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A Reality Check for Canadian CEOs

July 09, 2019

PwC Canadian Insights CEO Survey Highlights Opportunities for Innovation

This year’s Canadian Insights survey of Canadian CEOs conducted by PwC highlights a time of relative uncertainty among the leaders of Canadian corporations. Faced with declining optimism over the global economy, due to geopolitical turmoil and the prospects of protectionism, Canadian corporate leaders are increasingly looking inward for opportunities to boost profits, lower costs and increase margins.

This translates into a new imperative to transform their businesses by leveraging data, insights and technology, including artificial intelligence and intelligent process automation. It also means facing some key challenges and obstacles head on, including access to data and the acquisition or development of new skill sets necessary to embrace chance to achieve strategic goals.

A Look at the Numbers

Compared to prior surveys, Canadian Insight’s 2019 survey reveals that Canadian CEOs are less optimistic about the economic future of their firms, with 62% indicating that they believe global economic growth will decline or stay the same, compared to just 28% the prior year.

Only 40% said they were confident about revenue growth over the next three years, comparted to 58% who expressed confidence when surveyed in 2018.

When asked about their growth strategies, a majority of Canadian companies cited operational efficiencies as their top priority, with 88% focusing on efficiency, compared to 77% of their peer around the world. Organic growth ranked second among priorities for growth, followed by launching a new product or service.

Keeping Up with the Customer

Canadian CEOs surveyed by Canadian Insights regarded data and analytics as key elements to new business growth and ongoing success. Aside from targeting organizational efficiency, Canadian CEOs saw data and analytics as critical to remaining agile enough to adjust to changing market and consumer behavior. A total of 45% of Canadian CEOs surveyed said they were concerned about how changing consumer behavior would impact their growth, with 52% saying that data related to consumer behavior was critical to success.

Unfortunately, most Canadian CEOs also suggested that they lacked access to some of the critical data they needed to achieve the levels of insights and agility they require. Two thirds of respondents said that at least one type of data that was critical to their business was either inaccessible or inadequate.

When asked why their companies lacked data, most cited the lack of in-house expertise to do so. This is an increasing concern among Canadian CEOs, with 88% citing the lack of the availability of important skills in their firm as a risk factor, compared to 51% in the prior year’s survey.

Interestingly, compared to their global peers, Canadian CEROs seemed pessimistic about retraining or upskilling employees to close that gap. While 46% of global CEOs cited retraining as a strategy to close the skills gap, only 16% of Canadian CEOs seemed to regard as developing their employees as the best way to transform their organizations.

From our perspective at Artsyl, it may not require a lot of retraining or development of employees for companies to embrace new innovations and transform their organizations.

Rather, it may be that empowering existing staff members and process owners through intelligent process automation will spark the kind of revolution that Canadian corporate executives are looking for.

The great new for Canadian CEOs, as well as their peers worldwide, is that embracing intelligent process automation doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. And it doesn’t have to mean completely retraining (or replacing) your workforce.

AI, Intelligent Process Automation and the Path Forward

In part two of this Blog series, we’ll look at how Canadian CEOs can embrace intelligent process automation in a way that is easy to implement and delivers immediate results.

By leveraging process automation that can help your process owners to focus on what they do best, in a way that doesn’t require lots of IT or technology overhead, can help to tackle operational waste and inefficiency in a way that can transform BOTH operations and cultural resistance to change.

Don’t wait-take action today

If you’d like to dig deeper into how company can create a springboard for innovation and business transformation by tackling common back office business processes to drive efficiency, visit the Artsyl Web site and contact your Artsyl solution representative.

www.artsyltech.com/resources/

Download the PwC 2019 Canadian CEO Survey online at: www.pwc.com/ca/en/ceo-survey/22nd-ceo-survey.html

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