By Mike Sharun, President and General Manager, Dell Canada
The need for businesses to digitally transform is something that has been discussed for years. However, as we saw in the Dell Technologies 2018 Digital Transformation Index, many businesses’ digital transformation programs were not keeping up with advancements in computing power and the influx of emerging technologies. Coupled with the imperative to adapt to today’s unprecedented business disruption, the need to digitally transform has never been more urgent and challenging. And it’s encouraging to see that many businesses are rising to the occasion, especially in Canada.
In the Dell Technologies 2020 Digital Transformation Index, we found that 77% of Canadian businesses have successfully accelerated at least some of their digital transformation programs this year. This shows good progress; however, there is still work to be done. Continuous digital transformation is not easy, and in Canada, almost all businesses (96%) are facing entrenched barriers to transformation as they navigate their future.
By committing to continual transformation – even amid uncertainty – Canadian businesses can help to shape their ideal future. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated that these businesses can be nimble and transform quickly. A third have already extended their business domain; however, what they do next will be telling. Expediency is necessary – but ongoing transformation is vital, and there is plenty of room for advancement.
In Canada, only 4% of businesses surveyed are defined as Digital Leaders, meaning those companies with digital transformation ingrained in the DNA of their business, end-to-end. And even though they are leaders, they recognize that transformation requires continuous effort – with more Digital Leaders accelerating their transformation programs this year compared to Digital Followers and Laggards.
Here is inspiration from more mature digital businesses as you consider how to implement an ongoing digital transformation plan for your business:
- Data privacy and cybersecurity: These are constant and evolving concerns that should not be overlooked. Mature digital businesses recognize more often than others that data privacy and cybersecurity warrant proper consideration.
- Budget and resources: Financial constraints – both budget pressures and lack of economic growth – have not slowed down transformation for the more mature digital businesses. They position IT investments as strategic drivers for innovation versus as a cost center.
- Data is the lifeblood of an organization: As we move towards a Zettabyte era, the ability to extract insights from data will become a major stumbling block if left unresolved. There is hope that the recent disruption will ignite a new wave of data-first, data-anywhere businesses. We found that 93% of Canadian businesses agree that extracting valuable insights from data will be more important for their business than ever before. However, solving for this sooner rather than later is imperative.
- Digital as a strategic advantage: Because digital is ingrained in their DNA, it becomes an important enabler for mature digital businesses. Proactivity is key, with 71% of Canadian businesses investing in on-demand digital services.
- Embracing the power of the Edge: Canadian businesses have high hopes for deploying Edge to their advantage, with 69% investing in those efforts.
Overall, Canadian businesses should be applauded for adapting so quickly to the extreme and sudden onset of disruption from recent events. Some were poised to respond better than others, based on where they were on their digital journey. However, being prepared to scale to weather any storm is only possible with the right digital strategy and continuous, concerted effort. In this hyper-connected data decade, every business needs to be a digital business to survive and thrive. With a strong ally like Dell Technologies by your side, businesses of varying sizes, industries and digital maturities can find ways to adapt to new routines and push the frontiers of what’s possible.