June 5 , 2014

Canadian businesses committed to digital technology

TORONTO– Established Canadian businesses can improve competitiveness by turning their strong commitment to digital technologies into more effective digital business models, says ‘CEO Briefing 2014 – The Global Agenda: Competing in a Digital World,’ a report by Accenture. The study shows that Canadian business leaders understand the connection between digital business models and growth better than many of their global counterparts, but have yet to fully anchor their global digital strategy at the level of the CEO.

The majority of Canadian executives (51 per cent) say that their digital investments are focused primarily on driving growth opportunities rather than on achieving efficiencies, versus only 31 per cent of the executives surveyed outside Canada. This suggests that Canadian businesses are more growth oriented with their digital investments than those in any other mature economy.

Even so, responsibility for digital innovation in Canadian enterprises is most likely to rest with a technology role, with 35 per cent citing the CIO and 27 per cent the CTO. Less than a quarter of Canadian respondents (23 per cent) say responsibility for digital innovation rests with the CEO. That differs from responses of business executives in the global sample, of which 35 per cent say the CEO is most commonly the leader of the digital agenda. Further, nearly four in 10 Canadian executives say that one of the most significant challenges they face when implementing digital initiatives is the lack of senior executive support.

Canadian business leaders are showing strong enthusiasm about the role that digital transformation will play in improving business performance, according to the study. They are more likely than their counterparts in the U.S. and other major markets to consider all of the major digital technologies important to their company in 2014, including data analytics (cited by 73 per cent), mobile (77 per cent), social media (64 per cent), machine-to-machine communication (65 per cent), e-commerce (82 per cent) and cloud computing (65 per cent).  

The study reveals that Canadian executives are optimistic about the economic and business outlook in 2014 compared to respondents elsewhere. Eighty nine per cent are positive about the prospects for their company in 2014 compared to 78 per cent of U.S. respondents and 76 per cent of the global sample. Against this backdrop, however, Canadian companies appear less likely than their U.S. and global peers to increase investment in research and development in 2014. Seventy one per cent of Canadian respondents indicated that such investment will increase this year, compared to 80 per cent of global respondents and 87 per cent of those in the U.S.

The Accenture report outlines a number of steps that can help businesses to effectively capitalize on their digital investments:

  • Redefine ‘digital’ and understand that all customers are digital customers . Companies must adapt their customer facing models to better serve customers who are 'always on', continuously revaluating their purchase options and using multiple channels to engage with brands.

  • Defend against potential disrupters and seek opportunities to disrupt . Established companies can compete against new entrants by using their existing relationships, customer base and supply chain competitiveness to proactively enter new market segments and create innovative customer experiences.

  • Deploy digital technologies to reshape operations and become a digital enterprise . In addition to digitizing their products for customers, Canadian companies must also digitize their own internal operations to become more cost competitive and agile in the face of competition. This includes applying analytics and cloud applications to improve operational performance.     

To read the full report, visit www.accenture.ca/CEOBriefing2014





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