Canadian companies are matching and in many ways exceeding their international counterparts when it comes to investing in digital technology, according to the 2015 Digital IQ Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

That’s the good news. The bad news is that only 24 per cent of the annual survey’s Canadian respondents believe that “digital” refers to all investments being made to integrate technology into every aspect of a business, and while researchers have long found a correlation between a CEO’s commitment to investing in digital technology and how well it’s applied to the organization, this year’s survey revealed that Canadian CEOs lag behind their international counterparts, with only 65 per cent considered “digital champions” by the executives under them – a number the report’s Canadian supplement says it hopes to see “increase significantly.”

“Digital encompasses a broad set of trends and capabilities that are challenging Canadian organizations to innovate,” Philip Grosch, PwC Canada’s national digital services leader, said in a statement. “Digital has already had a profound impact on the way we use data to create insights and on the way technology is deployed by the enterprise in the age of Cloud. Organizations need to weave these realities into all aspects of their business—their strategy, structure, how they engage with employees and customers and how they innovate and deploy new technologies.”

Globally 41 per cent of survey respondents said that “digital” refers to all investments made to integrate technology into every aspect of a company’s operations, and 73 per cent have CEOs who are seen as digital champions.

However, Canada led or was in line with international trends when it came to nine other digital technology-related practices identified by PwC in the survey, which has been conducted every year since 2007.

For example, more than half – 64 per cent – of Canadian respondents said they had a multi-year digital enterprise plan – what PwC called a “digital roadmap” – compared to 53 per cent globally (see below). More than three quarters said they effectively use whatever data they gather to increase their company’s value, compared to only 58 per cent globally. And a sizable majority – 86 per cent – said they consistently measure outcomes from digital investments, versus 72 per cent globally.

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Other suggested practices surveyed by PwC included making sure that the executives responsible for digital technology were involved in planning high-level business strategies (82 percent of Canadian respondents, compared to 77 per cent globally), that they actively engage with other sources to gather new ideas (68 per cent in Canada, versus 64 per cent globally), making enterprise investments in digital to gain a competitive advantage, (80 per cent of Canadian respondents, versus 76 per cent globally), and proactively evaluating and planning for security and privacy risks as part of digital enterprise projects (83 per cent in Canada, compared to 76 per cent globally).

Worldwide, PwC’s survey also discovered that a range of executives were responsible for digital enterprise investments, and just how much digital IQ varied across industries, unlike another recent PwC study, this time around the technology industry came out on top.

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Here’s an infographic showing how Canadian companies and executives compare to the rest of the world when it comes to embracing digital:

PwC survey - Digital CEOs

 

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