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Pre-COVID digital transformation was lagging in Canada: study

Pandemic has pushed future of work discussion to forefront


Prior to the disruption caused by the pandemic, the pace of digital transformation in Canada was lagging behind other parts of the world.

A new Canadian study conducted by Vanson Bourne and Dell Technologies surveyed workplace leaders from mid-size to enterprise organizations, shining a light on how the pandemic has placed technology and the future of work front and centre of businesses’ recovery in 2020.

Research shows:

  • 76 per cent of Canadian businesses estimate that less than 30 per cent of their workforce was working remotely before the pandemic
  • Today, 83 per cent believe more than 30 per cent are working remotely
  • While working remotely, only 34 per cent of Canadian respondents were able to say that having the right in-house digital skills enabled them to accelerate in 2020
  • Just 46 per cent could say that having an engaged leadership team (championing digital transformation) enabled them to accelerate.

Fast-tracking towards the future

Canadian businesses are rising to the occasion, accelerating their digital transformation efforts and achieving in a few short months, what would normally take them years.

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More than three quarters of Canadian businesses have fast-tracked at least some digital transformation programs this year.

However, this acceleration has come with challenges according to respondents:

  • 28 per cent of Canadian respondents revealed they fear their organization won’t exist in a couple of years
  • 61 per cent of Canadian businesses believe they will survive the pandemic, but will shed many jobs and it will take years to return to profitability
  • 48 per cent say they are worried about employee burn-out, while 49 per cent worry they didn’t transition fast enough
  • Almost all (96 per cent) are facing entrenched barriers to transformation including lack of budget and resources (44 per cent), data privacy and cybersecurity concerns (37 per cent) and unable to extract valuable insights from data/information overload (29 per cent).

As a result of acceleration, Dell is seeing a substantive, measurable progress in Canada when it comes to digital transformation in 2020.