IDC Canada Report Reveals Cautious Progress In Digital Innovation

Sam Masri

IDC Canada recently launched new research in partnership with SAP Canada: Igniting Canadian innovation in the digital economy. This is a follow-up to last year’s IDC research, which made a splash across Canada when it revealed that only 16% of Canadian businesses had started to take action on their digital transformation plans.

This year’s study of 300 Canadian executives at large and mid-sized organizations across different industries paints a more positive picture, but also warns that there is still a long way to go. While awareness of the digital economy as a concept is now at 89% among Canadian executives—up from 49% last year—only 38% of businesses in the country are at work executing their digital strategies.

While Canadian businesses have progressed well since last year, we should not have a false sense of optimism. 62% are still seeking a way out of “planning mode”—with 50% planning and building their strategy and 12% lagging behind trying to figure out exactly what their plan is.

When evaluating the results, the research team considered if this can be explained by a lack of sense of urgency, but that didn’t prove to be true. Last year, only one-third of surveyed organizations said they are expecting a major impact of digital on their businesses. This was surprising, and feedback suggested that the impact of digital and adoption rates should be much higher. This year more than 76% of the surveyed organizations reported that they are already seeing non-traditional companies invading their competitive space, and 74% believe their industry is facing a tsunami of change over the next two years.

Yet again, half of Canadian organizations are still in planning mode. There is no question that Canadian enterprise has awakened to digital transformation, yet they are not acting fast enough.

This can only be explained by productivity and execution challenges—the human element of driving the innovation agenda. 72% of the surveyed executives said that Canadian organizations are lagging in productivity.

In the press release issued to launch the new report, IDC Canada said, “Organizations really paid attention to the digital transformation message in 2016, but this year they need to turn that thinking into doing. Canadian leaders must also take a broader view of digital transformation and competition, and look beyond Canada and outside of their industry.”

SAP Transformation Office published two industry-leading white papers last year on the technology advancements that are shaping up our digital world, and how the combined effect of these advancements is creating a whole new set of business capabilities that allow enterprises to reimagine their business processes—and more importantly, reimagine their business models altogether.

This year, the research aimed to understand how different industries in Canada have progressed against these capabilities, and which business models Canadian industries are exploring as part of their digital plans. The report is packed with statistics comparing Canadian businesses and their global peers, statistics  on the digitization of Canadian industries, and transformation stories from the likes of Aldo, Ultima Foods, Graham Construction, the City of Toronto, and Maple Leaf Foods.

In subsequent blogs, I will share some of the unique industry capabilities digital is enabling for every industry, and the factors we have seen to be most effective in helping organizations get out of a planning trap and start the execution of digital strategies.

These are exciting yet often daunting times for businesses across the world as they strive to become key players in the digital economy. This new report shows that in Canada progress is being made. Hard work is still ahead of us, but with certain execution levers put in place, there is a great opportunity to achieve further progress throughout 2017. Read the report here.

Sam Masri

About Sam Masri

Sam Masri is the Chief Operating Officer for SAP in Canada. He leads SAP Canada's strategy, operations, and innovation teams including solution, value and industry advisory, with the core mandate of helping SAP customers leverage digital innovations to become intelligent enterprises.