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Microsoft cloud study yields mixed results from Canadian businesses

Microsoft Canada recently released a study indicating that more than half (52 per cent) of Canadian business decision-makers say they are are "working toward harnessing the power of the cloud."

November 21, 2015  By  SP&T Staff

The data is encouraging compared to last year when the overwhelming majority (90 per cent) said they were unfamiliar with the “real meaning” of the term “cloud computing.” However the same study also revealed that the Internet of Things (IoT) still goes largely unrecognized by Canadian businesses, with 53 per cent of respondents indicating that they are “completely unaware” of what it is.

The company said in a published statement that:

85 per cent of Canadian businesses recognize that they are failing to thoroughly utilize the benefits of new technology, even though roughly half of the 700 senior level business decision makers surveyed believe such investments help their business stay competitive.

“We are at a tipping point – technology is driving competitive advantage for businesses of all sizes and sectors, but Canada’s business leaders wonder whether they are doing enough to seize its full advantage,” said Janet Kennedy, president of Microsoft Canada. “The good news is that this study shows marked improvement from last year. It highlights the need for more businesses to leverage the power of technology. The cloud is no longer where we are going, it’s where we are and businesses that harness its full potential will drive growth and remain competitive.”


The study, conducted on behalf of Microsoft Canada by Northstar, found that:

· More than half of respondents believe businesses in the future will need to move to cloud-based technologies, however most have failed to move beyond very early incremental adoption. This is a marked improvement from a year ago when only 10 per cent of respondents said they were even familiar with cloud computing and two-thirds said there were “only just beginning to familiarize themselves” with the cloud;

· Only 15 per cent of respondents rated their companies at a 9 out of 10 or higher when it comes to utilizing technology.

The study also found that while Canadian executives are starting to see the benefits of storing their data in the cloud, concerns about security persist:

·  52 per cent of those surveyed said they had concerns about data security in the cloud, with only 35 per cent saying they feel their data is safer in the cloud. This is an improvement from 2014, when 65 per cent of respondents said they would not feel secure sharing sensitive information in the cloud, – however there remains a large gap;
· Spending on security is very low, with almost two-thirds (63 per cent) saying they spend less than $10,000 annually on security-related initiatives. Further, businesses know they should be spending more – 52 per cent say they are spending less than 20 per cent of what they should be on security.
· When it comes to security, 48 per cent of business leaders say when moving to the cloud they look for a partner with a well-established reputation;
· Nearly half responded that they wanted a local data centre that provides them with control over their data.

Elsewhere, the survey reveals that the world of constantly online and connected devices – the Internet of Things (IoT) – is largely unknown to Canadian business executives, despite being widely anticipated as the next area of groundbreaking change.

A majority (53 per cent) of respondents said they are “completely unaware” of what the IoT is, with one in four (24 per cent) saying they are not clear on how it could impact their business. Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) call the Internet of Things a “confusing” concept.

This study was conducted on behalf of Microsoft Canada by Northstar, a globally integrated insights consulting firm, among 700 C-suite executives in Canada.  Margin of error is +/- 3.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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