Three-in-Five Canadian Organizations Are Open to Using AI: Report

CDW Canada’s report, The Evolution of AI Adoption in Canadian Businesses: Perceptions and Trends, is among the first studies that uncovers AI trends unique to Canadian organizations

CDW Canada, a leading provider of technology solutions and services for Canadian organizations, today released new research about the attitudes, concerns and adoption patterns of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in Canada. The Evolution of AI Adoption in Canadian Businesses: Perceptions and Trends contains research conducted among members of the Angus Reid Forum, including over 300 IT decision-makers across businesses of varying sizes and industries throughout Canada.

Organizations recognize the benefits of AI adoption

As Canadian organizations navigate the rapidly advancing AI landscape, a sense of cautious optimism persists. Three-in-five organizations (61 percent) are open to using AI and over half (58 percent) believe that incorporating AI enhances productivity and efficiency. Despite this openness, only half (51 percent) feel comfortable about its current use.

The most common benefits Canadian organizations expect following investment in AI include increased productivity and efficiency (58 percent), increased data/information availability (48 percent) and financial benefits or cost reductions (42 percent).

“Organizations recognize the transformative potential of AI and its ability to not only enhance operational efficiency but to drive innovation and growth,” said Michael Traves, DevOps/AI Cloud Principal Architect at CDW Canada. “The current discomfort with AI adoption stems from a lack of understanding around important pieces of the AI puzzle, including security, education and compliance.”

Understanding Al creates challenges for integration

Lack of knowledge and education are the primary obstacles Canadian organizations face when embracing AI and data analytics tools, despite the recognized benefits.

While half (52 percent) of IT decision-makers whose organizations have implemented AI for specific tools consider the process easy, only one-in-five (21 percent) IT decision-makers feel confident in their organization’s ability to implement them effectively. This highlights a significant gap in education and governance between those responsible for overseeing AI integration, the organizations they work for and assumptions about the complexity of AI tools.

Organizations are just scratching the surface of AI tools

Most organizations are only scratching the surface in exploring the capabilities of data analytics and AI tools.

The most widely used AI tools are natural language processing (NLP) tools. While useful, NLPs are not representative of AI’s full scope and capabilities. One-in-five organizations use machine learning and deep learning platforms (20 percent) and automation and optimization tools (19 percent) compared to half (50 percent) that use NLP and interaction tools. For Canadian organizations to remain competitive there needs to be greater education on AI’s full potential.

Public and private sectors have differing paths to AI adoption

The landscape of AI adoption varies between the public and private sectors, with each facing distinct challenges and opportunities. Both are open to AI adoption, but a higher portion of public sector respondents (64 percent) express openness for AI adoption compared to the private sector (58 percent).

The public sector places stronger emphasis on security, privacy and data protection, with over half (57 percent) citing these as high-risk factors, along with personal data breaches (54 percent). By comparison, the private sector is more concerned with issues such as biased inputs/user programming (42 percent), ethical implications (41 percent) and unclear legal regulations (40 percent). This discrepancy underscores the public sector’s heightened sensitivity to the potential consequences of breaches and its commitment to safeguarding Canadians’ data and privacy.

“The concerns of both the public and private sectors are extremely important and must be handled thoughtfully to enable both to continue innovating and optimizing with AI tools,” said KJ Burke, Field CTO, Hybrid Infrastructure at CDW Canada. “A trusted third-party can handle issues of security, governance and compliance, freeing up time for organizations to focus on positive outcomes of AI tools.”

Learn more about the state of AI adoption among Canadian organizations and download the report here.

Join the conversation online by following @CDWCanada on X and LinkedIn.

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