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How digitization & technology is revolutionizing small businesses

Jason Li
Sr. Software Development Engineer
Skilled Angular and .NET developer, team leader for a healthcare insurance company.
September 30, 2019

"Paper clogs up processes. Paper creates disruptions to smooth information flows. Digital processes require digital information" - John Mancini

Digitization; or is it digitalization?

With the idea of staying competitive & achieve ample growth, small businesses are willing to undergo digitization. Oh, wait. It could be digitalization that is being referred about. Digitization of small businesses means converting the processes involved, to bits & bytes. This could also mean automation of every process through extensive replacement of human workforce with robots or connecting everything via IoT (Internet of Things). Digitization can also be referred to as digital information.

Digitization - Creating digital imprints

As mentioned before, digitization creates digital imprints of analog items such as photographs, microfilms & even paper documents and various types of sounds. The list of analogous things that can be digitized is endless. The digital version can then be used in a computer for various other purposes. For instance, a scanned copy of a paper document, images or anything can be referred to as a digitized version of these analogous items.

Simplifying business through digitization

The employment of the digitization process to simplify a business product or service helps the organization, firm or company to be transparent & clear about their work ethics, policies, and processes. In effect digitization leads to ease of workflow; this is in a way a process of automation that simplifies whatever ideas that are needed to improve the quality of work in the concerned business sector. For instance, the use of digital data extracted from physical or analogous carriers that aid in automating the business comes under the category of digitization as well.

Digitization is not digitalization

Although most people confuse digitization with digitalization, the process of converting physically analogous items into a digital format is indeed digitization & not digitalization. The confusion arises because the output obtained can only be perceived in digital format. So, it can be concluded that digitization is not digitalization, although both of them are connected. So, in simple terms, digital transformation or digitalization of processes is impossible without digitization of paper documents & other related items.

"Connecting people, process, data and other items that provide intelligence with actionable insights which enable favorable business outcomes" - Digitization according to Cisco

Digitization paves way for digitalization

The initial information or data needed for a digitalization process is provided through digitization of non-digital items such as important worksheets, articles on how a process is conducted & extensive diagrams depicting the working of business product and services.

Digitalization is the use of digitized as well as normal digital data for improving all aspects of business processes such as creating revenue, & digital culture. The digital information is the core of this business culture. The dimension of digital maturity allows appropriate data & information that has been put through adequate technologies to be business assets. This has the potential to transform the way a business is run. This makes us understand that digitalization is the next step adapted by business organizations, companies & firms, after the process of digitization.

Through digitalization, small businesses can create ample opportunities by creating adequate capabilities with necessary conditions. This allows businesses to achieve growth in the way they want through knowledge that has been acquired from various digitized & digitalized data or information.

Digitization leads to digitalization

As mentioned before, most of the time digitized information paves way for digitalized information or data. As per people who use the digitized data for their business products or services, digitization is the first step when trying to achieve digitalization.

Factors to look for when digitized data is digitalized


A right partner who understands both digitization & digitalization

It is essential to work on digitalizing projects with people who are experts in handling both digitized & digitalized data. This will help in extracting the necessary information that is needed for apt digitalization of business products & services.

Working with the right team

Suggestions & discussions from people of all departments in an organization will provide valuable insight into how digitization can be done & also translated into digitalization. This project should be based on specific business requirements that can help the organization achieve its ultimate goals.

Creating apt investing criteria

Investors those who wish to invest in the business processes look for potential revenues that can contribute to a scalable economy while considering reserved cost savings. This should be taken into account while the businesses call for investors.

Achieving end goals is the priority

Working with forward-thinking personnel, partners & other experts in the field can help an organization to successfully digitize & digitalize. Specific requirements that include customer demands- priorities- feedbacks & remarks can help track where the business sector is moving to- which are beneficial during the whole process of digitization & digitalization.

The technological impact of the digitalization process will help businesses assess the market trend according to which they can adapt & evolve. Thus, end goals are a high priority while digitizing & digitalizing a small business. This can create a roadmap to success for small businesses.

Integrate custom software for digitization

Small businesses can develop & integrate specific requirements into their in-build software, customizing the products or processes, making it more users friendly. This can help evolve small businesses in the path they need to travel to achieve scalability. Digitization process does help in transforming a small business into a dynamic one through apt digitalization techniques & latest technology such as IoT.

Cloud-based Solutions

Small businesses can look for cloud & web-based solutions for any issues they encounter. An efficient data or information exchange will help the businesses to grow and evolve via digitization & digitalization.

How digitization & technology is revolutionizing small businesses

Small businesses need to start somewhere

As with every business sector, small businesses that are looking to digitize, & digitalize should first conduct a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity & Threat) analysis. An internal assessment should be conducted. This can help a small business analyze what they need to improve on & whatnot. For instance, small businesses should identify potential problems, gaps & threats. With the right collaboration, anything and everything is possible. Shrewd investment is a major factor in the process of achieving digital transformation via digitization & digitalization.

Ideas of revolutionizing small businesses via digitalization

For instance, a small business's foray into the digital market with apt techniques is a way they can digitalize. Collaboration with online vendors to outsource their particular products & services can be a way of digitalizing.

Benefits of digitalization for small businesses

With less manual labor & automation of the majority of products and services, small businesses can focus on cutting unnecessary labor costs. Firms & companies can drastically reduce production time while ensuring high quality for their products & services. Digitalizing improves the interaction between a small business firm & their customers and clients via instant feedback, remarks & critique. Small businesses can streamline their services through digitalization. This, in turn, helps them to work on their weaknesses, making these small businesses, quality & strong firms that people will back and rely on.

Use of right technology

By incorporation of right & advanced technology such as IoT with proper funding via investments, small businesses can boost their sales. This, in turn, can help them develop software customized for their specific requirements. With the help of custom software & web and mobile apps or applications, a small business company can always keep their customers, clients & critics closer than ever. This will undoubtedly benefit when these businesses look to expand their online enterprises along with upgrading their shops & business establishments.

Use of digital marketing strategies

Solid marketing & advertising strategies need to be employed for running an online business enterprise. With an assortment of selections that is useful for all & every type of customers, a small business organization can expand its online enterprise according to the needs & demands of customers. A good team allows a digitalized small business enterprise to expand its roots & give tough competition to their competitors.

Digitization: A success mantra for small businesses

As mentioned before, digitization which involves the entire process of digitization, digitalization & digital transformation, allows a small business organization to develop fastidiously & capture digital as well as non-digital markets. With a new way to evolve, many small business firms are constructing roadmaps to hearts of millions of customers via digitization & digitalization. Advanced technology such as IoT, which involve AI & drones (in this case, delivery drones), backs up these small businesses through proper investments.

Digitization, digitalization & digital transformation

As a way of improving their weaknesses, along with finding new customers, small businesses are digitizing anything & everything they can which paves the way for digitalization and digital transformation. In this era of technology, digitizing is a must & surprisingly it is revolutionizing the way small businesses are done.