Digitize, Digitalization and Digital Transformation: What’s the Difference?

Technology terms are interchanged like USB devices. The average user tends to think of a USB as USB-A when in fact this could mean USB-B or USB-C. From file exchanges, to TV Smart devices to conversion cords to laptop chargers, a USB device has a variety of functions that mean very different things.

Sometimes people say “digitize” when they actually mean “digital”. “Digital transformation” is also easily construed to mean enhancing existing technology when it actually has another purpose all together. The variation between each term is huge. It’s the difference between doing business in a manual way versus an automated way.

Below is the breakdown of the different terms:


Digitize is when data is converted into a format that can be processed by a computer or word processor. An example of digitization is going from notes on scratch paper to typing them up in an Excel spreadsheet. With the new Excel spreadsheet and great human involvement, you are now able to see what’s on track and off track. The scratch paper has left its analog roots to become a new member of the digital world.


Digitalization is moving from an unstructured digital environment to a structured digital environment. An example of this is converting the Excel spreadsheet to a Google Sheet. While the platform does provide a structured environment, with some visibility and transparency amongst several users, the environment isn’t exactly secure. The team can see some status on the data, however, the Google Sheet itself requires much human interaction to keep it up to date.

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is removing humans from the digital equation. An example of this is moving the data from the Google Sheet into an app, such as ProcurementPath. Rather than keep track of all the items needed for the procurement process in a Google Sheet, the entire process is automated with complete visibility from end-to-end. Future and current demand is readily available minimizing the headaches needed to manually keep track of the process. With increased efficiency, timelines are accelerated freeing up your time that may be devoted to other business responsibilities.

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