There is no denying that society is moving towards a digitalised future. Increasing productivity and competitiveness requirements make digitalisation inevitable. Digitalisation streamlines user experience and it speeds up interaction between businesses and clients. It also results in better products and superior cost-efficiency.

This fundamental trend presents businesses with significant opportunities. The path to digitalisation is ridden with challenges, however. In this article, we will introduce you to what digitalisation is, and what it can mean for your business.

You will learn: 

  • The difference between digitalisation, digitisation and digital transformation.
  • What digitalisation can mean for your business. 
  • What the roadmap to digitalisation can look like.
  • Where to start your digitalisation process.  

We will also cover: 

  • Introduction to digitalisation (the definition of key concepts and differences between them).
  • Digitalisation in business (reasons, pros, cons and challenges).
  • How to get started with digitalisation (strategy, roadmap, how to get started). 
  • FAQ

You will learn: 

  • The difference between digitalisation, digitisation and digital transformation.
  • What digitalisation can mean for your business. 
  • What the roadmap to digitalisation can look like.
  • Where to start your digitalisation process.  

We will also cover: 

  • Introduction to digitalisation (the definition of key concepts and differences between them).
  • Digitalisation in business (reasons, pros, cons and challenges).
  • How to get started with digitalisation (strategy, roadmap, how to get started). 
  • FAQ

What is digitalisation?

Digitalisation is the incorporation of digital technologies into business/social processes, with the goal of improving them.

Digitalisation is transformative. It changes how companies interact with their customers and often their revenue streams.

To clearly define digitalisation, we need to take a look at digitisation first. Some conflate the two concepts, giving them a similar meaning. The two are quite different, however.

Digitisation is the process of turning physical data into digital data. Scanning a report would be an excellent example in this sense. 


What is the difference between digitalisation and digitisation?

The difference between the two concepts is obvious. Digitalisation carries a positive connotation. Digitisation, on the other hand, is neutral. Nonetheless, it is a prerequisite of digitalisation.

Digitisation is the rather mechanical process of “translating” physical data into a digital format. Digital information consists of 1s and 0s. By its nature, it resists distortion. It can also be transmitted without loss. Digital information is what communication networks around the world use, store, and handle.

Digitalisation, on the other hand, makes use of digitized information to improve processes.

Typing an essay into a digital document is digitisation. Making that document available for use through a cloud, is digitalisation. The concept of digitalisation vs digitisation is fallacious. The two are complementary. 


Digitalisation vs Digital transformation

Digital transformation is the ultimate consequence of digitalisation. Just as digitalisation stems from digitisation, so does digital transformation stem from digitalisation.

The complete transformation of an industry through digitalisation is the perfect example of digital transformation. Read more about digital transformation here.

The wave of digitalisation ushered in by the internet has disrupted many industries. The advertising industry is a good example. In the old days, a scattershot approach was the advertiser’s best bet. Nowadays, precise statistics are available on how users engage with content and how ads convert.

The same goes for email. Those who send emails can see who opens their messages and how people read the content.

Through the internet, the entire world has changed. People interact in a radically different manner. Decentralized cooperation has opened up previously undreamed-of possibilities. 


What do you mean by digitalisation?

The concept covers many different areas of adoption/impact.

  • Upgrading a business model through digitalisation is a common undertaking. The goal of such a process is to net extra value from the adoption of new technologies.
  • The adoption of digital technology to improve industrial processes. The positive impact of this type of adoption is perhaps the most obvious. It translates to energy savings, better quality products, etc.
  • Digitalisation has driven significant improvements in communication and information technology. The resulting changes have been transformative for the world.
  • The digitisation and digitalisation of everything that lends itself to this process, in day-to-day life.
  • Digitalisation can also refer to the process of turning analog information into 1s and 0s. As mentioned, this process is called digitisation, but some conflate the two concepts. 

Digitalisation in organizations and businesses

On the level of businesses and organizations, the approach to digital transformation remains a reactive one. Most organizations play catch-up. They adopt new technologies to remain competitive and relevant. They are mostly not looking to innovate.

According to Couchbase, 86 percent of organizations have found digital transformation all but smooth. Problems reported in the linked study have included reduced expectations, delays, and downright failure.

Despite the dire rate of success, digitalisation projects are gaining traction. More and more executives see the potential in digital transformation. 


Reasons for digitalisation – Why digitalisation is important

From a bird’s eye perspective, the potential benefits of digitalisation are obvious. Better workflow, more efficiency, better products, and entirely new services are part and parcel of the process. From these advantages stem others, such as better competitiveness.

Besides the mentioned benefits, properly digitalised businesses also enjoy:

  • New customer acquisition channels.
  • Improved working conditions and better employee retention.
  • Improved decision-making.
  • More willingness to innovate.
  • Better teamwork.

At a closer look, the reasons cited by business executives for digitalisation are entirely different. They are mostly rooted in fears of missing out.

  • Most of them are afraid their organization will fall behind.
  • They fear their companies will lose relevance in the market.
  • Some fear that their IT staff might move on to more innovative businesses. 
  • Many also fear losing staff from other departments as well, according to Couchbase.

Pros and cons of digitalisation (consequences of digitalisation)

The pros of digitalisation far outweigh its cons. Some of these pros are:

  • Better manufacturing processes.
  • Products delivered to market faster.
  • Reduced reaction times to customer feedback.
  • Improved insights.
  • Entire supply chains can benefit from end-to-end integration.
  • Lower production costs.

At the other end of the spectrum, the cons are much less significant. The poor implementation of digitalisation still hides some pitfalls. This can translate to:

  • Improving UX to the point that digital transformation destroys economic rent. The process creates spectacular value for customers and none for the business.
  • Promoting a winner-takes-all economy, which is conducive to monopoly.
  • Poorly understanding ecosystems resulting from digitalisation.
  • Completely missing the duality of the process. 

Businesses can tackle such problems by choosing a reliable partner, such as

Examples of digitalisation

The advance of technology along with new legislation defining digital commerce have made eIDs and remote electronic signatures possible and increasingly widespread.

– relies on this technology to provide several solutions for its corporate customers.

One such solution is the POS e-signing solution the company provided to Telenor Norway. Through the eSign-enabled POS terminals, Telenor customers can sign contracts electronically.

All thusly digitalised contracts are kept in a virtual repository. Telenor Norway uses a franchise system for its stores. Now, managers and customer service agents can access the contracts of all stores at the click of a button. This has led to faster customer service, better fraud detection, and a much better-organized contract repository.

– Scrive’s eSign has turned out to be a superb solution for online bank Avanza. Before eSign, onboarding an online customer would take the bank up to a month. The paperwork went back and forth between the two parties, its speed conditioned by that of snail mail.

With eSign, customers can now sign contracts online, instantly. And to comply with the bank’s security requirements, they can use Swedish BankID, a form of eID integrated into the Scrive service, to authenticate their identity. Avanza’s digitalisation push has resulted in a 120 percent increase in signed document conversion rate, as far as remotely signed documents are concerned.

Total deposits increased by 20 percent. Onboarding time dropped by 72 percent. Over the same time-frame, account volumes have quadrupled.

Avanza’s use of eSign is a great example of digitalisation in banking.

– The possibility to sign contracts remotely with Scrive’s eSign Online has been a boon for CEO Magazine’s advertising sales. Before the digitalisation of the procedure, the magazine would send out advertising contracts in a scattershot effort.

Giving clients the possibility to sign contracts electronically and instantly is the winning approach. Physical contracts are often misplaced. Thus even those who want to sign them fail to do so.

The introduction of eSign has increased the number of signed/returned contracts by 25 percent. Signing turn-around has dropped from days/weeks to around 5 minutes.

Administration time on a contract has dropped to 15 minutes. 

In these examples, the advantages ushered in by digitalisation are clear. They are not a matter of perception. They are quantifiable.

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According to Techrepublic, the challenges associated with digital transformation are clear for most organizations.

  • The complexity of implementing a brand-new technology.
  • Lack of resources in regards to skilled IT technicians and educators.
  • Reliance on legacy technology. If something works the way it is, why tinker with it?
  • Lack of skills of the existing workforce. As predictable as it is, this problem is a very significant one.

Other issues may be:

  • Upgrading the workforce to meet digitalisation head-on.
  • The introduction of new, circular business models.
  • Renewed focus on ecological and social sustainability.
  • Transitioning to a digital economy and building trust in it.
  • Adapting to the realities of a digitalised economy, such as decentralized collaboration, the fusion of the digital and physical, and the empowering of the individual. 

How to know if you should digitalize your business?

Certain signs tell you that the time to digitalize your business is now.

  • You feel that you need to streamline the customer experience that you offer. Disjointed processes tend to lead to poor UX. Digitalisation tackles this problem effectively.
  • You have no clear idea about how you will grow your business in the future. In this respect, you should know that digital transformation is inevitable.
  • You need to improve efficiency. A bigger bang for your buck would be great.
  • You don’t know how to acquire and handle data to get more out of it.
  • Your website is obsolete and hardly performs its function. 
  • Spreadsheets are your go-to solution for most problems.
  • Your emailing efforts take up too much time.

Digitalisation strategy

Digitalisation is inevitable. Since you will have to embrace it anyway, you might as well do it for the right reasons. Digitalise your business the right way and make it count. Following a level-headed digitalisation strategy will allow you to cover real needs and to achieve real results.

The following three-step approach is a straightforward path to adopting digital technologies for businesses.

  • The first step is to devise a vision. You need to know what you want to accomplish through digitalisation. Before you establish that goal, you need to go through technologies and digitalisation patterns. You need to find the pattern that best suits the needs of your company. The digital maturity of your organization is also a factor in setting your goals.
  • The second step is to move your digitalisation into the operational stage. This means setting the needs for expertise, involving every department of the company. 
  • Implementation of this strategy is the last step. Digitalisation should be closely coordinated with the planned development of the company.

Digitalisation process – How to get started?

When it comes to digitalisation in financial services and digitalisation in business, the only wrong move you can make is to not do anything. That said, how you get started on your journey of digitalisation, matters. 

How to start digitalisation

  • Define what digital transformation would mean for your company. Even if your goals are modest, do not skip this step. This step also covers identifying digitalisation paths that truly make sense for your organization. Know WHY you want to digitalize.
  • Set digital transformation as your priority and forge ahead with it.
  • Make sure management is sold on digitalisation.
  • Set up a team tasked with digitalisation.
  • Learn what your users want and set up a user experience roadmap.
  • Make sure your digitalisation results in better UX and user appreciation.

Scrive eSign is a great example in this sense. It lets companies ease into digitalisation, offering immediate and significant benefits. These benefits translate to the UX as well as the internal operation of companies. 

How does a typical digitalisation journey look?

In the real world, most companies happen upon a solution (such as Scrive’s eSign) which solves one of their long-standing problems.

The easier it is to implement these solutions, the more likely companies are to embark on digitalisation. 

Once implemented, with the first results in, digitalisation becomes irreversible. A good initial experience makes businesses more open to the idea of further digitalisation.

How to measure digitalisation?

Digitalisation is measured through key performance indicators (KPIs). Businesses are free to create custom KPIs that offer them the best possible measure of success/failure. Some popular KPIs are:

– Adoption. How many of your employees use the solutions introduced through digitalisation? If adoption is in the neighborhood of 90 percent, your digitalisation is most likely successful.

– Detailed adoption picture. How do users use your digital tools? Which features of these tools are underutilized? What are the tangible benefits of use?

– The number of processes performed on your digital tools. This will give you an idea about adoption as well as relevance and usefulness.

– Productivity changes sparked by your digital tools.

– Revenue increase attributed to the use of digital tools. 

Frequently asked questions

What does a digital transformation consultant do?

A digitalisation consultant helps a company identify useful digitalisation patterns. Such consultants work with senior executives and are thus instrumental in setting the direction of digital transformation.

What is digital change management?

The management of digital change focuses on shaping mentality and thinking on the organization level. Unlike digitalisation, it deals with the people involved, rather than the technology.

What does the digitisation of records entail?

The digitisation of records refers to the transfer of analog records to digital data. This type of digitisation only makes sense on a large scale. The benefit only exists if entire industries digitize their records.

For example: if a hospital digitizes its records but no other healthcare actors do, it carries no benefits.


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