(As originally posted on LinkedIn, June 28 2017)
To Canada 150 and beyond: the role of technology
By Kimberly Connors, EY Canada’s National IT Advisory Leader
Ahead of #Canada150, we’re reflecting on what we’ve accomplished and what awaits us in the next century and a half. We’re asking ourselves the kinds of #BetterQuestions that challenge, inspire and unlock new solutions.
Q: How is your sector embracing innovation and what does it mean for Canada?
A: We’re seeing a previously unprecedented rate of change right across Canada. Telecommunications companies are offering digital wallets for payments, car manufacturers are getting into ride-sharing, drugstores are becoming healthcare clinics and software companies are entering the self-driving-car market.
Do you want to be a video rental store or do you want to be a video streaming service? It’s critical that businesses dig deep to understand both the challenges and the opportunities out there, and think creatively to stay ahead of the curve.
Q: What role does entrepreneurship play in your sector?
A: Small businesses have an unparalleled opportunity to drive huge disruption. Home sharing, for example, has totally disrupted an entire industry.
If you really roll it up, we face the same issues over and over. When Henry Ford figured out the assembly line he addressed a similar challenge to what we’re facing today with the robotics and cognitive automation agenda. We’re always trying to make things more efficient, find new markets and get the resources needed to deliver products.
Q: How can diversity move your sector forward?
A: A lot of what’s going on is so new that finding experienced people is tough. It’s forcing folks to be creative and value more diverse viewpoints when recruiting. Not long ago, banks didn’t want to talk to you if you didn’t have a background in banking; now they understand that’s limiting. It benefits them and their clients to consider different views to help solve problems.
An important part of diversity is gender diversity, and that’s one area where we’re starting to see real progress. Even so, in the tech sector, only 25% of graduates in programs that feed the industry are women. We’re working really hard to attract a disproportionate number of young women into our talent pool.
Innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity are vital to Canada’s future success. Those who seize the opportunities that arise from disruption in every sector are poised to lead in the years ahead. Happy Canada Day!
What does the future hold for your business and how do you plan to get there?
The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organization or its member firms.