Amidst growing digitalization trends and the continued repercussions of the global pandemic, many organizations have turned to technology to help them adapt. To anticipate the emerging technology trends that could be popular in 2023, Capterra analyzed the digital adoption plans of over 250 local businesses.
What we will cover
Over the last three years, companies have been blind-sided by a variety of obstacles, such as the global pandemic and consequent supply chain disruptions, amongst others. It seems economic challenges are predicted for the coming year as well, with local experts citing a probable incoming recession in Canada. To balance facing current challenges while bracing for economic uncertainty, investment choices must be made strategically.
With a mix of threats to business on the horizon, digital solutions and tech stacks are often used to help adapt to disruptions and monitor progress and impacts. But what types of tools are companies specifically planning to invest in in 2023? What categories of software are most popular? What are the most common software types used for business development?
To help businesses answer these questions, we gathered data from 1,526 managers and owners of companies with up to 1,000 employees in Australia, Canada, France, the U.K., and the U.S. in late 2022 and analyzed the data provided on their planned business strategies and software investments. In this article, we focus mainly on the responses from 261 decision-makers in Canada to gather insights on emerging technology trends specific to Canadian firms.
What are businesses planning to spend in 2023?
According to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, “difficult days” may lie ahead in the Canadian economy. While it’s unknown exactly when an incoming recession would start, businesses may be preparing themselves for it with various spending plans.
When asked how much their organizations were planning to spend on technology and software in 2023, the majority of Canadian decision-makers surveyed (56%) said their budgets would increase between 10 and 20% percent more over last year. 12% of respondents said their companies would spend even more than that, at an expected 21% or more than in 2022. A significant portion also said budgets were planned to stay the same or shrink in size (26% and 6% respectively), perhaps preparing for tough economic times with austerity measures.
Compared to international business investment plans for 2023, Canadian businesses were slightly ahead of the curve. Amongst countries included in this survey, 53% was the average of those with planned technology budget increases of 10% to 20%, with Canadian respondents ranking 3 percentage points higher than that —and exactly on par with U.S. respondents.
The rise of the digital economy in Canada galvanized many businesses to employ digital tools to meet new demands. Some turned to software to protect themselves from a range of business disruptions common in 2022. We wanted to discover more about the role of government support in this process.
How is the government supporting digital adoption?
The Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) department of the Canadian government launched the Digital Adoption Program in 2022. With it, they created distinct programs that entrepreneurs can take advantage of to incorporate and improve their digital infrastructure.
Over half of Canadian decision-makers (54%) surveyed have taken government aid to adopt new technology in the past 12 months. This was the highest amongst countries participating in the survey, followed by 45% of American respondents and 39% of French respondents.
Canadian respondents were also least likely to be unaware or uninterested in leveraging government support for digitalization. Opportunities may continue to rise in this arena as well; according to Justin Trudeau, $1 billion more would be committed to launch a new Canadian innovation and investment agency, providing more support for businesses to evolve and develop new ideas.
What are the current top priorities for business investments?
When choosing which technology investments to make in the next 12 months, considering industry-specific challenges is a must. Some of the top-ranked priorities as far as technology trends are concerned reflected the biggest hardships the Canadian economy faced in 2022.
Among the highest priorities for software for Canadian businesses surveyed:
- Supply chain management (cited by 44%)
- Cybersecurity (43%)
- Sales-related/CRM software (41%)
- IT management (37%)
- HR and learning management (36%)
Canadian manufacturers, retailers, and consumers alike felt the blowback of supply chain issues these last two years in Canada. Facing this, businesses appear to continue investing in strengthening their supply chain operations as well as their customer relationships and sales connections.
Cybersecurity measures and IT investments were also popularly prioritized. Risks of cyber threats are rising, and are present for every business operation managed using cloud management software. As companies deepen their digital transformations, it becomes increasingly necessary to create systems to monitor and manage technology management.
Additionally, human resources and learning tools were included as some of the highest priorities for businesses in 2022. The unemployment-to-vacant job ratio reached an all-time low this year. As talent became a scarce resource, companies sought strategic advice on recruitment and hiring as well as retention strategies.
How are companies setting business goals?
To put context around these software investment priorities, let’s look at companies’ business goals for 2023.
The top three business goals were identified to be increased employee productivity, revenue growth, and an expanding customer base. Reducing business costs and raising investment capital, cited by 33% and 31% of respondents respectively, were also popular goals, likely as they’re both aimed at offsetting potential financial losses in the future.
What challenges are businesses in Canada facing?
The budget trends regarding software and technology illuminated external issues that could be causing digital adoption strategies. Internal challenges also pose a risk to business continuity, and organizations should also examine their operations for possible improvements.
When asked about the biggest challenges awaiting their business in 2023, training and upskilling of employees appeared as the top response, cited by a third (34%) of survey-takers. The conditions of the labour market have pushed upskilling and reskilling existing employees forward as a way to fill talent gaps. Employees also require onboarding to use newly adopted technology trends, adding up to a big need for in-company education.
While technology has the power to make businesses efficient and agile, there are definite drawbacks when implementing emerging technology trends. The most commonly identified issue when planning digital investments is identifying the right technology to adopt, cited by 41% of Canadian respondents. After these challenges, the following issues were cited:
- Acceptance by/training of staff on new software (39%)
- Ensuring compatibility of new tools with existing systems (38%)
What to remember before implementing emerging technology trends
Canada is well-known for its tech-forward economy. Over half of Canadian managers described their companies’ approach to new technologies as “bold”; with 33% calling it ‘somewhat bold’ and 20% calling it ‘very bold’.
Before boldly rushing forward to adopt tech trends in 2023, there are certain things to keep in mind to select the right software for your organization:
- Technology trends are implemented to help businesses achieve their goals, whether related to CRM, sales, or IT. Tech solutions can also be helpful to avoid disruption, such as supply chain backups or data insecurity.
- Regardless of the short- and long-term technologies selected, employees and their comfort with new tools must be a priority in their rollout. Onboarding employees is a vital step in the change management process, which can lead to more commitment and adherence to new processes.
- Achieving the digital transformation that will make your business more efficient depends on finding a solution (or group of solutions) customized to your operations. Integrating new processes is of utmost importance when creating a customized solution, so take time to make sure systems are able to connect to each other.
Capterra conducted this survey online in October 2022, among 1,526 small-business leaders from the U.S. (498), Canada (261), the U.K. (253), France (262), and Australia (252). The goal of the study is to understand what technology investments small businesses are making and the drivers and challenges that influence their decisions.
Respondents were screened by:
- Number of employees: 2 to 999 employees
- Annual revenue: Less than US$1B
- Industry: Manufacturing, Natural Resources, Communications, Media & Services, Education, Retail, Banking & Securities, Healthcare Providers, Construction, and Hospitality
Respondents were required to be involved in purchasing technologies for the organization and hold a manager-level position or above in the company.
Disclaimer: Results of this study do not represent global findings or the market as a whole but reflect the sentiment of the respondents and companies surveyed.