OUR GREAT MINDS

    by Tina Olivero

    Salesforce Explores the Critical Role of Technology in Canadian Business

    On June 4th, 2019 Salesforce released a report that explores the critical role of technology in Canadian business. The report explores how Canadian businesses are (and are not) digitizing. The report gives us an in depth look into some of the major barriers and concerns Canadian businesses have about keeping up. The report profiles the business sectors most greatly affected by automation.

    There was also an announcement on June 4th 2019 about the Business Development Bank of Canada’s new $250 million fund to help modernize legacy sectors as well as the fact that the Maritimes is experiencing such an exciting time in innovation and tech-sector development.

    On average, 81% of Canadian businesses believe we are an innovative country, and in order for Canada to be seen as a global leader in innovation, 79% believe it is essential for all sectors to digitize.

    Digital adaptation is greatly benefiting the oil and gas industry, as 59% say their competitive advantage has increased as a result. Yet, business leaders are hesitant to adopt new tech. 40% of businesses believe it’s difficult to get information on how to use emerging tech (automation, AI, big data) and 25% say they’re not sure how it can help their business grow. Data shows the oil and gas sector isn’t increasing its use of technology as much as other sectors. Only 5% of companies plan to use big data and analytics in the next three years compared to the 30% of Canadian businesses overall. 

    It’s critical for business to adopt technology and digitization to succeed in today’s world. To emphasize this, Salesforce has decided to travel across Canada, stopping at various industry conferences, to connect with companies coast to coast to show the advantages of digitization and help them achieve their growth goals.

    The OGM:
    What trends are we seeing in the survey that will impact the oil and gas sector and why?

    Salesforce: According to Salesforce research, oil and gas companies were least likely to say they have increased their use of digital technologies/apps compared to other sectors. However, nearly 60% of high growth large businesses credit automation and digitization for driving growth.

    Salesforce: With one in five businesses in the oil and gas industry saying that they are expecting a difficult year ahead, this is a crucial time to embrace technology. Our research shows that they plan to overcome this challenge through increased implementation of connected devices/IoT, eCommerce, CRM software and data management platforms. (For a full list, see Figure 1 below). 

    The OGM:
    When you say ‘digitize’ what exactly do you mean?

    Salesforce: Digitizing at its core is increasing the use of technology and applications within a business’ operations and upgrading existing technology. For example, where there used to be a form to complete, businesses can now use an app, helping them save time and increase productivity. In fact, 29% of business leaders surveyed have said that an increased use of technology has given them greater competitive advantages like expediting business processes and unlocking greater efficiencies.

    The OGM:
    What are the primary areas of growth/opportunity in this digital era and the coming year?

    Salesforce: There’s never been a more innovative time for businesses which means that growth opportunities are endless. For example, companies that have increased their use of digital technology and applications are able to connect with their customers in more meaningful ways with 40% of business leaders saying its increased customer engagement. In fact, 23% of customer service organizations are using AI chatbots, which are often in voice form, helping them to deliver optimized customer experiences.

    The OGM:
    What innovations do we expect to see leading the way in the next five to ten years and beyond?

    Salesforce: According to Salesforce’s report, Future Ready: Advancing Canadian Business in the Digital Economy, the most widely adopted technologies, and those anticipated to grow over the next three years are the internet of things (IoT), eCommerce, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. 

    Salesforce: Canada is poised to see adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots more than double over the next three years. The impact of voice technology isn’t limited to customer engagement, though – 51% of the workforce believes that voice assistants will transform how they work, and 38% report that they already use one during their workday.

    The OGM:
    If you could invest in any technology right now, what would it be?

    Salesforce: Companies that want to drive growth and customer loyalty need to invest in a CRM solution. Not having a CRM solution today is like driving without a GPS system – you don’t know where you’re going. A CRM solution will help you track interactions with customers, prospects, and contacts; automate workflows; provide analytical insights into your business; and help your company make informed, data-based decisions so it can succeed.

    The OGM:
    What are the top three attributes that will help companies thrive in the world of global competitiveness in the digital era?

    Salesforce:

    1. Enhancing customer experience: 69% of Canadian customers say their standards for good customer experience are higher than ever and are willing to pay more for that great experience. Not only understanding your customers’ unique needs but exceeding their expectations is a business imperative — 80% of Canadian customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products/services.
    2. Investing in new technologies: Companies have a noticeably more positive story to tell about their business growth if they increase their use of tech. They’re twice as likely (27% versus 13%) as others to say their business has seen strong growth over the past three years. Similarly, they’re more optimistic about the future of their business.
    3. Training or upskilling employees: Upskilling employees results in increased productivity, employee retention, and revenue. 34% of companies say training or upskilling employees has facilitated growth.

    The OGM:
    Define the traits of a good leader in the digital era?

    Salesforce:
    Today’s great leaders have a beginner’s mind, meaning that they are adaptable and open to change. They stay curious about emerging tech and its applications, while investing in the training required to help their employees and businesses succeed in this global economy.

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