A huge digital chasm is emerging between Canadian businesses

You don’t have to dig too deep to find the companies that have handled the global pandemic best.

These are the companies that were investing in digital before COVID-19 and have continued to invest during the crisis. These digital leaders, a simple According to our research, four out of 10 Canadians in Canada had developed their digital transformation strategy before the pandemic, which enabled them to adapt and adjust despite the uncertainty, lockdowns and economic upheaval when their peers reduced or frozen their plans. When the dust settles on COVID-19, we will find that they have not only invested the most, but also increased the most.

According to the World Economic Forum, in the decade following the 2008 global financial crisis, investment in new technologies has been key to driving productivity gains. But the gains were not uniform. They were driven by the richest 20% in each industry, with the majority seeing their productivity plummet.

As the country emerges from the pandemic, Canadian businesses cannot afford to fall behind. We can already see the chasm widening between the digital leaders and all the others, and not only between Canadian companies and their global competitors, but, worryingly, within sectors and between sectors in Canada.

Soon the gap between the “digital haves” and the “digital have-nots” will become too big to close, with digital leaders setting up a winner-takes-all market, leaving the “have-nots” in a vulnerable position. on the market. .

A recent Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey, the largest technology leadership survey of its kind in the world, shows that digital leaders typically spend 25-50% more on technology than their competitors.

These digital companies don’t just spend more and do better. They outshine the competition.

The results are striking. The benefits are clear: digital leaders are twice as effective at building customer trust, three times as effective at creating positive customer and employee experiences and increasing their share price, 3.5 times as effective at increase revenue and profit, four times more effective in improving operational efficiency and five times more effective. times faster to launch new products or services.

The most mature organizations have redesigned their information technology, or IT, operating model to be nimble, flexible, and dynamic to adapt at varying speeds and scale to internal and business demands. Marlet. When we talk about market-speed operating model, it covers everything from how people are organized and governed to the technology architecture that supports it, designed around specific business streams.

This model is based on three clear principles: first, it is inherently aligned with the purpose, vision, values ​​and objectives of the company; second, to move from siled, inflexible and archaic architectures to a modern automated technology stack, based on open source standards and designed to respond quickly and securely to business needs; and, third, it’s about transforming with intent—sequencing, scaling, and aligning operating model changes through targeted investments toward specific business outcomes.

Too many organizations try to boil the ocean.

They create complexity and lose momentum at the start of the attempted transformation. Knowing how to achieve the desired result is more important than forcing it into a standard cookie-cutter digital model.

Those who are truly digital leaders avoid one-size-fits-all models. Instead, they apply focused, agile and flexible architectures, tool chains, policies and agile ways of working.

But digital is much more than technology. It’s a state of mind. Digital is fundamentally a new way of thinking.

Digital leaders associate technology with business priorities. They shape their ecosystem to be ready for the future by deciding which tasks or which aspects of tasks are best performed by automation or by humans.

Digital leaders rank talent risk among the most significant operational risks facing their organization. They view every employee as a technologist, able to leverage tools and data to impact a business outcome. Their workforce is both technically capable and has the right mix of business acumen and empathy to shape technology around the customer journey.

These leaders are increasingly including their chief information officer, chief technology officer, or chief digital officer on their boards of directors to ensure that digital is embedded in their strategies and corporate DNA.

In short: human-driven. Powered by technology.

In the post-pandemic economy, we can expect the shift to new technology-based products and business models to become even more pronounced.

It is no longer a question of whether or not to pursue a digital agenda. It is a must.

Can the six out of 10 Canadian organizations catch up? Can they bridge the gap?

We believe they can. But they have to start now.

If they don’t, they risk joining the legions of Canadian companies no one remembers.

Stephanie Terrill is a Partner and Head of Management Consulting Business Unit, KPMG in Canada. Sanjay Pathak is a Partner and National Leader, Technology Strategy and Digital Transformation Services, KPMG in Canada.