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What's the Difference Between IT and Digital?

Posted on the 18 November 2013 by Discerningdigital @DigiDiscern

Digital… Everything

Digital, IT, technology…these terms have become somewhat interchangeable as we all become more engaged with technology, from smartphones to social media. Everything seems to be 'going digital'. Businesses, TV, radio; even baby monitors. But if no one is clarifying the meaning of these words, then it's even harder for business owners and marketers to make the most of them.
What does the term digital actually mean? How does it differ from IT? If you've ever wondered about the answers to these questions, fear not – you're far from alone. In this post we've outlined what we think the main differences are.

The digital driving experience

IT - The Engine

IT or Information Technology typically refers to 'back office' functions using technology – think of it as an engine, under the hood, driving the rest of the business forward.

IT includes:

  • Hosting and computer networks.
  • Smartphone and computer provisioning by your IT department.
  • Security and anti-virus.
  • Corporate email accounts.
  • Help with using systems.
  • Installing computer programs and software.

It may help to think of IT as being anything concerned with the infrastructure supporting services and people in their use of computers and devices.

Digital – The Driving Experience

Digital is less based in the how; it's more about the use of such technologies. If IT is the engine under the hood of a car, think of digital as the experience of driving it. It's what you do with the technology.

Digital typically describes the modern means by which you communicate and build relationships with employees, customers and other stakeholders online, and is often referred to as a discipline within business, marketing or media.

It can include:

  • Websites.
  • Mobile web and apps.
  • Social media.
  • Email marketing.
  • Search.

These terms are all digital - they use technology to achieve a goal.

IT and Digital

It can be easy to confuse the two as there are often areas of overlap - websites and mobile apps can be both whereas hosting can sometimes sit within the digital team. In every organisation, you may see variation.

Understanding the crucial differences between IT and digital can help you visualise the uses for both in your business and help you identify where you can be using each to improve processes, generate revenues and connect more closely with your customers.

What's most important to note is that the two are intrinsically linked, and both need the other to offer maximum impact and value.

Do you agree with our definitions? How do you define the differences between IT and digital in your organisation? Feel free to comment below.

Digital Transformation Checklist


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