1. Cloud service megaproviders now have offices in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City. Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, IBM Cloud and Google Cloud Platform have established a foothold here and are looking to expand into Western Canada.

The presence of such leading cloud-based service and solution providers makes the IT markets in Ontario and Quebec even more dynamic. We must use this to our advantage to stay ahead of the game and to promptly acquire the cutting-edge expertise to support our organizations in the digital transformation challenges that lie before them.

2. If your company wishes to invest in innovation, it would be preferable to isolate a dedicated team to ensure efficiency and creativity.  Large organizations conceal their innovation teams. Their work must be kept secret, lest they be influenced by external factors detracting them from their mission.

This team must have the support of upper management. They must be given carte blanche with respect to innovation and, a fixed budget which will not be subsequently cut or reduced. Canada is a latecomer to the field of digital technology and our companies aren’t investing enough in research and development. We must acknowledge and reverse this tendency. 

3. You haven’t yet implemented Office 365 in your organization? Don’t wait any longer.  Sixty-one percent (61%) of firms have already done so and 24% say they plan to do it within 6 months. It is a portfolio of solutions designed to address the needs of your organization, with a new method of deployment and a rigorous management program.

Office 365 offers much more than a set of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook tools. It also provides tools to facilitate collaboration within your organization and modern tools to communicate with your employees. A rollout calls for solid planning and it’s preferable to surround yourself with experts who have some such experience in order to maximize its benefits. 

4. Cloud computing ranks very high in the CIO’s realm of possibilities.  One of the sessions at the Gartner CIO & IT Executive Summit was dedicated to the role of the cloud architect, a position in high demand and crucial to your company’s adoption of the cloud. Over 777 of the jobs recently posted on job-search websites list the core competencies of a cloud architect. Similarly, 57% of companies currently employ a cloud architect and 83% are looking to fill this position over the next 18 months.

It is not easy to find a cloud architect since many of the technical or “softer” skills must be part and parcel of their toolkit. In addition, they must be a recognized leader in their field with several years of experience. This individual may already be a member of your staff, seek them out!  If this is not the case, a search must be undertaken immediately, as this profile is a scarce commodity in Canada. 

5. In Canada, the budgets allocated to IT do not follow the global trend (1.1 % in the private sector and 1.9% in the public sector versus 3% worldwide).  IT is no longer a cost center but a contributing partner to an organization’s growth.

Business and IT must come together in pursuit of the same goal: to achieve the company’s mission. When IT succeeds in aptly interpreting their organization’s business requirements, they are able to provide the expertise vital to its needs. Gone are the days when IT operated as an isolated silo. IT must now be at the service of your business units who, better than anybody else, understand the needs of your clients. 

6. Artificial intelligence (IA) is evolving rapidly.  A company wishing to innovate must look to AI as a Platform as a Service (PaaS), instead of investing significant sums in localized infrastructure. We are still a ways from optimal artificial intelligence but until then, leading players can already provide us with niche solutions that can be integrated with the business requirements.

Innovations such as Google Home, advanced pattern recognition, virtual assistants and assisted driving systems are now available. Though not yet perfected, great strides are being made in research all over the world. There will be bumps in the road, but we have a high level of expertise right here in Canada. Substantial investments by governments and leading industry players will draw the requisite resources for the development of future innovations.     

 

The 2018 Gartner CIO & IT Executive Summit was worth the visit, as a means of gaining insight and of keeping abreast of IT trends. It was not that long ago, the trends we observed were often isolated one from the other. Today, they’re most often intertwined, accelerating the emergence of new solutions. For example, cloud computing allows for the acceleration of digital transformation. Thanks to the cloud, artificial intelligence can benefit from a suitable processing platform and PaaS solutions can be provided for less than the cost of investing in a solution developed entirely in-house.

Successful organizations will continue to invest in innovation. They will not allow themselves to be caught off-guard by new and emerging solutions revolutionizing their industry because they will already be one step ahead of the competition.

See you at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Toronto, June 3-6, 2019!

 

The data is sourced from Canadian or American Gartner studies.