The Road Ahead:

2018 Technology Spending Intentions

Scott Greenlay is the National Director of MNP’s Technology Consulting practice

Technology which was once exclusive to only the largest companies is now commonly accessible to almost any organization. One time “cutting edge” technologies, like online ordering and fulfillment systems, mapping, artificial intelligence, customer relationship management systems, customer analysis tools and others have shifted from being available to only innovators and early adopters to now being readily accessible to the mainstream.

As more organizations look to move quickly to adopt technology across a number of business functions, it’s not uncommon for companies to be looking at multiple new technology-based projects at one time.

Know When to Adopt

The ability to consider adopting new tech-based opportunities, like artificial intelligence, chat bots and data analytics, however, doesn’t automatically make it a good fit for your organization. Nor does the appeal of potential efficiencies make the implementation and realization of benefits any easier. And reacting to technology opportunities out of the fear of missing out is not a successful way forward.

Looking at organizations in Canada, MNP’s 2018 National Business Leaders Survey found that companies have very aggressive spending intentions for technology investment in the current year. A majority of businesses in Canada expected to increase their spending in at least six categories of technology over the coming year:

  • Over half said they will increase investment in artificial intelligence.
  • Seven in ten will spend more on digital trust.
  • Seven in ten say they will make investments in technology platform integration.
  • Seven in ten will spend more on the use of data analytic technology.
  • Three quarters say they plan to spend more on new technology-driven changes to workforce/workplace models.
  • Three quarters said they will increase investment on the use of digital technology and technology enhancements in client products and services.

I’m confident that these across-the-board spending increases are laudable and genuine organizational goals – the feeling of being left behind is perhaps as strong as at any point in history. Yet successful technology execution means knowing what to spend, on what and in what order.

A technology needs assessment roadmap can help to prioritize and stretch your technology budgets. In setting priorities, it important to know your industry context. We ranked the “significant level” of investment intentions from our survey and found wide sector-to-sector variance in anticipated spending levels.

Data analytics – a relatively high cost spend – ranked first overall in spending intentions, but ranked only third and fifth respectively for complex organizations like real estate and construction and health / education sectors. In real estate and construction, technology in the workplace was the leading area of focus. For the health / education sector, priority is on technology changes to products and services.

"The feeling of being left behind is perhaps as strong as at any point in history. Yet successful technology execution means knowing what to spend, on what and in what order."

Similarly, spending on digital trust technologies ranked anywhere from a low of fifth in energy / natural resources to second in financial professional services. The roadmap you create for your organization should reflect your own needs and industry context.

Significant Spending Priorities (by industry)

2nd Largest Barrier

when considering technology advancement is “lack of people with the needed skills and experience”

– MNP Leaders Survey

Trust in Your Pit Crew

Knowing you need to change isn't itself a reason to act. Many organizations wanting to change may not have the internal experience to know how to go about benefitting from technology change. This creates uncertainty about developing the right strategy.

For technology change to succeed, it's vital to have in place the right team with the right experience. With these two elements in place, many barriers to technology change can be either avoided or overcome. For example, the upfront cost of technology can be reliably and confidently balanced against expected returns when you trust the experience of those that have lived through it multiple times. Talent and experience deficits can be addressed by recruiting for special skills or partnering with firms with deep experience in technology and innovation.

MNP offers a suite of technology solutions services to help you turn your technology goals into meaningful results. For more information on how MNP can help your organization, contact Scott Greenlay, National Director, Technology Consulting.