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Digitization or Digital Transformation?

27.11.2018 Adriana Hemp, translated by: Rebecca Pichler

To begin with, it is not at all that easy to find a clear-cut distinction between digitization and digital transformation. Digitization describes only the process of transferring analogue media into digital form; often, automation is put on the same level as digitization.

Digital transformation goes even further: its aim is to find the best possible technical solution for a problem. On the base of digitization and digital business, i.e. digital business processes and models, digital transformation is enabled in the first place.

Improving slowly

The most common mistake done by many companies at the beginning of the transformation: they underestimate the amount of time and effort that are needed. Marcus Naumann is absolutely right when he writes in his article about digital transformation: “to suggest that change happens quickly is in this case worse than to suggest that change is easy.” Transformation means doing something in order to improve in it; and not to be done with it/finish it. This is why it is not done in one or two quarters. Up to five years are necessary to complete the entire process of digital transformation.

Problems are important

A company should allow itself to take its time. At beginning potential conflicts and possible failure of the project as well, the motto is: nothing that is worth having comes easy. And a thorough analysis of any problems is an important part of the process to promote the further development of the company.

Where there is light…

However, digitization as well, just as life, has its down sides: different to the industrial and technical revolution, the digital revolution does not promise new work places through other fields of activity. Above all, numerous middle-class jobs are being cut because of the digitization. Left are few highly paid manager and IT-specialists as well as many underpaid workers and jobbers. It is no surprise that this is further widening the gap in social inequality.

Positive for the economy

But it is not all that dark and ominous as you might think. Although Amazon, Google, Facebook & Co are continuously gaining influence, the internet and web presence have far less impact than it was predicted 10 years ago. And the increase in business processing in online stores has made many areas more transparent and legal - which in turn adds a positive aspect to the economy.

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