Did you know that just 20% of companies considered their IT infrastructure cutting-edge in 2016? But the good news is that this proportion doubled (41%) by 2019, as indicated in our fourth annual publication, IT Trends in Medium and Large-sized Canadian Companies. Of all the industries surveyed, the technology, media and telecom (TMT) sector stood out with 67% of respondents reporting that their businesses were equipped with cutting-edge hardware. The agriculture sector came in last with 0%. Another encouraging fact: across all sectors, the number of organizations using obsolete solutions fell from 6% in 2016 to 1% in 2019.

These results are a testament to how much faith businesses have in newer IT solutions. This is particularly true for companies in the TMT sector. When asked about their ability to keep up with a fast-changing market and IT transformation needs, 65% of TMT businesses said they had good in-house capabilities while another 28% reported having superior expertise on their team. Only 6% of respondents admitted to having only basic skills in this area.

1- An industry reliant on IT

TMT companies consider their IT tools as highly strategic partners (49%), the highest proportion among all industries surveyed. Organizations in this industry are more likely to use advanced data analysis technologies compared to the national average (43% versus 29%).

Our report examines the four main areas of IT: cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and human resources. Here’s what we uncovered about TMT companies.

2- Cybersecurity: A key concern

The number of Canadian businesses that fell victim to cyberattacks increased from 18% in 2018 to 37% in 2019, and TMT companies are a prime target, with 42% reporting attacks. So it’s not surprising that 39% of businesses in this industry cited security as the key issue they need to address in the next year.

Interestingly, 63% of TMT companies believe the threat comes from suppliers, partners and customers, which is a significantly higher proportion than the Canadian cross-industry average (36%). This discrepancy points to a pressing need to educate suppliers and customers, who all too often spread malware and other viruses unwittingly.

In fact, after the recent data leaks in the banking sector, more than one-half of TMT businesses (58%) reviewed their data security practices, which is more than the national average (48%).

Of the companies in this sector that reviewed their processes, 53% invested in infrastructure. It’s reassuring to see how many TMT companies are taking IT threats seriously. The only area where they come up short is transparency. Just 36% of them said they’d let customers know if they experienced an IT security breach.

“Even though businesses in this industry have a good appreciation of the importance of security, they still need to do more to protect themselves from external threats,” says Éric Cothenet, Director of Technology Solutions at NOVIPRO. “Given the nature and volume of the data they handle, these companies need bullet-proof security planning.”

3- Artificial intelligence: Widespread use

As TMT businesses continue developing their IT assets, they are set to be the leading investors in artificial intelligence over the next two years (45%). Meanwhile, the national cross-sector average stands at 36%. Just under half (49%) of these companies are turning to AI to increase their productivity, while 42% hope it will reduce their operating costs.

In other sectors, businesses expect AI to impact their industries in the very short term, but 40% of TMT companies only expect to see a difference within 3 to 5 years. Another 26% believe the impact will surface within 1 to 2 years, while another 26% say they’ve already witnessed AI-driven changes.

4- Cloud computing: A popular choice

Cloud computing is steadily gaining traction. Nearly one half of companies (47%) believe that cloud solutions have helped them improve their efficiency. The proportion is higher among tech, media and telecom companies (58%) and even higher among transport companies (65%).

The intended uses of cloud computing include data backup (48%), big data (48%) and analytics (42%). Although no companies reported shying away from the cloud because it is too complex, insufficient support (43%) and perceived performance issues (50%) made some businesses reluctant. The factors that have prompted or could prompt businesses to switch to the cloud include increasing agility and flexibility (53%), updating their IT infrastructure (47%) and reducing costs (43%).

5- Human resources: Still challenging

Businesses in this sector confirmed that their IT departments face human resources challenges, which include a lack of training and skills development (66%), communications and information sharing (64%), issues with work–life balance (63%) and intergenerational conflict (63%). In our study, the TMT industry stood out with some of the highest results in these categories.

Even though TMT businesses are grappling with shortcomings and need to make improvements in areas like cybersecurity, they are leading the way in IT optimization. Even so, they’ll have to keep up the good work if they want to keep their lead.

Learn more about the 2020 TI NOVIPRO/LÉGER study: download the full study.