What Is Data Digitization?

What Is Data Digitization?

Data is vital to modern businesses and lifestyles. Learn how and why to digitize your important data here.

What is data digitization? Put simply, it’s when you digitally process information so that it can be accessed independently of the original physical medium. You may have heard it referred to as information modernization or data abstraction. But why is data digitization so important?

Data is one of the most valuable resources to modern businesses— as The Economist famously stated in 2017, it’s now more valuable than oil. Hence, it’s become increasingly important to gather data from a vast time range and from a wide variety of resources.

Furthermore, new fields of technology such as machine learning require a significant amount of data to be presented and organized in specific ways. Although lots of data can already be found in digital formats, there’s a growing need to digitally access analog data requiring a solid data digitization plan for modern businesses.

Want to learn more about how data digitization is changing the way we work, and how to fully bring your workplace into the digital age? Check out our guide, The Complete Guide to Digitization.

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Typical forms of data that require digitization

To digitize data, organizations first need to scan and record all the information in its original format. This includes things like text, audio, video and images captured from different sources.

Analog data digitization

There’s a great deal of data with applications in a wide range of fields that’s only available in a physical format. The most common examples of this are paper receipts, invoices, forms and contracts. In the past, digitizing these data sources would be a lengthy process that involved transcribing the text by hand. However, modern scanners are specifically designed to transcribe text instantaneously, which drastically reduces the time and effort needed to digitize this information.

Did You Know?:The ScanSnap family of scanners easily digitizes a wide range of data, including receipts, documents, and photos. Click here to learn more.

Digital data digitization

It may sound redundant, but the truth is that a great deal of existing digital data needs further work in order to be fully harnessed by modern businesses. For example, image files may need to have their contents described in text for the benefit of visually impaired people. The inverse can be necessary for audio; transcribing speech into text is necessary to provide closed captions for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. There’s also the need to provide accurate metadata so that relevant data can be found through a search engine.

Why you should digitize your data

There are many reasons why data digitization is important for individuals and businesses. Because of this, it’s essential to understand what benefits this process can provide — it’s highly likely that there are aspects of your life that can be substantially improved by digitizing some of your data.

For businesses

Data digitization allows organizations to store more data while cutting down on costs and time spent on managing files. In some cases, data digitization even allows organizations to scale their operations by rapidly transmitting data over email or wireless networks. Digitization also makes data accessible when required — whether that’s at a client’s office or home, or during investigations at an organization’s request.

For individuals

Making personal data accessible through digitization and abstraction has led to improved healthcare standards and quality control for a wide range of products. Additionally, digitizing new forms of data in novel ways provides a better understanding of the world around us. This can manifest in unique ways, like weather data predicting your likelihood of exposure to COVID-19 or statistics from pro tournaments helping you perfect your golf swing. Personal data is collected by organizations to provide better products and services for consumers. For example, digitized data is used for:

In short, the ongoing democratization of data digitization is not only making the world’s business operations more efficient, it’s also helping to make life healthier, safer, and more accessible. This means that making your data accessible through digitization can make you healthier, safer, and more financially secure.

Did You Know?:The ScanSnap iX1600 can near-instantaneously upload both sides of your paper documents into cloud storage as editable files with accurate metadata.

How to digitize your data

It’s clear that data digitization has a profound impact on the world due to a plethora of useful applications in your personal and professional life. Now let’s discuss the best ways to handle this process.

Using a data digitization service

Many companies offer clients the ability to take large collections of unorganized and analog data and turn it into an easily accessible digital library. For example, a heavy and bulky filing cabinet filled with birth certificates, proofs of ownership, property deeds, car titles, and so on can be digitized and stored on a flash drive smaller than your thumb. Alternatively, an entire bookshelf full of photo albums can be uploaded onto a server to form a slideshow on your television or computer screen.

Some of the pricier options for data digitization can store your physical and digital data in a manner that is both safe and easily accessible, such as a server you can access via cloud computing. Alternatively, there are more affordable services that use cheaper labor and infrastructure, but cutting costs in this manner can increase the risk of data being lost, or worse.

Using a data digitization product

For smaller workloads, or for digitization tasks that will extend into the foreseeable future, owning and operating your own tools may present a better choice. For example, a well-made scanner with bundled-in scan-management software can provide similar services as a professional data digitization service — scanning physical documents, converting them into readable and editable file formats, and uploading them to cloud storage — for a fraction of the price.

For businesses looking to expand their in-house data digitization capabilities, we proudly recommend the full line of fi and SP Series scanners, which use a combination of high-quality hardware and purpose-built software to make digitizing data on an enterprise scale easy and efficient. For smaller businesses as well as individuals looking to improve their home office capabilities, the ScanSnap line offers high-end specs at an affordable price point — as well as deep integration with our powerful, easy-to-use ScanSnap Home software.