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From Pause to Progress: Prioritizing Digital Transformation Journey

Since its first publication in 2016, NOVIPRO GROUP/Leger’s annual IT Trends Report has become an indispensable reference for examining the state of the information technology landscape among Canadian small, medium, and large enterprises.

 This latest edition once again explores today’s corporate landscape in Canada, where companies find themselves in a reflective pause, still struggling with the reverberations of the global pandemic and ensuing macro-economic pressures. Despite recognizing the tremendous potential offered by digital modernization solutions. In fact, corporate technology investments have reached their lowest point in six years, a situation that's complicating the long-awaited economic recovery.

Artificial Intelligence Boosts Productivity

With the emergence of ChatGPT at the consumer level and even more advanced data analytics tools being offered to enterprise, many multinational companies have taken bold steps investing in artificial intelligence. Some have even announced a decision to augment or replace a significant number of open positions with this new technology over the next few years.

In Canada, 54% of companies report positive outcomes from implementing advanced data analysis and artificial intelligence, or, they are currently in the process of implementing them. Of companies planning to invest in these technologies in the coming years, their objectives include increased productivity (30%) and the automation of manual processes (18%).

While some companies have yet to embark on this digital journey, three quarters of organizations anticipate that advanced data analysis and artificial intelligence will transform their industries. The latest advancements in this field offer innovative solutions such as automation of repetitive tasks, process optimization, and coding. Companies must seize this opportunity to become more competitive and resilient in the face of today’s economic and staffing challenges.

However, our study shows that investments are falling short of expectations – or worse, even declining. Only 13% of companies plan to invest in these areas within the next two years, compared with 36% in 2019. For 42% of organizations, cost represents the main obstacle, followed by lack of resources (31%) and inflation (21%).

Over the past year, we’ve seen remarkable technological advancements, particularly in the realm of artificial intelligence. Companies should not underestimate the lightning pace at which AI will grow and the competitive advantages it can create, even amid the difficulties of the current market.

Insufficient Cybersecurity Upgrades

Companies report that socio-economic factors such as remote work (65%) and labour shortages (56%) have prompted them to review their security practices.

Unfortunately however, while cybersecurity risks continue to evolve, most companies have no plans to invest in the upgrades necessary to safeguard their operations. Only 41% plan to invest in data privacy, 33% in system backups, 29% in cyber threat awareness training, and 26% in vulnerability management. This decline is surprising considering Quebec’s LAW-25 and Canada’s Bill C-27, which hold organizations criminally and financially accountable for data breaches.

This trend is also concerning, given that 20-25% of companies continue to fall prey to cyber threats, which can be costly: 57% of targeted organizations opt to pay the ransom. In 25% of cases, the costs associated with a cyber threat exceed $500,000.

Although most companies consider themselves adequately protected against cyberattacks, they are almost duty-bound on-going investments in security to remain current to the challenges of the present day threatscape. Only this way can corporate assets be properly safeguarded.

Digital Transformation: Essential for Economic Recovery

In 2022, the inflation rate reached a peak not seen in 40 years. According to our report, this factor prompted 69% of companies to reconsider their technology investments. Moreover, 45% of organizations say workforce shortages have negatively impacted their projects.

While nearly one in four companies (28%) believe they have little or basic expertise to quickly adapt to technological changes, it is increasingly vital that they take action.

This seventh edition of the IT Report highlights the diversity of solutions within our reach to address macro-economic challenges. For example, advanced analysis tools could lessen the workforce burden for the 62% of companies that use spreadsheet-based tools (such as Excel files) to manage their data manually. Organizations expecting to invest in automation over the next two years aim to increase productivity (51%), reduce costs (41%), and address workforce shortages (25%).

In the coming year(s), IT investments must be prioritized to align with emerging technologies that drive business innovation and competitive advantage. Companies will thrive by exploring opportunities offered by artificial intelligence, advanced data analytics and other automation solutions that sit at the forefront of enterprise technology. I encourage managers to look toward the future with optimism and seize the promising opportunities at hand. Let’s invest in an efficient digital transformation journey to maintain our digital health and help revitalize our economic growth!

Read NOVIPRO Group and Leger’s Annual IT Trends Report on Canadian Small, Medium, and Large Enterprises: https://bit.ly/3NgIQwM