The Difference Between Digitizing And Digital Transformation

‘Going digital’ is nothing new. That is if you’re a firm that embraces, rather than resists, change. For the latter included, trends have been the bane of some of the industry’s most reputable firms for decades. However, as new technology emerges at a faster rate than ever before, incorporating new tools and solutions has become unavoidable. 

For PE/VCs unwilling to adapt to change, they aren’t only at risk—they’re now being left behind by the firms willing to evolve. After all, digital transformation is simply a business transformation that’s enabled by digitalization. 

Confused by the difference? Keep reading as we dive into what it means to go digital versus transform digitally and unveil key strategies and examples PE/VCs can pull from now to drive future, firm-wide transformation.

Simply ‘Going Digital’ Isn’t Enough 

You don’t need us to tell you that the sudden push to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic was messy for managers and employees alike. But the silver lining that emerged was the accelerated pace at which many firms began implementing digital initiatives (whether reluctantly or not). However, most firms stopped there, taking the “business-as-usual” route, layering technology on top of current operations. That’s what digitizing is. 

Digital transformation, on the other hand, takes things a step further. Instead of layering technology on top of current workflows, PE/VCs can integrate solutions with current workflows. To do that requires critical thinking and a strategic outlook to build real, long-term competitive advantages that will drive success well into the future. Through these value-adding solutions, firms stand a chance to truly transform the industry and the “status quo” as a whole. 

To get on the right track, start by reimagining your place in the world or where you’d like it to be. Then, instead of narrowly focusing on digitizing what you already do, begin to plan out how you can add value throughout the entire organization to help you all reach that common goal.   

Differentiate Through Digital Transformation

Taking your industry to a transformational place first requires you to pose and answer transformational questions. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and dismantled the supply chain, companies like Philips, Microsoft, and Komatsu took the challenges head-on. 

By asking themselves tough questions like:

  • “Why are we here? 
  • “What unique value are we adding for clients?”
  • “How can we improve?” 

…these organizations were able to transform a problem into a transformation opportunity to step up, disrupt, and become leaders in the digital age


Pre-Covid, Philips was on a trajectory to grow as a multi-industry, manufacturing-centric conglomerate. However, when COVID-19 struck, Philips left its foundational business of making electric bulbs and manufacturing equipment and honed in on its strengths: distributing products at scale and uniting hardware, software, clinical skill, and AI-empowered experiences. 

Pulling from these strengths, Philips was able to design and supply new ventilators in mass quantities, turning a challenge into an opportunity to develop a new way of doing business (and a new stream of revenue).


Tech giant Microsoft recently reinvented its legacy organization, shifting focus to tailored services aligned to hyper-specific customer needs.  

By shifting strategic focus, Microsoft has been able to act as a digital-first responder to the world’s first responders throughout COVID-19, achieving historic levels of cloud revenue growth through activities like supporting universities to shift their complete business online.   


Construction company Komatsu has always maintained a reputation for being widely non-tech. That is, up until a few years ago. Through machinery that uses GPS, digital mapping, sensors, and IoT connections, Komatsu can empower their clients with more efficient solutions for using their equipment. 

Whatsmore, Komatsu’s digital platform – Landlog – allows customers, competitors, and other companies in the industry to seamlessly coordinate activities and communications, skyrocketing efficiency across a development project.  Today, Komatsu continues to emerge as a leader in digitally enabled smart construction solutions – a complete transformation from where they were in pre-pandemic times. 

Transformation: Powered by Altvia

Without fundamental business change, digitization on its own is a road leading to nowhere. To implement a strategy that will yield transformational results, you need software designed to keep up and grow with you – that’s where Altvia can help.

To learn more about our firm-specific solutions, start a conversation with our team.