Canadian companies unprepared for AI

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A new study by Deloitte has found the majority of Canadian employers are underprepared for the impact major tech advances – such as robotics and artificial intelligence – will have on their companies.

The Canadian operation of the international consulting firm warned that just 13 per cent of the 700 companies examined scored well, with 87 per cent partially or completely unprepared for the scale and speed of change expected.

Alarmingly, more than one third of organizations (35 per cent) scored poorly on all four of the key criteria that Deloitte measured to determine preparedness.

The four key categories were awareness, innovation, agility, and the ability to channel resources.
Terry Stuart, co-author of the 42 page report, said the study’s findings support earlier Deloitte research on Canadian productivity.

“Canadian companies are generally risk-adverse,” he said. “They’re not investing as much as they need to in the technologies and capabilities and we’re seeing that applied directly in these technology areas that we studied.”

Stuart and other Deloitte researchers focused primarily on five types of technology that each have the potential to cause serious disruption to what the average Canadian considers the work place status quo; robotics, artificial intelligence, communications networks, platforms for collaboration, and manufacturing tools, such as 3D printers.

Stuart also pointed out that, surprisingly, there was no difference between industry segments or size of company – each was as underprepared as the other.

However, the study did find that 74 per cent of the most prepared companies had experienced revenue growth over a five-year period which was much higher than that among unprepared companies.

“Disruption is not going to happen in some distant future. It is happening now,” the study concludes.

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