What is Digital Transformation, Digitalization, and Digitization

How API relateds to Digital Transformation

Amancio Bouza
API Product Management
4 min readMar 23, 2018

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Who is also confused by the terms digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation? Hands up! Well, at least I was. That’s for sure because people use those terms as synonyms or mixing them.

In the following, we explain the three terms and how they relate to digital technologies such as API (Application Programming Interface).

API enables digitization, API solution enables digitalization to save costs, and API product enables digital transformation to create new business.

What is Digitization?

Digitization refers to creating a digital representation of physical objects. For instance, we scan a paper document save it as a digital document (e.g., PDF). In other words, digitization is about converting something non-digital into a digital representation or artifact. Computer systems can then use it for various use cases.

An API doesn’t digitize. However, an API can play the role of integrating two computer systems to reduce media breaks.

For example, a user enters personal info into a mobile app. The mobile app sends this info to an API that will push the info into a backend system or database. The data is then accessible for other computer systems and use cases.

What is the Business Value of Digitization?

Digitization itself has no business value. However, it lays the foundation for business cases that leverage the data. In other words, it’s the enabler to create business value, which needs data.

What is Digitalization?

Digitalization refers to enabling, improving or transforming business process by leveraging digital technologies (e.g., APIs) and digitized data. That means that digitalization presumes digitization as described in the previous section.

For example, a company hires a new employee who will need a mobile phone with a subscription to communicate with customers and his team. As part of his onboarding, the employee has to write an e-mail to the fleet manager who manages both. The fleet manager will send a fax with the employee’s info to the telecommunication company (telco company) to order both. At the telco company, a customer agent will enter the info from the…

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Amancio Bouza
API Product Management

API & AI Enthusiast. Author of API Product Management. Public Speaker. Dot Connector. Intrapreneur.