By: Fatema Fatakdawala
In answer to this question, representatives from several small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) gathered together last week at two workshops in Mississauga and Brampton hosted by the RIC Centre to assess and measure the outcomes of digital technology adoption on productivity. This 2-day workshop served two purposes; 1) improving the understanding of the link between digital technologies and productivity and 2) raising awareness of the benefits and importance of adopting these technologies.
The workshops were supported by the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). As part of the Government of Canada’s Digital Economy Strategy, NRC-IRAP has been selected to deliver the Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program (DTAPP) from October 2011 to March 31, 2014. DTAPP represents a significant investment into the Canadian economy in an effort to increase the productivity growth of SMEs in Canada across all sectors through the adoption of digital technologies.
As an added bonus at the workshops: One of four attendees were eligible for a free baseline assessment by IRAP. Selected companies were also encouraged to submit an application to DTAPP, which provided financial support to said companies in an effort to utilize aggregated knowledge from the early adopters and transfer successful practices and lessons learned to the broader SME community.
The sessions provided training and practical tools for SMEs to work on improvement areas in their respective businesses. There were two keynote addresses on both days. First, Andrew Milivojevich, President and Chief Knowledge Officer at The Knowledge Management Group Inc. gave a broad overview of the topic and focused on key drivers of economic competitiveness as well as strategies that a company could apply to increase their productivity.
Next, Robert Hyde from BDC Consulting, the Business Development Bank of Canada’s consulting and advisory services group, provided specific examples of how the aforementioned strategies can be applied in the real world. With regards to the digital technology aspect, he claimed, “Think of ICT as a profit centre, not a cost.”
Overall, the information exchange from events such as these workshops will become a critical tool to encourage prospective adopters of digital technologies and will continue to impact the potential productivity growth of the Canadian economy well into the future.
Fatema joins the RIC team as the Communications Officer responsible for marketing, social media, event and web management. She is a graduate student pursuing her final year in the Master of Biotechnology program at the University of Toronto Mississauga.