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What is the difference between digitisation, digitalisation and digital transformation?

July 12, 2022 / 4 min read

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Nowadays, everything, including companies, institutions and services, is digitising. We function in a digital world that’s available 24/7 from every place on earth, thanks to technologies such as SaaS and cloud computing. There are many terms that have been coined to help people understand what the business world is going through at the moment. However, some of these terms, if not explained properly, can be confusing. That’s why we decided to take a closer look at them and explain the difference between digitisation, digitalisation and digital transformation. And no, these are not the same things!

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We admit that especially the first two terms can be confusing. In many situations, they are even used interchangeably! So, let’s begin by explaining the difference between digitisation and digitalisation.

Digitisation vs. digitalisation

Let’s start with the first term. A digitisation is the process of turning physical information (files, texts, graphics etc.) into digital ones. In other words, it’s all about turning non-digital digital. Every time you scan a document and end up with a JPG/PDF file – that’s digitisation.

A digitalisation, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive process that uses digitisation in order to improve the way your organisation works (this includes primarily diverse business processes). Digitalisation uses modern technologies in order to maximise the benefits coming from digitisation. Let’s go back to our PDF scan example. When you take your scanned PDF document and upload it to the cloud (say Google Drive) so that your co-workers and employees spread around the world can access and download it – that’s digitalisation.

A digitisation is just a simple act, whereas a digitalisation is all about improving your business and making various processes more efficient and profitable.

We still have one more term to clarify, and that’s a digital transformation.

So, what is a digital transformation?

Digital transformation is the most comprehensive term that’s all about digitising the whole company. This includes its products, services, processes, tools and procedures. Of course, digital transformation requires using modern technologies, especially the aforementioned cloud computing.

Discover 5 steps to the digital transformation based on a example from the healthcare industry.

Companies that have gone through digital transformation can work 24/7 from every place on earth (you just need a device connected to the Internet to access all your company’s assets), exploit modern communication and sales channels (e.g., mobile apps), and are not dependent on the physical IT infrastructure (because they have access to everything they need to operate in the cloud).

Benefits of the digital transformation

Digital transformation entails many significant benefits and allows your business to work in a far more effective way. Let’s have a look at some of the most substantial ones:

  • Full access to remote work: digitised companies can work with experts and employees spread around the globe, and remote work becomes easily accessible.
  • Time and money savings: you don’t have to invest in pricey IT infrastructure and expensive tools. The vast majority of services and software that you use is available in the subscription model (with little to no upfront costs). Additionally, because many elements are on the side of the cloud provider, you save a lot of time because you don’t have to worry about every single element of your online presence.
  • Full security of your digital assets: digitised companies are less prone to technical difficulties and data losses. Moreover, every cloud provider offers regular backups so that your digital assets are 100% safe, even if something dangerous happens.
  • Unmatched scalability: after digital transformation, there is almost nothing that can stop your business from growing. The digital world is scalable and flexible. So, if you want to establish a presence in a new country – you’re free to do so. If you experience a sudden surge in orders (e.g., during Christmas), you can just ask for more computing resources, and you’re good to go. On the other hand, when there is a low season in your company, you can scale down these resources and pay less for them.

Welcome to the as-a-service world

The digital transformation is inseparable from new business models where things that you had to pay for (or invest in) in the past are now available in the subscription model (so-called as-a-service). We distinguish three basic as-a-service models:

  1. IaaS – Infrastructure-as-a-Service – as part of the cloud, you gain access to the necessary IT resources, including servers and disk space.
  2. PaaS – Platform-as-a-Service – here, the user gains online access to software and hardware tools.
  3. SaaS – Software-as-a-Service – the cloud also enables the use of selected software (such as the aforementioned Google Drive).

Digital transformation case study

At NoA Ignite, we help our clients go through a digital transformation and leverage all the relevant digital tools and channels. We have already completed dozens of successful digital transformation projects. For instance, we helped in the development of an advanced AI-powered platform for physicians helping them in training conversations with patients. Through this platform, doctors and nurses can learn about the techniques and best practices regarding new disease treatments and then practice these techniques in an online role-playing experience. Read more about this project.


You now know what digitisation, digitalisation and digital transformation are all about. The obvious next step is to benefit from these processes. Sure, it will take some time and can even slow you down a bit temporarily, but believe us – the juice is definitely worth the squeeze. Soon enough, you will see for yourself that the digital transformation has turned your company into an effective, well-oiled machine that can do more in less time.

Of course, we realise that going through the digital transformation on your own can be overwhelming as it’s a complex and time-consuming process. That’s why we want to offer our help. At NoA Ignite, we help companies all over the world become digitally-native organisations. We will plan the whole process for you and implement it most effectively and seamlessly.
Do you want to know more? Schedule a free consultation (no strings attached!), and let’s digitise your business together!

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