by Federica Tedeschi
Financial Executives International Canada (FEI Canada), a networking association for financial executives, has released a white paper on how the majority of Canadian senior financial executives agree that to stay competitive in an increasingly digital world their businesses must become more digital themselves, but that only a minority of organisations have fully embraced digital technologies to transform the way they work.
The study also showed that investing in digital initiatives without a comprehensive strategy for transformation limits success, it also pointed that Canada’s largest companies should look to their smaller counterparts, who appear to be further along the digital transformation continuum.
An online survey of 91 financial executives from small, mid-size and large companies across various sectors and industries found that 79% of respondents agree digital transformation is important to stay competitive and that the digital space will have a major impact on their business in the next three years (78%). However, only about one quarter have a defined organization-wide strategy for digital transformation and only as many as 15% have implemented that strategy.
More detailed data reveal that while 70% of the smaller and mid-size businesses rank their digital initiatives among their highest priorities, only 45% of businesses with revenues in excess of $1bn reckon digital initiatives as a relatively high strategic priority, with an equal number reporting it as a relatively low strategic priority.
The top three cited objectives for launching digital initiatives, which are not affected by the size of the organisation, were improving the way an organization uses information and real time data (47%), improving the customer and partner experience by being able to act more quickly (41%), as well as enhancing the way employees work and collaborate using digital tools (39%).
What was peculiar, and perhaps a missed opportunity, was the finance department’s lack of interest in blockchain/digital ledger technology, which is considered a game-changer by the accounting sector. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates 10% of global GDP will be stored on blockchains by 2025.