Investing in digital is a priority
The vast majority of leaders stated, often several times, that investments in digitalizing the economy — particularly through artificial intelligence, robotization and digital infrastructure — are opportunities to seize on now to help them exit the pandemic and propel them toward recovery.
“There’s the impetus and the willingness to invest in productivity and drive digitalization. The timing and incentives have never been better aligned,” notes Jean-François Gagné, President and CEO of Element AI.
For leaders in health care, these investments will not only drive the shift to telemedicine, but also let them get to know their patients better and provide more effective care in the future.
E-commerce and evolving the customer experience, which are deeply tied to digital investment, are among the changes the crisis has spurred ahead, according to retail and manufacturing leaders in particular.
“In some ways, the current crisis is like a catalyst. It’s enabling us to accelerate transformation in several sectors,” says Mélanie Dunn, President and CEO at Cossette.
Solidifying supply chains
Nearly two-thirds of the leaders we interviewed said the crisis caused by the pandemic also needs to be seen as an opportunity to simplify and increase the resilience of supply chains across a variety of economic sectors. They believe that supply chains need to integrate more local components to encourage the local economy, among other things. This is particularly important in view of potential protectionist backlash in many countries, they remarked. Several leaders stressed this aspect, particularly in the manufacturing, construction, commercial real estate and agri-food sectors.
According to Frédéric Dugré, Chief Executive Officer of H₂O Innovation, “Local supply partners and accessibility are key to long-term stability and resilience.”
Social responsibility and talent management
More responsible business practices were identified as major opportunities for the future by nearly half of the leaders who took part in our interviews.
First of all, how we recruit, manage and retain talent will be highly strategic in a world where face-to-face is no longer the only option. And as that world becomes increasingly digital, we’ll need to make sure recovery is inclusive. That means being ready so all Quebecers — the young and not so young — can help drive recovery using the tools of technology.
In fact, a significant percentage of leaders believe that telework is here to stay and that current technologies have facilitated uptake and efficiency.