Lately, there has been a lot of buzz around digital transformation across industries. Many businesses switch to digital document management, implement machine learning or artificial intelligence, believing they do everything right. They think that the adoption of new technology always means digital transformation.
As you may have already guessed, it’s not. Digital transformation and digital transition are different things and require a different scope of changes.
Whereas transition is about going from analog to digital, transformation is about adopting new business models. Digital transformation is much more profound and involves comprehensive reforms. It also poses more severe challenges than a mere transition. 45% of executives don't think their companies have the necessary technology to transform their businesses.
If you’d like to digitize your company, but you’re not sure where to start, this article can help you. Discover the best approach for your company and examples of how implementing it might actually look like in real-life situation.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is a combination of reforms within a company to change the way the business is done. It is based on the adoption of digital technology to replace manual processes with automated ones. After shifting from outdated methods to innovative approaches, the company changes all--or most--of its business processes. The customer experience and service also change.
Today, digital transformation is among the primary goals of leading businesses. 70% of organizations already have a digital transformation strategy or are working to develop it. As a result, the digital transformation market is projected to reach $3.3 trillion by 2025.
Despite the increasing attention to digital technology, many businesses still confuse partial digital transition with a full-fledged transformation. Learn how to differentiate them below.
Digital Transformation and Digital Transition Differences
The digital transition is more superficial than digital transformation. Even though a business adopts some software to digitize processes and improve workflow efficiency, the core operations remain unchanged. Digital transformation requires a holistic approach. A company needs to change the methodology and the format of customer services. The entire customer experience changes. For example, in the case of healthcare, EMR adoption is a transition. Telemedicine is digital transformation.
Transformation may involve transition but only as one of other revolutionizing processes. And never vice versa. During digital transformation, the methodology of solving a task changes, whereas, in transition, we only switch from one form to another.
Examples of Digital Transformation Initiatives vs. Digital Transition
Digital transformation has many faces.
For example, when electric engines started to become more powerful, the automotive industry began to manufacture more electric cars. This initiated the transition from petrol to electricity. Even though the fuel and environmental impact changed, the user experience remained similar. Driving electric cars, people still have to control the process and complete the same actions as in petrol vehicles.
Self-driving cars are a different case. They set the drivers free from the need to control everything and change the essence of driving. In other words, they change the methodology.
Though the impact of electric cars is also huge, it's just an update of hardware. Digital transformation usually means something more innovative and revolutionizing. It turns the industry and the life of consumers upside down.
To help you better distinguish between digital transformation and transition in business, let’s consider the trends of paperless document management and omnichannel marketing campaigns as common business examples of improving workflows with digital technology.
Example #1. Paperless document management and digital documentation
When you start using fewer paper documents by substituting them with digital documents, it’s a transition. Your company just goes from an offline document management system to a digital one. This has no impact on customer experience or life-critical business approaches. Instead of sending invoices, bills, postcards, or letters by mail, you deliver the same communications online. Document management still takes a lot of time since you have to manually create documents and send them to the necessary recipients by email. It doesn’t allow for improving workflow or saving time.
Digital transformation is when you adopt fully automated paperless document management. Paperless document management means that all the processes happen online, and the document management software substitutes manual effort. Paperless document management tools automatically generate custom documents based on the latest data, store them in the system, and deliver them to customers or team members based on triggers. They also record the response communications to have everything in one place and save time. Since paperless document management becomes a part of the business process and supply chain, paper-based copies decrease.
Compared to digital transition, the paperless document management transformation is more complex. It has a more significant impact on the company. Paperless document management transformation is about automated document generation, storing documents, and delivery. In the case of transition, a business just starts to use more digital documents.
Example #2. Omnichannel marketing and email marketing automation
Although the shift from manual emailing to automated newsletters looks like digital transformation, it’s not. The rapid development of marketing solutions has shown that automated emails were just the first step in the marketing revolution.
Email marketing automation is only a digital transition since it hasn't affected customer experience much. People have kept receiving tons of online messages without realizing that they have been software-generated. The main achievement of automated emails is improving workflow management in digital marketing.
On the other hand, omnichannel marketing is an example of digital transformation. Omnichannel campaigns offer unique experiences that have been impossible before. Instead of reading automated messages, consumers can pick the most convenient channel to interact with a brand, be it social media or a user-friendly website. This makes customers a central figure that personally orchestrates their experience with a brand.
Whereas email marketing automation is only improving workflows, omnichannel is changing the core of customer interactions.
How Inkit Can Help Transform Paperless Document Management
Inkit is a reach enablement platform (REP) with the functionality to facilitate paperless document management as a part of digital transformation for you.
Inkit’s Render tool is an HTML to PDF conversion software that generates bills, invoices, and other documents for automated delivery. It allows you to replace paper-based communications with digital and considerably transforms the customer experience. Render creates communications based on triggers to send them at the right moment. It also automatically keeps the generated custom documents in cloud-based storage. This makes Render an effective tool for paperless document management adoption.
Since the Inkit reach enablement platform connects with hundreds of third-party tools through an API, transforming your business with Render is easy. You will be able to add document rendering capabilities to existing document management software and workflow managers to create a paperless office.
It’s more than a transition from paper-based to digital documents. It’s a profound change of paperless document management practices for improving workflows in your business and customer experience.
Want to see how Inkit works? Contact us to get the demo and test it.