Canadian executives lag behind their foreign counterparts when it comes to digital transformation, according to a recent “Digital IQ” test by international consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

According to the company’s latest Digital IQ report, released on March 29, Canadian organizations were:

  • Less likely than their international counterparts – 46 per cent versus 63 per cent – to rank a lack of properly skilled teams among their top barriers to getting results from digital technology, highlighting a lack of attention paid to training or hiring talent;
  • Less likely – 13 versus 19 per cent – to expect digital investments to improve decision making;
  • Less likely – 17 versus 24 per cent – to see creating a digitally savvy workforce as the most important digital initiative they can invest in;
  • Less likely – 47 per cent versus 52 per cent – to see “digital” in a holistic light; and
  • More than twice as likely – 30 versus 14 per cent – to define “digital” only as customer-facing technology.

However – as you might have gathered from those numbers – the truth is the majority of organizations are no better equipped today to handle digital disruption than they were in 2007, when PwC released its first Digital IQ report, the company said.

In a March 29 statement Nadir Hirji, partner strategy and lead with PwC Canada’s digital services division, said that Canadian organizations aren’t falling behind so much as struggling to keep up with constant technological change – and that they need to create a digital culture now if they want to stay ahead of the competition.

“Digital and technology is not a future agenda item,” he said. “Organizations that invest in the right skills and foster a strong digital culture will emerge as winners in the digital era.”

The Canadian organizations who see “digital” only as customer facing initiatives are making a particularly egregious error, he noted.

“This is only half the potential, and by ignoring employee or digital operational improvement, Canadian organizations are at a risk of being left behind,” Hirji said.

That said, Canadian executives are ahead of the competition when it comes to building teams dedicated to digital innovation – 54 per cent versus 43 per cent – and encouraging CIOs to develop new digital services and business models (67 versus 48 per cent).

In general, PwC noted, Canadian executives consider digital strategy, cybersecurity, and data analytics “quite important” or “highly important skills” for their business, and see outdated technology and integrating new data and solutions as their biggest barrier to achieving results from digital transformation efforts.

The report highlights eight technologies that Canadian organizations should consider as part of their technology mix: Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, 3D printing, augmented reality (AR), drones, blockchain, and virtual reality (VR).

We’ve collected PwC’s key 2017 Digital IQ statistics and insights into an infographic below (click for a larger version), or you can access the full report here.


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