Canadian companies risking competitive position by putting off digital innovation

TORONTO, Canada — April. 07, 2016 — Canadian executives are putting their business’s survival at stake by failing to appreciate the effects of a digital economy, according to an IDC InfoDoc released today by SAP Canada Inc., a subsidiary of SAP SE (NYSE: SAP). The warning comes after IDC research found that 67% of surveyed executives don’t see the digital economy having a major impact on their business today.

Of the 33% who believe they are being or will be impacted, IDC noted they were also more likely to believe early adopters of the digital economy model are winning competitively in their industry, and that new competitors can appear quickly and from non-traditional areas.

Tony Olvet, Group Vice President, IDC Canada says: “Two-thirds of Canadian executives are either not currently feeling a competitive threat or their customer base hasn’t radically changed. However, for many of these organizations, digital transformation is inevitable and missing or ignoring threats and opportunities is a risky position to take.

“Canadian organizations have to take seriously the risk of customers migrating to competitors that offer a better digital experience. They also have to consider that the emerging workplace demographic is ‘wired’, and has never known anything different. Throw in the new possibility of ‘digital disruptor’ start-ups taking huge market share seemingly overnight, and it’s clear that all Canadian organizations are dealing with a wide range of threats in the digital economy.”

Despite this, the IDC report revealed that only 17% of Canadian organizations have integrated a digital transformation plan into their corporate strategy. Commenting on this, John Graham, President of SAP Canada Inc., says: “Lots of organizations become paralyzed – they struggle to define what a digital strategy is to them.

“They can build traction by breaking ‘digital strategy’ down into areas they can act on. It helps to ask a handful of questions about how digital could or should change what an organization does or how they do it. Companies should start thinking big and asking the hard questions to build strong IT and business teams and foster workable collaboration between them. There’s no reason any company, large or small, should not have a clear perspective on its own digital future.”

Bombardier Recreational Products (“BRP”), a leading recreational products manufacturer, is an example of a Canadian company embracing digital channels to reach its customer base. Following the success of its digital marketing strategy, the company is now looking to integrate digital technology to enhance other areas of the business, such as sales, manufacturing, distribution, and support functions.

Hassan el Bouhali, CIO of BRP, says: “Digital is an enabler of every aspect of our business. This is where the role of the CIO is – becoming transformational, facilitating and enabling business process transformation across the enterprise.”

Visit this webpage to learn more about digital transformation in Canada and register now for Art of the Possible, a half-day event on April 12th in Toronto, to hear how leading brands Under Armour and McInnis Ciment are transforming through digital innovation.

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