Digitisation is the process of converting something physical into a digital form using technology. For example a document scanner can be used make a hand written order form into a PDF you can store on a computer. While a smartphone camera captures photographs directly as a digital JPG image file that can be shared in emails.
Digitisation is considered important for business because it reduces the cost of storing business documents (especially those business documents you are required to store safely for at least five years by the Australian Tax Office).
Digital alternatives to storage boxes full of paperwork and archive rooms – such as Dropbox.com, AWS.Amazon.com/S3/, Azure.Microsoft.com and Docs.Google.com exist to give businesses a secure central repository for all types of electronic files.
Digitisation is essential for any business that intends introducing systemised workflows and other forms of automation, wants to improve process efficiency, make use of business data analytics or heighten their information security and data quality.
What Can be Digitised in a Business?
- Business phone calls with customers and suppliers that are recorded
- Inspection photographs and videos, before and after a service is delivered
- Notes about correspondence or marketing materials when mailed to customers and prospects
- Minutes from meetings and agendas for next meetings
- Contracts and legal documents
- Customer signatures on delivery receipts
- Stock counts for managing inventory, including restocking and replenishment
- Warehouse batch picking orders
- Cross-docking fulfilment and dispatching paperwork
- Media mentions on TV, radio, in newspapers and online
- Customer invoicing and account statements
- Quotes and tender responses tracking
- Expiry dates for offers and promotional deals
- Evidence of a job done, a problem encountered or an error made
- Phone numbers and contact information for people important to your business
- Team Zoom video calls and other live streaming session recordings
- Vehicle mileage numbers and fuel use logs
- Route planning, scheduling documents and timetables
- Asset tracking, depreciation and disposal records
- Equipment condition reports, calibration schedules and maintenance logs
- Status of sales negotiations and pending agreements
- Premises check-ins, entry and exit logs
- Theft prevention security tag tracking data
What Things Are Difficult to Digitise?
Technology has come along way and there are many more things that can be digitised today. However, there are still some things that can’t be captured digitally yet.
- Textures and tactile sensations
- Fragrance and smells
- Empathy and emotional responses
There are also some things that become more vulnerable when digitised that may be better protected in their physical form.
- Patented and trade marked materials
- Commercial secrets, ciphers and proprietary intellectual property
- Formulas, recipes and confidential/privileged information
- Proprietary ‘know-how’ and classified techniques