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IT dropouts: Big and mid-sized businesses missing the boat on IT

The major advances made possible through the judicious use of big data continue to impress. Companies that go all in to leverage their data are now able to anticipate their customers’ behaviour, predict market trends, and in some cases, boost their sales. However, a significant number of Canadian businesses are missing the boat, according to a new Leger study. When I read the data, I couldn’t help but draw an analogy with education because when it comes to IT, some of these “students” are having a harder time than others, as evidenced by the high “IT dropout” rate among Canadian businesses.

According to a survey conducted in December of 312 Canadian organizations with over 100 employees, 11% report having minimal or obsolete IT systems. Even more worrisome, 13% of respondents say that IT is a necessary evil, and 24% do not have a contingency plan in the event of a cyber attack, despite the high probability of such attacks. These numbers point to a large number of organizations we could refer to as “IT dropouts.”


From Netflix . . . to farm tractors

Technology is changing at a lightning clip—and it can be hard to keep up. When entering the market, most new players choose agile systems and capitalize on the benefits they offer. There was a lot of buzz when Netflix carefully analyzed Web users’ behaviour before launching House of Cards, a tailor-made series that delighted millions of viewers. But it would be wrong to think that big players and tech companies are the only ones reaping the benefits of big data and cloud computing. For instance, we are working with a farm tractor retailer to develop a system to allow them to anticipate sales—based on the amount of rainy and sunny weather. Drawing on a savvy combination of machinery inventory and weather data from recent years, the algorithm developed can accurately predict how much the company needs to keep in stock based on weather fluctuations.

The heightened pace of technological development can be a big headache for organizations that resist change—not only does their performance suffer, they also quickly fall behind and put their very survival at stake.

Even though IT is included in the business strategies of 79% of Canadian businesses, nearly 19% view this line item more as an expense than an investment, according to the survey.

Companies have everything to gain by putting IT front and centre in their business strategies.Modernizing their systems allows them not only to provide customers with innovative solutions but also to level the playing field with other organizations in their sector. 


Taking advantage of the 4th industrial revolution

You would think that our biggest economic players would be ahead of the game in this regard, but that’s not the case. The situation is disconcerting for TechnoMontréal, an industrial cluster that represents the information and communications technology sector in Greater Montreal. When it learned of the Leger survey findings, TechnoMontréal recalled the very important link between state-of-the-art technology and increases in productivity and competitiveness for businesses.Hopefully decision makers at mid-sized and big businesses get the message loud and clear. If not, it will be impossible for them to join the 4th industrial revolution, and the IT dropout problem will only get worse for businesses.

Has your company embraced the 4th industrial revolution?

To assess the importance of IT in your organization and see how you measure up against other Canadian companies, see the main trends of the 2017 NOVIPRO-Leger survey.