Six Technology Trends That Will Have the Greatest Impact on Canada in 2015

A recent series of IDC reports, commissioned by Telus, predicts that 2015 will be a transformative year for technology in Canada, as businesses increasingly embrace cloud, mobile, analytic and social technologies to accelerate innovation and gain a competitive advantage.

“In 2015, we are going to see a fundamental shift in how technology is embraced by Canadian businesses,” said Peter Green, senior vice president and president of TELUS Business Solutions. “Rather than focusing on hardware or software, technology is becoming entrenched as a critical component of every business decision.”

IDC is predicting six key trends that will drive technology decisions in 2015.


1. The cloud will increasingly drive business agility.

Customers’ expectations are rapidly evolving – they are seeking quicker upgrades, faster delivery times and more personalized services – and businesses need to respond quickly. Cloud services will provide tremendous opportunities for businesses, especially those without large IT departments, to rapidly deploy innovative new technologies to meet their customers’ needs. Hosted “as-a-service” offerings of applications and infrastructure are scalable, elastic and enable more nimble IT decision making.

The cloud will also make it easier and more affordable for small and medium-sized businesses to adopt enterprise-grade technology such as fully-featured contact centres, unified communications and collaboration tools, and mobile device management by adding them as services that are billed per user monthly.


2. The Internet of Things will enable smarter business decisions.

We’re about to enter a phase of rapid growth where we’ll see the Internet of Things (IoT) fuel innovation and transform Canadian businesses and society. IDC predicts that by the end of 2018, there will be more than 114 million smart connected devices at work in Canada. IoT will create new possibilities in almost every industry, from simple productivity enhancements to generating new revenue models.

The always-on nature of IoT solutions will provide businesses with the ability to price their services based on the exact utilization rates of their customers, similar to how insurance firms are beginning to use IoT to offer usage-based plans that reward safe drivers.


3. Information and applications will be available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

The use of legacy voice systems will continue to decline as they often cannot support the growing array of applications and services that tech-savvy employees crave and do not provide the flexibility to enable the growing trend of mobile working. Two-thirds of Canadian businesses are using an IP-based VoIP telephony system as their primary telephone system, and this number continues to rise. Meanwhile, wireless connectivity is becoming the status quo, with 90 per cent of Canadian businesses using smartphones.

The convergence of VoIP, mobile and unified communication tools will provide employees with seamless access to all their business applications (e.g., voice and video conferencing, instant messaging and content sharing) across all their devices – any information, any application, anytime, anywhere.


4. The “bring your own” trend will expand to more devices and apps.

Canadian organizations are embracing the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. A recent IDC study revealed that 73 per cent of Canadian executives indicated their organization was supporting a BYO smartphone program and 58 per cent supported BYO tablets. Those numbers are expected to increase to 77 and 63 per cent, respectively in 2015.

While the BYO trend has been popularized by mobile phones and tablets, it will expand to include additional devices and apps, particularly as wearable and IoT technology becomes more prevalent.


5. Security will continue to rise in importance.

As technologies like cloud and IoT become more widely deployed, business will need to ensure security not only across networks and applications, but also across endpoint devices and the resulting data being generated and stored. IDC’s 2014 Top Executive survey revealed that “ensuring the security of company data” is the leading concern Canadian executives have with IT.

Despite lagging behind U.S. businesses for many years, IDC reports that increased awareness of the consequences of improper security practices is driving spending growth in Canada.


6. IT departments will determine how to leave legacy skills and systems behind.

Canadian businesses are missing out on revenue growth by not adopting new technologies fast enough, while allowing ones that are outdated and expensive to manage to persist. IDC research shows that 75 per cent of IT departments’ time is directed towards managing servers, storage and other equipment, while only 25 per cent is dedicated to innovation.

However, IT professionals aspire to advance this to a 50/50 split, with more focus placed on cloud, mobility, big data and social technologies.