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Canadian firms lack digital transformation vision: Report

Canadian firms lack digital transformation vision: Report 

A study conducted by analysts firm IDC Canada and sponsored by enterprise software company SAP found that only 17 per cent of Canada firms has so far managed to integrate their digital transformation plans to their corporate strategy and less than 50 per cent are allocating major dollar allotments for enabling technologies such as cloud software, analytics applications, cyber security and mobile solutions – this even as 84 per cent of those surveyed believed that today “every business is a technology business.”

The report titled Digital Transformation in Canadian Enterprise – Profound change on the horizon, is an analysis of 200 Canadian organizations and the role technology and the digital economy plays in the transformation of their business.


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This report is a good source of information for businesses and government agencies because SAP commissioned a study to examine Canadian line-of-business (LOB) and IT stakeholder viewpoints on the digital economy.

The survey sample included 200 senior decision makers — 134 LOBs and 66 CIO/IT professionals. Respondents included in the survey were knowledgeable about strategic plans and how technology fits into them.

The report also contains summaries of cases studies of Canadian organizations in both the business and public sectors which have been successful in their digital transformation journey.

“Canada, like other countries, is at an early stage of maturity with regards to digital transformation. IDC estimates overall maturity levels to be on par with Europe, but behind the U.S. and Asia/Pacific,” the report said.

According to IDC, three themes emerged in their study:

  • Canadian businesses recognize the importance of digital in the future – Sixty per cent of Canadian organizations expect the digital economy to have a major impact on their business in the next three to five years.
  • Few organizations have a clear strategy now  
  • Less than half of respondents were making the necessary investments in technology

Decision makers in large Canadian enterprises “have a foundational understanding of digital economy concepts and transformation, but do not have a good grasp of its implications for their organizations,” the report said.

This mindset extends through these enterprises, as two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents said the same was true for their organization’s top-level management.

“This leads to a lack of urgency, reflected in the views collected on the “impact of the digital economy on your organization,” according to IDC.

Only a third (33 per cent) see the digital economy having a major impact now, rising to 60 per cent expecting it to have a major impact in three to five years. IDC believes that the remaining two-thirds are either not currently feeling a competitive threat or their customer base hasn’t radically changed.

However, for many of these businesses, digital transformation is inevitable, and missing or ignoring the potential threats or opportunities is a risky position, the report said.

The numbers, according to IDC, reveals that Canadian organizations are “slow to initiate digital transformation.”

“On one hand, it is encouraging to see that the discussion of digital and its implications has started at most enterprises (86 per cent have done so), and some formal plans addressing the issue have been made at two-thirds (63 per cent),” IDC observed. “On the other hand, a meaningful commitment to embrace digital transformation through the integration with the overall strategy is still far away for most enterprises.”

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