TORONTO, CAN — October 29, 2020 — A new SAP study conducted in partnership with IDC Canada discovered that companies that were well into their digital transformation, performed better through the COVID-19 pandemic, while companies without a robust digital strategy are being left behind.

The study found that while 95 per cent of enterprises surveyed had established a formal digital strategy, up from 85 per cent in 2019, most companies were at wildly different stages on their journey to becoming a digitally transformed “intelligent enterprise.”

Of the 17 per cent of Canadian enterprises identified as Intelligent Enterprise (IE) Leaders, 82 per cent have a digital strategy that is fully integrated into the core of the business or is complete and already producing significant results. At the other end of the spectrum, 98 per cent of Canadian enterprises categorized as IE Observers (14%) are only just beginning to build their digital strategies or executing on them. This divide in digital readiness has revealed a clear connection between COVID-19 resiliency and IE progress.

The study examined the impact of COVID-19 on organizations’ revenue, workforce, operational capacity, and facilities. While these core business functions have been impacted in two thirds of Canadian enterprises, IE Leaders have been more resilient, with 14 per cent of IE Leaders indicating they expect a revenue increase during the pandemic.

“Over the five years that we have been conducting this study with IDC, Canadian organizations have progressed well on their journey to becoming Intelligent Enterprise Leaders. However, the pandemic has reinforced just how vital a fully incorporated digital strategy is to a business’s ability to be agile and —  ultimately resilient — in the face of crisis and major shifts in the way they do business,” said Sam Masri, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Canada. “The silver lining is that organizations are realizing the value of technology and the need for a strategic approach to transformation. This shows promise in bridging the digital divide in Canada.”

“Prior to COVID-19 we made some important decisions regarding our infrastructure that enabled us, through the first few months of the pandemic, to be agile and nimble while we supported our Guests and Team Members,” said Alicia Samuel, Vice President Information Technology at Longos. “This meant that at the start of the pandemic, our e-commerce site was available to our Guests while we had unprecedented volumes of traffic on our websites, and we were able to shift quickly to introduce options such as “Buy Online Pick Up In-Store”. Our infrastructure decisions and strong executive leadership during COVID-19 enabled us to continue to service our Guests and take care of our Team Members.”

The new study also found key attributes that have helped IE Leaders remain resilient through the pandemic:

  • 49 per cent of IE Leaders are very willing to adjust their workforce mix to support digital initiatives, compared with only 7 per cent of IE Observers.
  • 91 per cent of IE Leaders believe it is very important to improve employee experience while improving customer experience, compared to 42 per cent of IE Observers.
  • 47 per cent of IE Leaders have a change management strategy that is fully integrated into the digital strategy, as compared with IE Observers, who either are still developing a change management strategy or do not have one at all.

“According to our survey, 78 per cent of IE leaders utilize digital technologies to make incremental and continuous changes to the core business,” said Tony Olvet, Group Vice President, Research Domains, IDC Canada. “Through COVID-19, this has allowed IE Leaders to remain agile and prioritize projects that enable them to stay resilient over the crisis and provide a foundation that will support recovery and growth in the long run – such as building resilient supply chains. In contrast, IE Observers have largely been focused on more fundamental initiatives to shore up internal operations, such as planning and finance.”

Created by IDC Canada, The Intelligent Enterprise: Building an Agile and Resilient Business, can be read here.

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About SAP

SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent enterprise. As a market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

About the Study

In June 2020 IDC completed a survey of 371 organization strategy decision makers or influencers with $50 million+ in revenue and a minimum of 100 employees (Canada =266, France=53, Australia=52). The study objective was to examine the progress of digital strategy, explore pathways to the intelligent enterprise, and examine the role of experience management in Canadian enterprises.

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