WAYNE, Pa.—November 15, 2016—A massive 98 percent of IT decision-makers (ITDMs) at Canadian companies recognize the importance of digital transformation. Yet nearly as many—96 percent—report that their organization’s IT department lacks technical skills needed to drive that digital transformation.

The findings, based on research from Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS), show that Canadian businesses place nearly the same emphasis on digital transformation but, while understanding its competitive benefits, struggle to integrate the technologies that can grow revenue, improve organizational resilience and deepen customer satisfaction. The research echoes similar findings among U.S. companies.

The advantages of digital transformation are clear: 86 percent of ITDMs report that digital transformation is important to productivity, while 79 percent say it’s important to remaining competitive. It’s no wonder that nearly one-fifth of organizations (18 percent) rank digital transformation as their biggest priority, with an additional 57 percent rating it as a key priority. Some 62 percent of ITDMs and employees say new digital tools make their jobs easier.

ITDMs were most likely to report that having the right technical skills was their biggest challenge to digital success, with 38 percent of respondents agreeing. Nearly every ITDM respondent (96 percent) reported lacking at least one technical skill in their IT team, with many needing talent that can integrate new applications into existing technologies (33 percent), maintain legacy systems (32 percent) or manage a hybrid of different IT systems (31 percent). These skill shortages point to the struggles of maintaining legacy systems alongside new technology.

“IT decision-makers and employees throughout Canada recognize the role of digital transformation in staying competitive and evolving their business, yet there’s a big disconnect between where they are and where they need to be. This is true across industries, from financial services to healthcare to manufacturing,” said Chris Toushan, Canada country manager at Sungard AS. “Their IT departments have skills to drive digital transformation, but it’s not enough. Ultimately it will take the right mix of in-house skill, trusted partners, and new talent to drive the necessary changes.”

The results, however, are worth the effort: 78 percent of employees said access to digital tools makes their job easier, and 51 percent said these tools make them more productive. ITDMs agree—57 percent note increased productivity as a marker of digital success. Similar numbers of ITDMs pointed to employee satisfaction (56 percent), flexible working opportunities (55 percent), and increased mobility (54 percent). In terms of business benefits, ITDMs expect to see revenue growth (45 percent) and increased sales (42 percent) as a result of digital success. 

For more information on the results and how to manage digital transformation, visit www.tamethebear.com.

About the Research

Research was conducted by Vanson Bourne, on behalf of Sungard Availability Services, to investigate attitudes towards digital transformation in five countries across the world, focusing on expected benefits, challenges and business demands. Interviews were conducted in May 2016 and September 2016 across two groups of respondents: IT decision-makers (ITDMs) and employees from the wider business. The research questioned respondents from businesses of over 500 employees in the US, UK and France, and respondents from businesses with a minimum of 250 employees in Ireland, Sweden and Canada. These businesses operated in a variety of sectors, including financial services, professional services and retail.

Overall, 817 interviews were conducted online and over the telephone with ITDMs, including 205 from the US, 153 from the UK, 156 from France, 101 from Ireland, 100 from Sweden and 102 from Canada. At the same time, 1600 interviews were conducted online and over the telephone with general employees, including 400 from the US, 300 from the UK, 300 from France, 200 from Ireland, 200 from Sweden and 200 from Canada.

This research defines digital transformation as implementing new and emerging technologies including cloud based technologies, digital platforms, website mobile site/applications, social media, and customer-facing technology systems, to increase productivity, develop new revenue streams and improve communication with internal and external parties. This can include consolidating or expanding the IT estate to support the deployment of digital solutions.

About Sungard Availability Services

Sungard Availability Services ("Sungard AS") is a leading provider of critical production and recovery services to global enterprise companies. Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe to understand their business needs and provide production and recovery services tailored to help them achieve their desired business outcomes. Leveraging more than 40 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help customers manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. To learn more, visit www.sungardas.com or call 1.888.748.9580. Connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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