Canadian Manufacturing

Majority of Canadian business leaders feel better prepared for future crises like COVID-19: report

Accelerated digital transformation in response to pandemic has strengthened business resiliency

October 28, 2020  by CM Staff

TORONTO — The majority of Canadian business leaders (69%) are confident that their business will survive the pandemic into 2021 and just over half (54%) feel confident their company will be able to adapt to whatever the upcoming year might hold. Similarly, half (51%) are confident their business could survive the second wave or spike in coronavirus infections. These are some of the key findings from a new survey released today by Microsoft Canada that explores confidence levels among Canadian businesses months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact technology has had on their operations and workforce.

Microsoft surveyed 670 business decision-makers across a spectrum of types and sizes of Canadian businesses, ranging from micro (fewer than 10 employees) to large enterprises (500+ employees). While many say they have taken a hit from the pandemic and have had to change the way they operate, most (56%) say the pandemic has provided the catalyst their company needed to adopt new technology and new ways of working.

“Digital resilience is paramount and never more so than when dealing with the impact of major disruptions like the pandemic. Organizations are relying on technology to adapt and thrive — from emergency response, to recovery, to reimagining the way we work and live,” said Kevin Peesker, president of Microsoft Canada, in a prepared statement. “The pace of digital transformation has accelerated all over the world, and it is clear, those organizations that are using data, AI and the cloud are better equipped and more likely to not just survive, but to thrive.”

Whether it has been a shift to remote work leveraging collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams to maintain a connected workforce, or digitizing key business operation using Dynamics 365 and Power Platforms, there is a strong perception among Canadian business leaders that having to adopt new technology and new ways of working has been a direct result of the COVID-19 experience.

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Nearly half (45%) said their digital transformation was overdue, and two thirds of that group (66 per cent) say their business suffered amid the pandemic as a result. However, 71% of those who felt a transformation was needed, explicitly agree that COVID-19 has provided the catalyst their organization needed to adopt new ways of working and new types of technology.

As companies shift to hybrid work and continue to move their products and services online, it is more important than ever that security is top of mind and a key area of investment. Only one in four business decision makers (26%) say that their company has already identified and applied new security solutions for online processes, as part of its COVID response, and one in five (20 per cent) have prioritized migrating to the cloud within the next year.

“Millions of people moving to remote work, remote learning and even remote socializing in a matter of months means the number of potential targets for cyber criminals has never been higher,” Peesker said. “While I am heartened by the innovation and agility I have seen, business leaders must be equally focused on securing their organizations’ digital infrastructure as they evolve their business.”