Road To Growth Paved By Technology: Two-thirds say IT is the top growth enabler as most prepare to expand operations over next 12 months: Survey Report now Available
January 15, 2008

Road To Growth Paved By Technology, say Canadian Business Executives

Two-thirds say IT is the top growth enabler as most prepare to expand operations over next 12 months; Alberta cited most often as top region for businesses

(++ Action Item: for a copy of the Survey Report, please contact reid_john@rogers.com with IT Survey in the Header. CATA members only)

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO – January 14, 2008 – When asked to identify the top growth enabler for their organizations, Canadian IT and business executives at midsize and large organizations ranked the use of technology to improve staff productivity and efficiency as the number-one factor, according to survey results released today by Microsoft Canada Co. Most respondents are also feeling bullish about their business prospects in 2008 – two-thirds of those polled said they plan to expand their operations over the next 12 months, and 80 per cent said current business conditions in Canada are either “good” or “ideal.”

While IT is clearly a priority for all those surveyed, executives at midsize and large businesses indicated differing priorities when it comes to areas of investment. When asked to identify technologies they see as top staff productivity enablers, midsize businesses ranked improved access to company/business data as the top consideration, followed by new or upgraded desktop software and new or upgraded intranet and portal software. Enterprises, however, see a need for new communications tools or technology, better integration between offices and better access to company/business data as the top enablers of productivity.

“This survey once again reinforces the positive relationship between investment in IT and productivity growth. Clearly, Canadian small, midsize and large organizations alike, although they face different opportunities and challenges, recognize the limitless growth potential offered by the strategic use of IT. That’s why at Microsoft we’re proud to work with technology partners to develop solutions that help improve the health and competiveness of businesses of all sizes, helping to strengthen the Canadian economy,” says Jill Schoolenberg, General Manager, Small and Medium Business, Microsoft Canada Co.

“AT CATA, we recognize the increasing role technology plays in advancing the well-being of Canadian small and midsize businesses. Many of our members fall into this category, and we are gratified to see industry leaders like Microsoft forge a deeper understanding of their specific needs and provide them with solutions that help put them on a path to business growth,” says John Reid, President, CATAAlliance.

Among the many Canadian companies experiencing rapid growth is EnWise Power Solutions, an energy solutions company that facilitates licensed ecoEnergy audits. During 2007, the company saw its employee count grow from two to just over 100 – a pace it says was made possible through its reliance on business software solutions, including those from Microsoft.

“Much of our business is conducted on the road, serving customers. It’s vital that we provide staff with complete and easy access to company data, when and where they need it. We continue to rely on technology to better connect our employees, and in doing so, prepare EnWise for continued rapid growth for years to come,” says Peter Hwang, CEO, EnWise Power Solutions.

Other Interesting Statistics

  • While 36 per cent of midsize businesses are satisfied with their existing IT budget, 64 per cent say they may or need to expand their IT budgets in 2008

  • For both midsize and large businesses, expansion plans hinge primarily on growing the core business versus diversification or acquisitions – 68 per cent of midsize businesses and 63 per cent of enterprise respondents says this best describes their growth strategy

  • When asked to pick one trait which, more than any other, positions new businesses to achieve success, nearly half of all respondents identified a “well thought out growth/business plan,” followed by “willingness to invest in and leverage new technology.” Only three per cent cited a “formal business education” as the top factor. To that end, 88 per cent of large companies have a formal corporate or divisional plan; for midsize firms, that figure is 78 per cent.

  • When asked where Canada’s “most exciting” business activity is taking place, Alberta was cited most often by respondents, followed by Ontario.

Independent IT research firm Info Tech Research Group conducted the survey of 200 Canadian business executives in December 2007.

About Microsoft Canada

Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Co. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has 10 regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. Visit Microsoft Canada's web site at www.microsoft.ca.