors, new products and new services (data architects, data developers, data analyst and application developers)
  5. Digitization could also accelerate fundamental changes in working practices. New forms of workers, machine-integration and process can bring out new kinds of jobs.
  6. Digitization might also lead to job-risks owing to automation of work process, computerization and robotisation. While there is no consensus of how many jobs will be lost, certainty is that the numbers will be very high.
  7. Digitization is likely to create an increasingly polarized economy characterized by gaping the inequality between “winner-takes-all superstars” and the masses of losers.

Here’s a list of different impacts digitization is creating over different aspects-


  • Connected world, open systems, knowledgeable economy
  • Networks, exchange, sharing and collaboration, with access based on functionality rather than ownership
  • Integration of industries and services: intelligent factories, energy systems, mobility, transport and cities and optimized governance
  • Automation, robotisation, learning machines
  • Productivity, efficiency and profitability gains
  • Zero marginal cost economy
  • Innovative products and services, proliferation of mobile apps to make life easier.
  • New auto production capacities, micro factories


  • Jobless growth, jobless future
  • Emergence of super powerful oligopolies, new world data masters
  • Concentration of power and wealth in value chains (equivalent losses for other companies, sectors and countries)
  • Protection of personal data exposed to intrinsic risks
  • Under- investment and under-utilization of digital tools for the social emancipation of low-income sections of society


  • New jobs (computer engineers and scientists, network experts, etc.)
  • More ‘agile’ work organization; new forms of more flexible and more autonomous work
  • Abolition of repetitive and routine tasks
  • Better performance of heavy and complex tasks; Better ergonomics
  • New forms of collaboration and cooperation among workers


  • Massive destruction of medium skilled jobs
  • Intensification of ‘anytime anywhere’ work; blurring of the boundary between private and working life leading to stress and burnout
  • Loss of control by workers of their own expertise and know-how and free will
  • Digital management, risk of mutual loss of trust between employees and management
Reference: Jobs in the digital economy, Christophe Degryse in “Digitalisation of the economy and its impact on labour markets.”

The Benefits of Digitization

Digitization is the process of converting analog information formats like audio, images, videos, drawings, text, etc., into a digital format. Digitization doesn’t necessarily have to replace the original documents, audio, images but it can complement or replace the original analog format. For instance, sometimes the original document may get destroyed pertaining to legal requirements and sometimes it may disappear by itself (For example, the sound and motion in a presentation capture). Basically, digitization is the electronic representation of the source which could be later accessed through computers or other digital devices.

In digitization information is stored in binary codes and the process can either be managed through scanning or with digital cameras. It is the automation of paper-based or manual processes.

Advantages of Digitization

  • Perhaps the most important advantage of digitization is that it frees the document from conventional access limitations.
  • Digitization ensures better preservation, better security and better availability.
  • Unlike the traditional storage limitations, for digital data there is no physical limits for storage.
  • Digitized data could be accessed through the Internet which ensures a 24/7 availability.
  • It is also a great preservation tool. At Ninestars, we have digitized fragile documents from 1600s ensuring their longevity and historic value by providing repair to the original documents and by preserving digital copies for future usage.
  • Digitization also helps save space. We have worked with numerous libraries around the world for digitization projects saving enormous space and preserving and archiving old books, texts and manuscripts.
  • Instead of going through hundreds of books to find what one is looking for, information could be easily retrieved from digital copies using keywords. We at Ninestars specialize in adding indexing and descriptive metadata through our state-of-the-art digitization process.
  • Digital files could be accessed by many people at once which wouldn’t be possible with a non-digital copy. Digitization also allows you resource sharing and linking possibilities.
  • With digitization, the digital copy can be reproduced with same exactness any number of times.

Tactical Advantages of Digitization

The rapid technological development has brought about an accelerated pace of innovation which requires every business to have optimum efficiency. Digitization can help organizations improve core business efficiencies. Some of the tactical benefits of digitization are:

  • Digitization helps in eliminating transcription errors.
  • It helps in improving accessibility to information thus minimizing informational silos.