These days, the word "digital" is used to refer to a lot of things, but what does it really mean?
There are at least four terms for leveling our communication: digitization, digitalization, digital transformation, and digital natives.
Digitization is the conversion of analog or physical information into a digital format. Imagine manuals being converted. The New York Times, for example, now distributes digital content through its website, “nytimes.com” and through the New York Times app, rather than physical channels through the printed newspaper.
Digitalization, in its turn, is the use of digital technologies and digitally enabled approaches to enable or improve business models and processes. For example, using artificial intelligence to improve an internal process. In the case of NY Times and other companies, the additional payment for exclusive content or for a certain sector serves as an example. Digitalization companies deliver expanded offerings including videos, podcasts and digital analytics to increase usability and boost subscriptions.
Digital Transformation, on the other hand, are the coordinated change efforts through digitalization at scale in all aspects of the business, including people, processes, technologies and KPI’s. Again, in the New York Times example, they guided the company as "Digital First", making an effort to foster digital subscriptions between 2011 and 2016. Result: 418% increase in users in the period, and projected to reach US$ 800 million in digital recipe until 2022.
There are also "Digital Native" companies, which are born with a business model using the network. This is the case of the Only Fans service, which grows daily, and in February this year it had more than 100 million users around the world
OnlyFans was founded in 2016 and aims to be a social media platform where creators can monetize their content and interact directly with their fans.
Therefore, it is important to understand the taxonomies: digitization, digitalization, digital transformation, and identification/partnerships with digital natives can occur in parallel (in our case, in the “Qintess Ignite Start-Ups” acceleration program, for example), but it is essential to understand the differences, communicate them effectively and track the progress you are participating in in your context.
Words have power and it is important that we all know how to handle these concepts, defending the use of the right terms.
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