Placing innovation bets in uncertain times

In the face of prevailing economic headwinds, regulatory uncertainty, and cost escalation, KPMG surveyed 2,100 technology executives around the globe to glean how they’ve been faring, what challenges they’re facing, and how they are mapping their business transformation journeys. Of those, 150 respondents were from Canada. Read on to learn more about the Canadian findings and what they might mean for your organization.

Upon analyzing the 2023 survey data, we can see that Canadian technology executives continue to see digital transformation as a means to an end, and many are profiting from their investments in advanced capabilities. Granted, achieving this return on investment is becoming increasingly challenging, with 76% of Canadian respondents in our research saying they’re now expected to do more with smaller budgets.

% of Canadian technology executives said they’re now expected to do more with smaller budgets

Fortunately, there is a fair level of optimism around meeting business goals with existing technology. In fact, 60% of Canadian respondents indicated their current technology stack can power their organization’s growth. This is positive, though less so than the global sentiment, at 73%. In contrast, Canadians seem more confident than their global peers in relation to investing in new technologies (43% vs 35%).

In last year’s survey, 44% of global respondents cited a lack of capable technology talent to carry out key roles as their top challenge in the adoption of digital technologies. While labour shortages and skills gaps remain a challenge, they’ve dropped below other concerns, such as lack of governance and coordination for transformation initiatives, cybersecurity and privacy concerns, as well as spiralling costs.

60% of Canadian respondents indicated their current technology stack can power their organization’s growth

When it comes to transformation objectives, customer satisfaction remains a priority, but is no longer the primary driver of transformation initiatives as it emerged in last year’s survey. Rather, Canadian businesses are driven to invest where their market-leading peers are investing.

In the current economic climate, with inflationary pressures and looming risk of recession, more attention is being paid to creating efficiencies and optimizing existing operations. Generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), which was not a factor in last year’s results, has emerged as a new technology with significant potential to change how businesses operate, yet posing certain risks.

55% of customers prefer to engage with brands or organizations that have Responsible AI frameworks over those that don’t

We’re also seeing Canadian businesses explore how enabling technology could help them achieve goals in specific areas of focus, especially those related to increasing environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. However, there appears to be an overall lack of technological maturity in many Canadian organizations and a risk-averse approach to implementing and utilizing those new technologies.

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