Are Canadian Businesses Slow in Adopting New Technology?

Canadian businesses are slower to adopt new technology than their European and American counterparts, head of Amazon Web Services for Canada recently said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

It takes more education and convincing to get Canadian firms to embrace the industry’s latest advancements, Eric Gales, country manager of Amazon’s cloud-computing subsidiary AWS said.

“The U.K. is very competitive because the whole country is just that much denser, so that has a function in driving things like adoptions,” said Gales, who worked for Microsoft for 13 years before joining Amazon.

Businesses in Canada adopting technology late means that by the time a product is adopted the next versions of it are usually already available.

The main reason for this late adoption of new technology and product features is due to an older model of business where it is assumed that only companies who can afford to make large investments can adopt such latest technology to stay ahead of their competitors, Gales said in the interview.

However, with technologies getting cheaper to adopt, many companies can now afford to invest in the latest technological advancements even if they are not large or have huge tech budgets.

[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”Eric Gales”]“The U.K. is very competitive because the whole country is just that much denser, so that has a function in driving things like adoptions,”[/pullquote]

Gales added that Amazon is spending a lot of time and energy on helping customers appreciate what’s possible and dispelling the “complicated” and “scary” reputation of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

It takes more than just name-dropping big American or European brands that have latched onto new technology to get Canadian companies to follow suit, he said.

Canadian companies are more interested in knowing about other Canadian companies that are using the technology before they proceed to use it.

The Financial Post article also stated that in April last year, a Dell and Intel-backed study from research firm PSB revealed 35 per cent of Canadians thought the technology they had at home was more advanced than what their office was outfitted with.

Retail is one of the sectors that is thought to lag behind. Companies have been slow to adopt to e-commerce and hence have seen low number of customers walking in their doors. Companies like Eatons and Sears Canada have realized this too late.

But it’s not just companies that are reluctant to use new technology, according to industry experts even customers are hesitant to try out new technology and startups often have to find their customers across the border. Canadians are more conservative in trying out new services, products and technology when compared to the U.S and Europe, experts said.