Digitalization: A Concept Easier to Talk about than to Understand

Pasi Hellsten, Annamaija Paunu

Abstract

Many organizations have come to rely on digitalization to solve many issues. Today knowledge is an equal production factor besides the traditional ones; capital, natural resources, and work. Thus, there is an ever-growing need for getting the information in, sorted, and used. Digitalization is widely used phrase with many definitions, quite often case-specifically. We show that the existing definitions are not very precise and through two studies investigating executed digitalization initiatives we point out that the reality does not always respect earlier findings. Through the comparison we present questions to be answered in later research. However, business environments and technologies are often unique and thus not all recent issues are taken into consideration. We take business intelligence (BI) as a framework to draw a picture of organizational processes and to give context for the features to be taken into account when discussing digitalization, ie. technological side and the human oriented aspects.

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