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Realizing the Value of Digital through Digitalization

By Jason Galloway and Jessica Athavale, KPMG

In today’s rapidly transforming environment, organizations are pressured to accelerate their investments in the creation and conversion of content, assets, and data to scale services and products across a multitude of digital channels. Despite the move towards digital, many organizations continue to operate using 20th century, analog processes and capabilities. So, while the final asset or experience might be digital, many companies have yet to become truly digitally enabled enterprises. To become a truly digital, companies must embrace three changes. First, companies must actualize digitalization; the adoption and integration of technologies, processes, data and analytics designed for digital work. Second, companies must take advantage of digitization opportunities by converting physical assets into digital assets. Third, companies must normalize around the development of content, assets, data, and information in a digital format.


Digitalization is the adoption and integration of the technologies, processes / workflows, and data / analytics required to optimize value from being digital.

Digitization is the process of converting a physical asset into a digital version so a computer can store, process and transmit its information.

Digital commonly describes content, data, information, or systems that are created, managed, or stored electronically on a computerized database.


Marketing organizations are notably prone to pursuing digital output using 20th century, analog processes. We see marketers face significant operating and performance challenges today due to manual and disconnected ways of working, common of physical world processes. Some examples of this include planning and budgeting across multiple spreadsheets, or intaking content requests via email communications or manually generating data insights across disparate systems. In particular, digital content is an area that creates the major challenge for marketers as the processes used for creation and management are decidedly physical world. As integral as content marketing is to the success of marketing today, many firms have yet to embrace digitalization of the content value chain.

Digitalization of Your Content Value Chain

Marketers tend to believe the development of digital content, by default, means they have a digitally enabled content value chain. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. At the highest level, the digitalization of your content value chain must occur across each of the six value chain stages.

The Content Value Chain

Frequently, the creation, distribution and management processes marketers use for digital content is eerily similar to processes used for physical content. So, while the final content is digitally formatted and stored, the process activities, inputs and outputs are not. Some key characteristics of the physical content processes include:

  • Content is developed from scratch for one-time use in a dedicated channel, with limited opportunities for customization or localization 
  • Lengthy content development cycle times due to manual review and approval workflows and need for extensive agency involvement 
  • Lack of coordination and clear pipeline visibility between marketers and agencies, resulting in the creation of duplicative content 
  • Push distribution of content to users regardless of content’s relevancy and consumer’s need/ability to utilize which results from analog’s inability to provide timely, contextual data to guide content distribution  
  • Limited accessibility or findability of content as it is stored in unrelated storage systems across different marketing groups and agencies 

Physical-world content processes lack the frameworks and capabilities for organizations to automate, scale, measure, and govern required to be competitive in today’s digital marketplace. Marketing organizations that prioritize the digitalization of their content value chain are able to both improve the effectiveness of their digital content, while driving efficiencies in operating cost and time.

For successful digitalization of the content value chain, marketers must:

  1. Leverage new digital asset management technology  

Adopting a digital asset management (DAM) system is critical to access, manage, and store digital content. It centralizes and maintains digital assets in their complete and component parts, reducing the need to recreate net new and instances of duplication. A DAM system allows marketers to quickly access, find, and update digital assets by enriching assets with custom metadata and tags. Marketing organizations that prioritize the digitalization of their content value chain integrate the use of their digital asset management (DAM) technology across the organization, allowing for greater time and cost efficiencies through automation and self-service solutions.

  1. Improve existing processes and workflows  

Moving existing processes managed across manual documents (e.g. Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoints) into digital workflow management tools enables efficient, streamlined processes and data transparency. A workflow management tool allows for the real-time visibility, orchestration, and automation of the entire content process across the value chain. Automated, digital workflows can achieve cross-functional alignment, faster cycle times and approvals, streamlined tracking, and reduced risk. A workflow management tool can be leveraged to centralize tasks, reviews, and automate alerts to allow for the transparent and seamless communication of content feedback and approval across stakeholder groups. 

  1. Effectively leverage digitized data to measure performance 

Existing content processes and performance can be enhanced by integrating and leveraging digitized data in reporting tools. The process of digitizing your content assets means that information and data associated with those assets will also be digitally stored. Building a digital foundation for managing digitized data enables the capabilities to automatically capture key information and insights to more effectively distribute and measure digital content. Establishing a solid digital data foundation starts with identifying the right KPIs and consolidating the right data to measure content effectiveness and operational performance. It also requires that data be ported into established reporting mechanisms to allow for marketers to integrate and generate data into comprehensive reports and insights.

  1. Adopt new ways of operating and digital-first mindsets 

As marketing organizations start establishing digital processes and capabilities across the content value chain, they must embrace the shift in how work is getting done, how technology is utilized, and how data is captured and reported. Marketing organizations must solidify digital foundational structures, adopt new ways of operating, and instill digital-first cultural mindsets. A digital-first cultural mindset: seeks opportunities for digitization; shifts from prioritizing the creation of net new to, encouraging the coordination, re-creation, transcreation, and repurposing of content; makes full use of power digitalization has brought to content value chain processes. These mind shifts, ultimately, improve utilization and cost value of content across the organization. Without a solid operating framework in place and a shift in mindset and behaviors, organizations will face challenges in full digitalization of content processes.

While taking these four key actions may seem considerable, the benefits realized are more than worth the effort. The chart below illustrates how digitalization across the content value chain can come to life and some of the benefits realized.

StepHallmarks of DigitalizationBenefits Realized
Plan-Centralized, automated calendaring capabilities to improve pipeline visibility and coordinate alignment on priorities-Integrated operations
-Increased flexibility and organizational alignment
Procure-Digital assets with metadata tags which are easily searchable in a centralized repository for reuse
-Digitally signed agency agreements ease onboarding and management across the content lifecycle
-Reduction in marketing spend
-Increase in conte
nt reuse
Develop-Centralized markup and annotation functionality to easily accommodate asset changes and versioning
-Online coauthoring capabilities facilitate collaboration
-Content translation is automated and localized for various regions
-Content creation is automated through the use of templates and modularization
-Increased capacity / throughput
-Reduction in errors
-Reduction in direct labor costs
-Faster response times
Distribute-Automated content distribution capabilities to scale campaigns to targeted audiences and testing strategies across multiple channels-Reduction in waste (unused content)
Manage-Digitized assets are archived and governed in a single, central digital asset repository making archiving, managing and governing assets easy
-Automated content categorization to scale content management and recognition
-Content reuse
-Improved content findability / accessibility
Measure-Centralized cross-channel data is updated real-time to provide accurate and reliable insights on content performance-Increase effectiveness
-Improved data transparency

Getting Started with Content Operations Digitalization

Producing digital assets / content does not mean your organization has fully embraced being digital.

Marketing, organizations need to strategize and plan for a future that adopts digitalization, if they wish to realize the full value of digital content. KPMG’s Marketing Consulting team can help you identify the opportunities for digitization and build the capabilities and technical solutions for true content digitalization. If you are interested in transforming your content operating model, KPMG is interested in partnering with you. Let’s start the conversation.

Jason Galloway, Principle, Marketing Consulting Practice Lead, jasongalloway@kpmg.com

Jessica Athavale, Senior Associate, Marketing Consulting, jathavale@kpmg.com

What is Digitization?

By Ben Walton, CHAMPtitles

Digitization is the process of creating a digital representation of something of value, resulting in what is called a “digital asset”. So, what is a digital asset? 

Let’s break that down. First, the asset part. 

According to the MerriamWebster dictionary, one definition of an asset is “an item of value owned”. Value can be monetary and/or give an individual access to something else. Ownership is required so that the asset can be transacted upon for a specific entity be it an individual, company, trust, etc. For any asset, there will be certain rules that define ownership, verification, and transference (if possible). 

An example of an asset is a music festival wristband. It has the monetary value of what it cost to buy and gives an individual access to the concert venue. Ownership is defined as possessing the wristband. Verification happens at the festival venue when the staff visually checks the wristband to confirm its authenticity. To transfer the wristband from one individual to another, the owner physically hands it over.  

Now, let’s define the digital part. 

For an asset to be considered digital, there are two key components. First, the asset’s information must be stored electronically. Second, the electronic information should be coded in a format that makes it receivable and acceptable to third parties. Simply put, the electronic asset must have utility to the original creator and any future owner. It is important to note that encryption and immutable ownership records are not a pre-requisite for digital assets, but as society looks to store more valuable assets in digital form, these features have grown in importance as they ensure the asset is correctly and honestly used to prevent theft, fraud, and forgery.  

Let’s consider the evolution of the humble concert ticket. Years ago, a paper ticket was used to enter the concert venue. The venue staff would tear off a portion of the ticket to show that it had been used. Nowadays, we receive an email of the ticket with a specific QR code. Once you arrive at the venue, the staff scans the code to confirm its authenticity and permit entrance. The concert ticket with the QR code has the same authority as the original physical ticket. Now why does this matter?  

When dealing with an asset that enables a person to access valuable benefits from the state or an employer, there needs to be a heightened degree of security to assure the legitimacy and provenance of the asset. An example is an asset like a birth certificate that provides an official government-issued record of a person’s birth and is generally required for school registration. So, for an electronic birth certificate to be considered “digital”, it must be accepted by the school as valid proof of one’s name, sex, and date and place of birth, meaning the digital version allows for the same action as the physical one.  

We can now conclude that a digital asset is electronically stored information that defines an owned item of value and has the same authority as the non-digital asset (if one exists or existed). By establishing this common definition of a digital asset, we can start the conversation around creating them and then using them. We can begin to explore the possibilities of what they can do, how they can be created, the internals of implementation, and so much more.  

Before we can dive into the specifics of digitization and digital assets, we should understand the argument for pursuing digitization. That is up next.