On August 14th, the Digital Transformation Conference and Awards Ceremony took place in Toronto. It featured over 150 senior technology and business leaders, all of whom are working towards one goal: discussing how ‘digital transformation is creating new business models that will drive tomorrow’s economy.”

Representatives from organizations as diverse as Blackberry and the Government of Canada delivered informative talks about digital transformation and how it’s changing our work.

Say Yeah was pleased to connect with industry professionals in the digital industry who are shaping the Canadian economy through digital transformation.

Here’s what we took away from the Digital Transformation Conference and Awards Ceremony:

Blackberry’s SVP Margaret Stuart and VP of Parkwood Computer Services Nelson Smith spoke about digital transformation’s role in creating business value, and the contributing forces in its successes or failures.

Stuart highlighted three terms that determine the fluidity and success of a business’ transformation.

  1. Workplace, the physical or digital act of work.
  2. Workflow, delivering the right information to the right place at the right time.
  3. Workforce, the extension of employees, contractors, and customers.

If all these components coalesce, they can form a healthy, efficient and agile environment for lasting transformation.

Economic issues & emerging marketing trends

Alex Benay, Chief Information Officer for the federal government of Canada shared economic issues and emerging marketing trends that are currently impacting businesses. He outlined his predictions of how this may continue. As for the gig economy, the number of entrepreneurs is growing in North America and Western Europe. For the sharing economy, global revenues are expected to increase exponentially.

Benay was thoughtful in his inclusion of the topic of diversity, shedding light on the reality of banking options for those with lower standards of living. Billions of people worldwide do not have access to banking…and most of them are women. The economic capabilities for people in the world are limited, as some are trapped in debt with no opportunity for upward mobility.

Panel: Smart businesses preparing for smart technology

Panelists spoke on some of the most popular assisting and sound devices, like Alexa. While voice technology was initially ruled by Amazon, voice automation is becoming the next interaction frontier after mouse, keyboard and touch.

With the rapid evolution of this tech, Eric Gales, Director of Amazon Web Services, urges businesses and consumers to move beyond adapting to these technologies, and instead discover how they can enhance an experience.

“Experiment now and find how to apply the tech effectively.”
~Eric Gales

This panel was stacked with experts from the digital industry, with SecureKey, Vector Institute, Peer Ledger and Amazon Web Services. Other topics includes cybersecurity, product identity, and experimentation.

Panel: FinTech 2.0: Where are we now and how should we prepare for the next wave?

On this panel, leaders in the financial and insurance sectors discussed how digital transformation is disrupting traditional enterprise and how businesses should respond to stay afloat.

Lynn Elwood, VP Cloud & Services Solutions at OpenText, moderated the discussion between representatives from Freedom Mobile, Moneris, and Insurance Canada.

The panel offered solutions for navigating disruption without completely destroying legacy systems.

“Trying to replace a legacy platform is destined for failure,” said Amer Matar, CTO at Moneris, “You need to chip away, across any platform on a regular basis.”

All about the customer

“Digital transformation is about customer experience, getting closer to your customer.”
~ Michael Ball, Freedom Mobile

The driving force of digital transformation and experience is the customer.
Panelists concluded that businesses must focus on customer engagement and their wants, while meeting goals and reducing costs. If both sides are balanced, then digital experience is at an all-time high. The quality of a digital experience is crucial to businesses.

Elwood also referenced how AI technology contributes to businesses, and how this will change exponentially soon. At its current rate of development and adaptation, AI will drive businesses, and is expected to be implemented by the majority of organizations within the next 5 years.

“50% of orgs feel they are as mature as their competition.”

The Digital Transformation Awards

Concluding the night, awards were presented to the top transformational organizations:

Telefilm Canada won the Public Sector SME Transformation category for developing, financing and promoting exceptional audiovisual projects. Their award-winning project, Information System Redesign (ISR), was worth, $5 million, improving user experience, and increasing system security and accessibility.

Loblaw Digital, a team within the country’s largest supermarket chain, won the Large Private Sector Business Transformation category. They were recognized for leveraging their digital e-commerce division into the distinguishing factor in propelling company revenue and brand popularity.

Crisis Services Canada, a crisis hotline known for receiving and responding to web chats and SMS crises won the SME public category.

SalesChoice, an AI company that helps clients boost revenue with sales forecasting, won the Artificial Intelligence Disruptor category.

PCL Construction, a long-standing Canadian company won the Large Private Sector category for rapidly and successfully establishing themselves as a digital leader and replacing legacy processes and applications.

Attending the ITWC’s Digital Transformation Awards reveals the many varied ways organizations respond to constant transformation in a fast-moving digital age. We look forward to this annual conference and hope to see you next year!

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