We often hear a lot of different things about digitalization. Numerous mixed up are made and it would be difficult to blame those who are not specialists in the domain as this word is used in so many contexts by the professionals of the sector. Besides giving you some elements to avoid confusions between digitalization and dematerialization, this article will approach the practical and operational aspects of the digitalization within the framework of the digital transformation. In particular, is digitalization the providential solution to lead a successful digital transformation?
Digitalization vs dematerialization
Digitalization, but also dematerialization are terms which occur frequently. These concepts were presented as the future of work processes which will gradually lead companies to “zero-paper” processes. Today, it comes as no surprise that the future is hybrid and that paper will not disappear. To prove that is the decline of e-readers. But how does it apply in the business world? What is the difference between digitalization and dematerialization?
1- Digitalization: definition
In a nutshell, digitalization consists in taking a paper document and transforming it into a digital image (often in the form of a file in the JPEG/TIFF format or PDF).
Document digitalization is often an important first step for companies digital transformation.
Digitalization also allows to keep recordings or contents in a secure electronic archive. Digitalization reduces considerably distribution,, impression and storage costs. Many advantages!
2 – Still current advantages?
From the 2000s, the different uses of digitalization were studied by scientists and analyzed by journalists. Electronic writing being recognized by the European law since 1999, this European directive opened a wide range of possible uses for companies. In a study led by FAYE EMILIANE in 2004, the author already listed some disadvantages connected to the document digitalization among companies:
- The infrastructure is rather expensive and heavy to set up and requires specialized staff to work and be maintained.
- This digitalization operation is long to set up and require to mobilize important resources for this use.
If today certain arguments as the legal frame are not in the agenda any more, limitations remain today:
- According to the scanned documents, an important storage capacity (in the form of hardwares or, SAN or NAS) may be necessary.
- Digitalization is not a foolproof document conservation tool. If a flood occurs in the servers room, without an additional protection system, the data will be lost. Digitalization makes documents even more vulnerable if the network security is not correctly insured.
- According to the required precision level to digitize documents, certain tools of digitalization are not adequate with professional expectations. So, it is difficult to digitize illustrations without quality loss with any classic office equipment for example.
- Digitalization is not necessarily adapted to small structures because of the infrastructure high cost and the necessary maintenance staff.
3- What is something better than digitalization existed today?
Yes, more advantageous solutions exist! To discover them and more, download the complete report on “Digitalization: false or real asset of the digital transformation?”
Anakeen SAS is the French software editor of the fast development (Low-Code) platform : Full-Stack HTML5 Anakeen Platform