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Technology to meet the challenges of local businesses

Published august 23 2022


Supply chain issues, labour shortages, cyber attacks: local businesses are facing several critical challenges. Thankfully, technology can help overcome them.


Challenge 1: constantly evolving technology  

Digitization allows businesses to improve their productivity, the quality of their products, and their customer experience. And this shift is not optional: if you don’t do it, your competitors certainly will. Unfortunately, keeping up with many technological changes isn’t always easy.


For example, new technology can sometimes be difficult to integrate into your existing physical infrastructure, and an expertise is required to keep it up to date. Certain constraints, like the risks associated with damages and data security, can be quite stressful to businesses.


This is partly why so many companies have massively adopted cloud-computing technology, where the traditional physical IT system is replaced with a data centre access.


Whether it be for customer relationship management (think Zoho or Salesforce), cloud communications, or the processing of data with private software (from simple inventory management to optimization via automatic learning), there exist more and more sophisticated tools that are cloud compatible. As such, businesses no longer need to worry about physical infrastructure and software. Instead, teams of experts handle the installation, repairs, and updates.


Cloud computing also allows companies to accelerate their transformation, making it easy to quickly adopt new technology as soon as it hits the market, without having to ensure the profitability of the material and equipment already in place.


Challenge 2: the labour shortage

The current labour shortage is negatively impacting Canadian businesses. And talent recruitment is considered a major obstacle by 38.5% of them, according to the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, conducted in early 2022 by Statistics Canada.


During the first quarter of 2022, for every 100 job vacancies in the country, there were only 33.6 new hires. In comparison, the ratio of new hires to vacancies in 2016 was 81.1. Certain sectors, like accommodation and food services, healthcare, and professional, scientific, and technical services, are particularly affected by the crisis.


The repercussions of the labour shortage are many. Some business, for example, have been forced to reduce their business hours or curtail their operations. In both cases, the financial impacts are quickly and significantly felt.


To compensate, businesses must come up with ways to make the most of the employees they do have.


And that’s partly what explains why cloud communications are so popular. Cloud communications tools allow workers to collaborate no matter where they are—on the road, at home, or in the office. Gone are the days where meetings had to be rescheduled until everyone was available!

Even better, these new communication methods facilitate the delocalization of personnel during times of labour shortage. Why limit yourself to your city, when you can hire talent anywhere in Québec, or even the world?


In some cases, you might even be able to run your business without certain physical locations (for a delocalized call centre, for example, where all the employees work from home).


This also makes expertise more easily accessible to all, which means that operations run more smoothly, even when one or more employees are out of commission.



Challenge 3: consumers’ new habits

With the first Millennials heading into their 40s, and the pandemic democratizing e-commerce, consumers’ habits have changed significantly in the last couple of years.


Gone are the days when people were loyal to one brand. The rise in e-commerce, which makes it easier for consumers to discover new businesses, as well as the importance placed on the customer experience, means that people are increasingly willing to venture outside their brand comfort zone.


For example, in the United States, according to the PwC Customer Loyalty Survey 2022, 35% of Millennials are interested in trying new brands. In all, 26% of consumers have ceased using or buying products from a business in the past year.


These changes represent a challenge for companies that wish to retain their customers, but they also represent an opportunity for those that wish to acquire new ones.


To do so, entrepreneurs need to start by really understanding the needs of current and future customers, as well as managing and exceeding their expectations at every step of the consumer journey.


Nowadays, a reactive and competent website, channels optimized for various platforms, personalized communications, a social media presence, and search engine optimization and online marketing strategies are more important than ever before.


Challenge 4: IT security

Cyber attacks are increasingly affecting Canadian businesses. In their most recent annual report on the cost of data leaks, IBM determined that data breaches now cost Canadian businesses 7.05 million dollars per incident—a number that is higher than ever.


And that’s not even considering other types of attacks, such as Distributed Denial of Service attacks (DDoS), against which companies must protect themselves. In 2020, more than 17 million such attacks were reported. According to a global study conducted by Accenture on the resilience of cybersecurity, cyber attacks increased 31% between 2021 and 2022 only. On average, the companies surveyed claimed they fall victim to such attacks more than 200 times each year.


Thankfully, cloud-computing security has improved over the years, and today is much easier to manage than the update and protection of onsite physical infrastructure.


Challenge 5: supply chain issues

The challenges related to supply chains, which appeared with or were exacerbated by the pandemic, continue to negatively impact Canadian businesses.

In fact, according to Statistics Canada’s Analysis on supply chains in Canada, first quarter of 2022, 71.9% of the companies surveyed confirm that their supply chain issues progressively got worse over the last three months. Only 2.8% noted an improvement.


These challenges are many. For example, the majority of Canadian companies are experiencing delivery delays, price increases, and supply issues.


There is no magical solution to fix these supply chain issues. However, adopting certain technologies, like the Internet of Things, can help increase a company’s productivity and production quality, as well as minimize the impacts of the crisis.


You probably recognize yourself in most of these challenges. The experts at fibrenoire can help you overcome them . . . and in some cases, even help you transform your problems into opportunities.