The Gartner IT Summit brings to the forefront our collective IT consciousness. This year, the summit was focused on how Canadian companies have moved beyond visioning and are more active with scaling their respective digital transformations.

The keynote, however, highlighted a more important reality that Canadian corporations need to reflect upon. Year-over-year the IT spend has increased in Canada by 1.3%, however, this is still lagging when compared to the global increase in IT spend which is up 3% YOY. This was the first of many statistics that were showcased throughout the summit, and it set the tone for the Canadian landscape. We are behind in comparison to our counterparts globally.

With Canadian companies being just shy of global trends it begs the question: Why? The proof is in the pudding. Research shows that Canadian companies are far more averse to risk. The fortunes that Canadian economy has historically benefited from has been due to their geographic circumstance or the natural resources that they have been able to harvest. They tend to ride these waves of fortune, but after the digital revolution, this mind set is changing.

To move forward and action digital transformation there needs to be a desire to remove yourselves collectively from the status quo and start thinking outside the box. Canadian companies are 83% typical performers in Gartner DFPs (Digital Performance Group), however, there are 12% of companies that are trailing performers. When stacked against global numbers where 87% are typical and 7% are trailing, Canada comes up short again.

IT is no longer a support function, it is the driving force and catalyst for business improvement. If you view IT as a simple support function, you will be left behind. Digital is the core of the business, which means CIOs and IT Executives should have an active and leading seat at the table, driving the conversation and making business realize new peaks and innovative potentials.

Culture changes from within, and the best innovation is happening inside your organization. Have informal brainstorming sessions that empower employees throughout the organization (ideally in varied business units) and allow your employees to come up with ideas – this is the catalyst for transformation. Create a sense of fearlessness and ambition when it comes to your digital initiatives.

‘Fail fast’, ‘quick wins’ – these are all terms that IT Executives have heard, but based off the numbers, it seems that there are still many organizations catching up with the conversations happening around us. Prepare the business instead of assisting the business, because you are the business. Technology is an enabler, not a differentiator, and as a country, we need to get our counterparts (or the Business side) on board.

We don’t all want to be absorbed by Amazon someday, do we?