Study reveals Canada is in danger of falling behind in e-business

The results of a national study to determine the importance of technology to Canadian business reveal that while Canadians acknowledge the role of information technology, many admit that their organization is struggling to apply IT successfully.

The nationwide survey was conducted to give Canada’s IT managers the opportunity to see how the Canadian IT industry stacks up. The survey was a collaboration between Athabasca University and CIO Canada Magazine published by Laurentian Technomedia Inc. (LTI).

Peter Carr, associate director of Athabasca University’s Centre for Innovative Management, said in a statement that the prosperity of Canada’s economy in upcoming years would depend on its ability to successfully apply IT in business. Carr added that the study would help pinpoint those areas in IT where improvements must be made in order to remain competitive in the new world economy. For example, while 40 per cent of respondents agreed that Canada is keeping up with the rest of the world in developing e-business, the same number of respondents did not believe their organization was properly exploiting e-business. Forty-five per cent of respondents disagreed that their organization advanced as similar organizations in the United States in the development of e-business.

While 60 per cent of respondents agreed their organization typically invests in IT projects that have demonstrable business value, only 34 per cent agreed their organization practices good project management. Another 31 per cent disagreed that their organization practiced good project management. Organizational senior management did not come unscathed from the survey results as 36 per cent of respondents agreed their senior managers understood the project management issues involved in IT and 33 per cent of respondents disagreed.

“What we found was that we are spending our money on the right projects, but not doing a good job on maintaining those projects and that we are poorly maintaining change,” said John Pickett, LTI’s editor-in-chief.

He said the study results demonstrate that while IT importance to the corporate strategy has increased much faster than other functional areas within organizations (according to 58 per cent of the study’s respondents) Canada is failing to capitalize on the productivity gains that are expected when IT is introduced into an organization’s operation. He said the problem points to a lack of proper implementation and adoption of IT to meet organizational needs and the needs of today’s workers.

From a list of 11 IT issues important to businesses, keeping up with new technology

(75%), system security (69%), managing user’s expectations (65%), and developing E-

business applications (63%) were mentioned by more than 60% of respondents. When asked to select the most important IT issue from list above, developing E-business

applications (23%), keeping up with new technology (14%), managing user’s expectations (12%), and systems integration (11%) were mentioned most frequently.

The study results reveal that Canadian organizations’ inability to successfully integrate the changes to the workplace created through the introduction of IT is creating a higher stress level among those in the workplace.

The importance of this study is that the respondents are those who are in IT and represents how the senior managers view the industry’s position, said Pickett. “These are people who are really in the know,” he added.

The survey began in October of last year when 44,748 e-mail invitations were sent to subscribers of CIO Canada Magazine, and to senior management subscribers to CIO Canada’s sister publications. Each email invited the recipient to click an embedded URL link that would allow them to participate in an online Web survey found on the SurveySite server. Once the respondent completed and submitted the questionnaire, the data was collected and analyzed. A total of 3,195 responses were obtained for this study, producing results that are considered accurate 19 times out of 20.

For more information on the survey and its results, visit

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The problem points to a lack of proper implementation and adoption of IT to meet needs of workers and organization, said John Pickett.