Times have changed and the world is also changing. While technology helped facilitate our daily work 10 or 15 years ago. Now, we depend on it so much that it’s become the air that we breathe. We live with the technology and everything has been touched by technology; all have been digitized. We have no physical gallery anymore, not even a photo album, in the living room, but we have thousands of photos on our digital galleries on our mobile phones. Students may have few books but they have even more e-books on their phones.
Is digitization the same as digitalization? Or is it merely a spelling mistake? Digitization means a process of converting information, which is analog/physical, into digital formats. Digitization, according to i-SCOOP, one of the leading blogs on digitization, is creating a digital version of things such as paper documents, microfilm images, photographs, sounds and more. So the ‘task’ of digitized is not to replace the original one. But it works as a backup of the analog data.
According to the Guardian, no one can count how much information there is in the world specifically. But an extremely rough estimate is that it will need 2,100 exabytes amount of disk space to save every book, newspaper, magazine, TV and radio program, every music album, every handwritten letter, every filed-away document and every other piece of recorded data in existence. FYI: 1 exabyte is equal to 1 billion gigabytes.
Digitization happens all over the world, not only in developed countries but also in developing ones. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) develops so fast: in the past 20 years, based on Morgan Stanley’s report in 2009, the number of PCs used worldwide has increased rapidly. There was 100 million PC in use in 1990 and 20 years later, this number has increased to 1.4 billion. The same goes for mobile phones and Internet usage worldwide.
Although digitization has reached all over the world, the level of digitization in many countries are different. Based on the journal from The Global Information Technology Report, “Maximizing The Impact of Digitezed, 2012”, there are four stages of digitization: Constrained, Emerging, Transitional, and Advances. These stages are determined by digitization scores consisting of 6 key attributes divided into 23 indicators. The result of digitization scores is expressed with a 0-100 value scale. Which goes to show that there are different interpretations based on each stage of digitization.
The first stage of digitization (Constrained) is where most countries in Asia and Africa are still struggling at this stage. The first stage is still building the foundations of digitization and trying to make access widespread and affordable due to limited reach and expensive services. There are big challenges on access and price of digitization at this stage.
The next stage (Emerging) is the result of overcoming the challenges that exist in the first stage. At this stage, digitization is more affordable and has a widespread access and has achieved significant progress but still faces problems such as limited capacity and low reliability of services.
The third stage is Transitional, the stage where the challenge of reliability has been resolved. It is also followed by people having access to digitization everywhere. It is affordable and also reliable which results in a minor increase in speed, usability and also capability.
And the most mature stage of digitization is Advance, which is the stage where there are no problems with speed and reach, and there is an increase of quality services. As a result of technology, products and services here give many advantages to facilitate the digitization process.
The trend of digitization gives an impact on every aspect, such as the economy and business prospects. This era has produced the typical customer who expects to have everything they want in minutes as easy as dancing with their fingers on the screen. This is a new challenge for businesses which can be an opportunity for the business-owner to accelerate its potential.
Mckinsey’s article in 2014 mentioned that digitization of businesses can give superior user experience. However, when companies get it right, they can also offer more competitive prices because of lower costs, better operational controls, and less risk. In addition, digitizing the paper and manual processes allows businesses to obtain data. That can be used to explain the performance process, costs, and analyze risks. Real-time reports about these data allow managers to address problems before they become critical.
Also, through digitized, businesses also need a new platform of communication which can send real-time reports. Expose managers to problem-solving or deal with new ideas without limitations of time and place.