RealTime IT News

Report Fingers Canadian EC Challenges

[Toronto, CANADA] Canadian small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) identify education and information dissemination, lack of strategic business resources, costs, and security as the four key challenges they face in accelerating the take-up and use of e- business in Canada.

These findings are part of a white paper, released today by the Canadian e-Business Opportunities Roundtable's e-Business Acceleration team, led by IBM Canada's president and chief executive officer John Wetmore.

The study is based on findings from regional meetings of SMEs held this year in several Canadian cities.

The results say Canadian small and medium sized enterprises are wired, yet they are not effectively leveraging new technology to stay competitive.

A clear majority of Canadian business has Internet access, however, few are investing resources to explore more sophisticated e-business applications.

Based on SME feedback, the report makes a number of recommendations:

  • Continued information seminars and practical workshops.
  • Develop measurements to determine the advantages of using e-business.
  • Develop a series of articles targeted towards SMEs on e-business issues.
  • Develop an internship program for recent graduates to help small business leverage the Internet as a business tool.
  • Create accessible one-stop information/business resources for SMEs.
  • Provide a time limited economic incentive (two years) aimed at driving e-business deployment throughout the economy.
  • Industry and related business associations need to inform SMEs as to reliable online security solutions currently available.
"This report gives the business community the opportunity to speak up and say what it needs in order to leverage the Internet and new information technology as innovative business tools," said Nancy Hughes Anthony, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. "Our competitiveness and productivity depends on it."

The Canadian E-Business Opportunities Roundtable is a private-sector led initiative formed in 1999 to develop a strategy for accelerating Canada's participation in the Internet economy.

The E-Business Acceleration team was announced in March, 2000 with a mandate to create a sense of awareness and urgency for Canadian companies to adopt e-business to compete more effectively in a networked world. See New Group Working to Stimulate Canadian E-Business, March 8, 2000 for more on the team.