Posted February 4, 2010
Ottawa, February 4, 2010. The under-use of technology by businesses is a problem confronting many jurisdictions around the world. A new study shows that policy makers have deployed an array of measures to try to encourage businesses to make greater use of technology. The study suggests that a combination of these measures might hold the best prospects for substantively changing the technology use patterns of Canadian business.
The paper, “Leveraging ICT Adoption: What Can Work for Business,” was prepared by Jacek Warda on behalf of ITAC, the Information Technology Association of Canada. Tax incentives such as the accelerated capital cost allowance on hardware and some forms of software introduced as a stimulus measure in the last federal budget are widely used. But the paper also notes that direct grant-based measures such as technology voucher programs are gaining popularity, particularly in European countries. The paper notes these, “programs are designed with administrative simplicity in mind… Countries such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom implemented the vouchers with more attempting to follow this path.” The paper points out that voucher programs can be designed to target specific business segments, such as small and medium-sized businesses, and to cover not only technology investment but investment in training and consulting expertise as well.
The under-use of technology is now understood to be a major contributing factor to lagging productivity. This has been identified as an important public policy challenge for Canada. A recent report from the Centre for the Study of Living Standards shows that in 2008, Canada’s investment in information and communication technology per worker was 62 per cent that of the United States. This troubling rate of technology use is particularly acute among the small- and medium-sized businesses that play such an important role in the Canadian economy.
The paper also suggests other measures to encourage technology adoption, noting for example that public procurement has the “potential to stimulate technology adoption in the private sector. Government can be an influential customer and partner for the private sector through its contracting out of research and procuring innovative products and services from business. Public procurement policies can play an important role and governments are increasingly interested in using this lever to stimulate business demand for innovative products and services.”
The full paper, published by ITAC with support from Accenture Inc., Intel of Canada Ltd., SaskTel, and the Government of Canada, can be found here.
The Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) is the voice of the Canadian information and communications technologies (ICT) industry. ITAC represents a diverse ICT community spanning telecommunications and internet services, ICT consulting services, hardware, microelectronics, software and electronic content. ITAC’s community of companies accounts for more than 70 per cent of the 572,700 jobs, $155.3-billion in revenue, $6.22-billion in R&D investment, $30.4-billion in exports and $11.8-billion in capital expenditures that the ICT industry contributes annually to the Canadian economy. ITAC is a prominent advocate for the expansion of Canada’s innovative capacity and for stronger productivity across all sectors through the strategic use of technology.
For further information, please contact:
Senior Vice-President, ITAC
613-238-4822 (ext. 223)
Manager, Communications, ITAC
613-238-4822 (ext. 224)