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The 3D’s of IT – Digitisation, Digitalisation, and Digital Transformation

These 3D’s are constantly used to talk about how organisations embrace modern technologies today. Generally, the three concepts end up sounding very similar, which is why they’re sometimes used interchangeably. But in reality, they refer to completely different activities with different purposes, goals, and implications on business operations.

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Unfortunately, some business leaders think they can digitise an organisation or digitalise enough processes to digitally transform. In those cases, they are misunderstanding the terms and missing out on opportunities to evolve, gain competitive advantage, respond to consumer and employee expectations and demands, and become agile businesses.

 85% of executives state that attaining digital maturity is critical to organisational success, but only 25% admit to having achieved their goal. 

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As a trusted Microsoft Gold Partner, we’ve assisted many organisations in helping them understand their situation and followed on to aid them with their journey of digital evolution. But before we can help, let’s just set the ground rules with what the 3D’s are all about:



Digitisation is foundational, it’s the connection between the physical world and software. It is an enabler for all the processes that provide organisational value because of the need for consumable data.

In its pure form Digitisation refers to creating a digital representation of physical objects or attributes. I.e. Transforming something non-digital into a digital medium so that it can be used in computer systems and employed in digital processes and workflows.

All organisations need transparency on their view of their organisation and the environment they operate in. It’s a baseline enabler to empower decision-making and an activity that helps to build a strong foundation for use cases that are meant to be data-driven and processes that can benefit from access to data.

Regardless of what kind of non-digital content you’re working with, what defines digitisation is that you’re working with information, and ensuring that it’s in a digital format.

However, before data is digitised and made ready for organisational consumption, processes need to be in place to ensure quality and integrity. Having data with a high degree of integrity is important but, on its own, not sufficient as the data also needs to be accessible to multiple users and systems for better and more timely decision-making. Critical communications and storage infrastructure, such as Azure Data Lakes, need to be in place and designed with adequate capacity and security.


        • Faster informational access
        • Historical data access for trend analysis
        • Permanent availability 


As you’ve probably guessed, Digitisation and Digitalisation are closely related. Unfortunately, unlike Digitisation, Digitalisation doesn’t have a single, clear definition. But Digitalisation is broadly accepted as referring to the conversion of processes, workflows or interactions into their digital equivalents. And because all organisational processes and interactions involve people in some way, it’s possibly more accurate to say that Digitalisation is the reorganisation of these organisational activities around digital technologies.

As a result, Digitalisation means putting the digitised information to work. It’s about using digital technologies, such as the Power Platform, and data to improve organisational processes, build a digital culture and mature the operational model. The idea is to put digital information at the core of organisational processes.

As a result, Digitalisation may contribute to a change in organisational models, as new technologies provide access to ways of operating that were previously unavailable. Efficiency gains may also be possible, through improved accuracy of work leading to better utilisation of resources and greater profitability.

Digitalisation enables better visibility of organisational performance through real-time data capture and reporting, and this improvement in the quality of data enables decisions to be made more quickly and with greater accuracy. All leading to cost efficiencies.


        • Efficiency & productivity gains
        • Improved decision-making
        • Employee empowerment
        • Enhance visibility
        • Facilitate focus transition from operation to innovation 

You’ll no doubt be thinking that there is an evolving relationship in our 3D’s of IT, as much as Digitisation has to proceed Digitalisation, and you might have already taken the next step in assuming that Digitalisation leads to Digital Transformation.

What is Digital Transformation?

Certainly, access to digitised information is at the core of digitalisation initiatives. However, Digitalisation doesn’t go as far as changing business models or creating new types of organisations. It’s more about keeping on doing what you’re doing but being faster and better at it because the data is freed up.

Digitisation and Digitalisation can be seen as the first steps on a Digital Transformation journey. Understanding the difference between these concepts is vital to creating a viable Digital Transformation strategy, establishing where your organisation currently is on this journey, and harnessing the opportunities brought about by these processes individually.

Digital Transformation is broader than that, it is more than simply applying existing technology to your existing organisation and in fact, many Digitalisation projects can and do arise out of your Digital Transformation journey.

Digital Transformation requires an organisation to deal better with change overall, essentially positioning organisations to become agile, setting them up to swiftly detect, respond, and adapt to changes in their operating environments.

In reality, the overall goal of Digital Transformation is to increase the productivity, creativity and empowerment (decision-making, connectivity, collaboration, communication, innovation, and augmentation) of employees, and it’s not just about technology… but that’s a good starting point!


Talk with an expert

The most successful organisations today have embraced their digital future. Don’t come the one that lags behind and gets passed up by others that have fully digitised. A Digital Transformation consultation can help you identify your weak points and help you to prepare for the future.

We have extensive experience of working with organisations of all sizes and are well-positioned to help advise you on your digital journey.

Get started - request your expert call-back today:

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