News in Short: ICTC unveils digital skills strategy, retailers use technology to tap customers

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ICTC offers strategy for building Canada’s digital skills

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) believes Canada is well on its way toward building a more productive digital economy and regaining its standing worldwide in terms of innovation.

“We now have a tremendous opportunity to ensure that Canada becomes the most digitally-skillful country in the world,” said Paul D. Swinwood, President of ICTC. “Through our ongoing work in partnership with industry, academia, governments, internationally educated professionals, immigrant serving agencies and Canadian ICT professionals, ICTC remains committed toward narrowing the digital skills divide.” 

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ICTC has developed a number of recommendations under the theme of “Building Digital Skills” after incorporating feedback from industry leaders and stakeholders. This is important given that the backbone of the digital economy will be a competitive ICT sector, and Canadian businesses will need ICT skills to be innovative. Attracting, developing, educating, training, integrating and retaining professionals with both skills sets will be integral to Canada’s success. 

ICTC identifies four challenges in skills development and identifies 11 key ways to address these challenges. It explains what can be done to ensure labour market entrants have the necessary digital skills and how the current workforce needs continuous up-skilling to remain competitive. ICTC comments on how the digital economy will impact the learning system in Canada, and describes how a “multi-pronged strategy is needed to address the digital divide.” The council recommends that Canada invest in targeted national programs such as digital literacy, internship, mentorship, and the integration of internationally educated professionals through bridge training.

Retailers up the ante on technology investment to reach customers

The Retail Council of Canada (RCC), founded nearly 50 years ago, has released its new “Retail Technology in Canada” report. It provides insights on technology use, strategy and innovation among mid-to-large businesses in the Canadian retail sector.

Data collected for the report illustrates how many retailers are increasing their online presence with e-commerce and social media marketing, as well as utilizing mobile technology to enhance the customer experience. Customer relationship management and business intelligence software solutions are also increasingly employed by retailers.

rcc“Though merchants in Canada are in various stages of technology adoption,” says Diane Brisebois, President and CEO of RCC, “retailers of all formats and sizes understand the need to invest in technology to reach their customers in new and innovative ways.”

Report statistics include: 65% of respondents maintain an e-commerce site, and 68% of respondents leverage social media in marketing and promotional campaigns. The report also suggests that technology investments over the next two years are primarily customer-focused.