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What is the Difference Between Digital Transformation, Digitalization, and Digitization?

What’s something that all marketing and tech publications have in common? They’re littered with confusing buzzwords! Words like gamification, MOOC, accelerated mobile pages, and urchin tracking module can render a short blog post almost unreadable. The availability of so many cool sounding prefixes and suffixes gives way to endless combinations of technical sounding jargon. Everything is a “digi” this or a “micro” that. The average consumer becomes inundated with so many buzzwords that they can no longer tell up from down. Trusting that someone understands this cryptic language, they opt for the product with the most attractive website and the longest list of features (each of which sounds eerily similar to the last). 

Don’t let crafty marketers get the upper hand! Learn to stand your ground with this in-depth breakdown of three of 2021’s most widely used digital marketing buzzwords. 


We live in a digital world, but that wasn’t always the case. You can probably remember a time before the information revolution, when technology was predominantly analog, and all of your information was stored in a physical location. Then computers came along, and they were great, but all of your information still existed in the physical world, creating a disconnect between the potential of this powerful new gadget and the way things actually worked. 

Time continued to move on, and digital modes of communication slowly replaced the way information was traditionally shared. The disconnect continued to grow, and humans became even more scatterbrained. Suddenly you had a mailbox and an inbox. You bought a smartphone, but still made use of your good old Rolodex. You began jamming out to your new iPod, but could never part with your collection of 80s rock CDs. To bridge the gap between these parallel, but separate universes, the technologically savvy started the process of digitization, and the rest of the world followed.  

Digitization can be described as the process of converting information into a digital format. Think of the endless hours you spent importing your collection of Guns and Roses CDs to your iTunes library. You may not have known it at the time, but that was an effort at digitization. 

Why it’s important!

The same reasons that motivated you to spend endless hours uploading your CD collection to your music library are what motivates businesses to invest in digitization. By converting valuable assets into a digital format, enterprises can improve access to vital information. 

Think of the giant filing cabinet you kept your music in, and the great efforts you went to keep your CDs in alphabetical order, before one day saying “screw it,” and then never being able to find anything again. Then you uploaded everything to iTunes, and suddenly your 2,000 album music collection was easy to navigate, perpetually organized, space-efficient, and accessible from multiple locations.

Using Customer Relationship Management technology, businesses can access valuable information like invoices, contact information, customer profiles, sales funnels, and transaction histories from any location. They can then use built-in tools for data management to keep their data clean and up to date. But that’s not all! Any CRM worth its salt also offers marketing automation, which can be set to trigger based on specific customer-brand interactions, like reading an email or visiting a webpage. Teams love marketing automation because it does most of the leg work for you. Once set up, you can kick back and watch primed, ready to buy leads flow into your funnel.


If you think the word digitalization sounds confusingly similar to digitization, you’re not alone! Most people use these terms interchangeably and incorrectly. 

Different authorities offer different definitions of digitalization. Gartner defines digitalization as, “the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities.”

Why it’s important!

While digitization focuses on converting information into a digital format, digitalization is focused on leveraging digital technology to improve business processes and streamline operations. With this in mind, it’s understandable that so many software companies tout digitalization as a core component of their company culture, and a benefit to be reaped from the adoption of their product. 

The issue then arises, what if you invest in too many digital solutions? Your business’s information becomes scattered across a confusing plethora of platforms, each with different login credentials and different internal logic. Suddenly you’re back in 2007 and it’s like you have an iPhone, and a Rolodex, and an address book, all over again.

Take a deep breath, and don’t panic. Using the power of integration, you can consolidate your MarTech stack into an efficient data ecosystem, which circulates information to the parts of your business that need it, when they need it. The use of a Complete CRM, in tandem with integration services, like Zapier, has allowed businesses from across the globe to whittle their MarTech stack down to just a handful of apps. With all of their information accessible from a single, digital location Complete CRM offers businesses something they had previously only ever dreamed of, total and complete transparency.

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is the holy grail of business optimization. It’s currently the high water mark for what business software is capable of.

Forbes’s Jason Bloomberg defines digital transformation as, “customer-driven strategic business transformation that requires cross-cutting organizational change as well as the implementation of digital technologies.”

Why it’s important!

Unlike digitalization, digital transformation isn’t merely concerned with implementing digital technology for disparate pieces of your enterprise. That’s how you end up with a messy patchwork of competing platforms. Instead, digital transformation is concerned with the wholesale revamp of your entire business process.

The health of a company isn’t based on any single metric or the success of a particular department. You can digitalize your sales funnel, and still have a business model reminiscent of the stone age. True digital transformation requires a holistic, top-down approach to data management. It requires more than a flashy website and an automated email campaign. To unlock next level optimization, you need to commit to a comprehensive plan for digital optimization and invest in the right tech to do so.

Complete CRM

There are literally thousands of platforms that can help companies digitize and digitalize, but few of these can meaningfully contribute to digital transformation. The idea of Complete CRM was pioneered by tech guru Lars Helgeson as a balanced approach to digital business management, which takes into consideration every facet of running a business. Complete CRMs like GreenRope go beyond what’s expected of a CRM. In addition to tools for sales, marketing, and contact management, GreenRope offers a suite of applications for vital business operations, like events, project management, customer support, ecommerce, and more. 

To gauge if GreenRope is the right solution for your business, schedule a free demo, here.


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