loader star

Digitization vs. Digitalization vs. Digital Transformation: What’s the Difference?

From banking and healthcare to retail and education, today’s organizations are being assessed with a totally new measuring stick: their level of digital maturity. Like it or not, analog processes are rapidly being replaced by automated, digitized versions—and companies that fail to adapt are getting left behind. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, 89% of companies already have some form of digital transformation initiative underway. In 2020, the average share of digitized products was already seven years ahead of predicted adoption rates, and that rate has only accelerated in the past four years.

But all this talk of going digital begs the question: what is digital transformation, exactly? And how does it differ from digitization and digitalization—if at all?

Though these terms certainly have some overlap, it’s important to distinguish between their differences and similarities. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

What Is Digitization?

Digitization is the most narrow and specific of these three terms. It refers to the process of converting information from analog or physical format to digital format. Typically, companies digitize by scanning physical documents and converting them into digital files, but there are other forms of digitization, too.


Companies that digitize usually have a singular goal: to streamline processes, increase collaboration, and improve security by converting physical documents into digital ones. Digitization helps increase accessibility so documents can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. It can also reduce storage costs, improve access control, and help with compliance and auditing.


When most people hear about digitization, they think of scanning paper documents into digital format. But digitization comes in many forms. Here are a few examples:

    • Document scanning: Capturing, storing, and editing text documents, images, and more for storage in digital formats.

    • Digital signatures: Electronically signing documents, agreements, and contracts using secure digital authentication methods.

    • Cloud computing: Storing, accessing, and processing data through secure internet storage solutions, rather than on-premises servers
    • E-books: Publishing and reading books in digital formats, accessible through e-readers like Kindles and smartphone apps.

    • Online banking: Managing account balances, deposits, and other financial transactions through digital platforms
    • Digital wallets: Storing and managing funds and payments through digital wallet applications.

In reality, digitization has already transformed many aspects of the traditional workplace. Business spending on cloud computing infrastructure is expected to exceed $1 trillion in 2024, proving that the trend will only continue to pick up speed.

What Is Digitalization?

In comparison to digitization, digitalization is a slightly broader concept that goes beyond converting information from analog to digital. When companies embrace digitalization, they use digital technologies to transform entire business processes, helping to improve their overall efficiency and productivity.  


When companies digitalize, they leverage digital tools to improve processes, systems, and experiences, which leads to greater efficiencies and reduced costs. Digitalization can enhance productivity by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks. It also gives workers increased access to information and services, which accelerates data-driven decision-making, innovation, and agility.


Implementing digital tools and technologies to streamline and improve business operations, like adopting cloud-based collaboration platforms or digital project management systems.

    • Automation of workflows: Introducing workflow automation tools to streamline repetitive tasks, reduce manual effort, and improve efficiency.

    • Collaboration tools: Using project management tools, virtual meeting rooms, and chat features to enhance teamwork and communication.

    • AI integration: Incorporating AI technologies such as chatbots for customer support, predictive analytics, and more.
    • Content management: Leveraging advanced records management capabilities such as retention schedules, audit trail, encryption, and legal hold to streamline document management.
    • Digital HR solutions: Implementing digital tools for HR functions such as hiring, employee management, performance evaluations, and more.

Digitalization in all its forms can help organizations strengthen their competitive edge, offering better data management, enhanced accuracy, reduced operational costs, and greater business continuity.

What Is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is about leveraging digital technologies for a complete reimagining of an organization’s structure, processes, and strategy. It’s not just about using digital tools or converting physical assets to digital ones—it’s about fundamentally changing how an organization operates and delivers value.


There’s more to digital transformation than adopting new technologies. Ultimately, it creates a holistic, cultural shift that helps organizations succeed in the digital age. According to McKinsey, digital transformation leaders achieve nearly double the percentage of shareholder returns in comparison to “laggards.” They also grow their active customer base at a faster rate, deliver greater brand value, and foster greater innovation and agility.


Digital transformation can look different for every organization. Forward-thinking businesses should selectively choose new technologies that are best suited to help them grow. Here are a few options that can be adapted to a variety of industries:

    • Cloud migration: Transitioning from on-premises infrastructure to cloud-based services for improved scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
    • Mobile app development: Building mobile platforms to provide customers and employees with easy, convenient access to services and information.
    • Remote work: Hiring remote workers who collaborate using tools like video conferencing, cloud-based platforms, and workflow management software.
    • Advanced data analytics: Using AI-driven analytics tools and reports to analyze large datasets, extract meaningful insights, and inform decisions.

    • Enhanced cybersecurity: Leveraging the latest digital technologies for advanced threat detection, encryption, and multi-factor authentication.

These are just a few examples illustrating how enterprises across all industries can embrace digital transformation to stay competitive, drive efficiency, and adapt to the future of work.

Vasion: Your All-in-One Solution for Digital Transformation

Digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation are all different but related terms that point to a common trend. The world around us is changing fast, and new technologies are opening up doors for greater innovation, productivity, and efficiency than ever before.

If you’re ready to start your digital transformation by digitizing physical documents and digitalizing time-consuming workflows, Vasion is the answer. Schedule a demo today to discover how to level up your digital processes and print environment with one powerful platform.