e-business capability and interests 
updated 2004 Nov 10
Nini Mounivong of BCS 555 in November 2004 provided several helpful updates to this section on Canada and e-Business

Thanks Nini, Witiger

. In May 2003 the Globe and Mail did a special e-Business Report (which they have done every once in a while over the past few years). This report referred to the CeBi - Canadian E-Business Initiative and a study done by the CeBi which was, in effect "Canada's On-line Report card". This section will look at what the Globe said + we will look at the CeBi site itself and material from the original report.


Learning Objectives After studying this unit students will be able to:
  • understand the role that the federal government plays in trying to shape and develop business strategies in the private sector through the sponsorship of entities like the CeBi - Canadian E-Business Initiative 
  • identify and describe various strengths and weaknesses Canada has in the e-business world
  • identify Canada's ranking globally on various e-business indicators as it relates to aprpeciating our national competitiveness
  • recognize the process in which the government facilitates change and awareness in industry through partnerships in studies and projects




. The advantage in discussing a topic through the use of a national newspaper article is that newspaper journalists approach a story in a way which makes it easy for students to learn. Journalists are trained to describe the most important points all in the first paragraph - which makes it easy for a student to quickly know what the subject is about.

Secondly, while the internet allows anybody to post content, newspapers on the national level, have their stories go through an editorial process so the facts are checked and nothing is printed (on paper or online) which is grossly incorrect.

Thirdly, journalists are skilled at taking a big topic and synthezing it into simple easy to understand phrases so the "average person on the street" can understand an issue which might be very complex and detailed

So although we will go direct to the CeBi - Canadian E-Business Initiative site later, it is useful to begin this unit by first looking at what the Globe and Mail said about the study.


The Globe article explained
"Canada's strong economic performance is not well understood internationally, CeBI stated.

Studies of U.S. business show investor and general public perceptions of Canada's economy as primarily resource-based and that "Canada's innovation image is weak." Image and perception and not performance, CeBI concluded, are the major hindrances to attracting additional investment and skills to the
Canadian market. 

A related CeBI report, called Net Impact Canada: The International Experience, compared Canada's e-business adoption of e-commerce among small to medium enterprises to three leading European countries and the United States. That study revealed that Canada compares very favourably, and even leads in key areas such as e-government.

The studies "clearly illustrate that governments and business in Canada must work to address the weaknesses which are holding us back from creating a dynamic, robust and productive e-business climate," CeBI co-chairman Pierre Paul Allard said."

Insurance Canada Nini from BCS 555 found a site that shows Canadian government websites ranking high according to an international comparison done by the giant consulting firm Accenture.
Top Ten Government services online
United States
The United Kingdom
Hong Kong
Nini suggests these excerpts below are the most useful information to read from the long report

The Insurance Canada article explained 

"Leading the way in eGovernment innovation is Canada , which outperformed the other 22 nations studied the second straight year the country has held this leadership position on the eGovernment stage. Canada is midway through its ambitious five-year goal to become the world's most citizen-connected government by 2004. By that date, the country plans to provide Canadians with electronic access to all federal programs and services, at the time and place of their choosing...."

"Citizens' expectations of government have been permanently altered in recent years by forces such as: aging populations, increased service expectations, security concerns, a talent crunch, competition by the private sector and fiscal pressure that forces governments to find ways to do more with less," said David Hunter, Group Chief Executive of Accenture's Government group. "End-to-end eGovernment transactions are emerging as one of the most promising tools for governments to use in achieving real transformation as they deliver public services in the 21st century." 

The Insurance Canada website also had other related articles:
Canada Continues to be a Global Leader on Connectedness 

OTTAWA , August 8, 2002 More Canadians are browsing, interacting, learning, and buying over the Internet every year, according to the annual Connectedness Index from The Conference Board of Canada

Canada is a global leader in the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) second only to the U.S. Four sectors in particular benefit from Canada 's strength in connectedness health, education and learning, business, and government.

"Canada is clearly connected, for example, we ranked first in the index for on-line banking, government on-line services, and broadband penetration, " said Brian Guthrie, Director, Innovation and Knowledge Management at the Conference Board. "Each year Canadians are becoming more comfortable with computers, the Internet, and their applications, but we shouldn't be complacent. Other countries are making connectedness a priority and are progressing quickly..."

The report points to three key opportunities for improvement broadband services, content, and wireless. Focusing on these areas will offer Canada the most opportunity to strengthen its position as a leader in connectedness, and improve its overall socio-economic performance. Broadband high-speed connections allows for new applications involving video, sound, and large data files..."

The Insurance Canada website also had other related articles:
Canada Gets with IT: eMarketer 

September 29, 2004

Nini Mounivong of BCS 555 says that it is interesting to note that "eMarketer reports that 2004 will see the first significant increase in technology spending by Canadian businesses and government since 2001."
- so, Nini says we had some quiet times in the early years of the millenium, but things are picking up now in 2004.
"With small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) making up a significant portion of the Canadian business market, it should come as little surprise that the adoption of advanced e-business solutions has been somewhat slow in Canada, since smaller companies are typically more conservative when it comes to technology spending."
"Now Canadian government and industry organizations are putting considerable efforts into to educating SMEs about the benefits of e-business, because up until now most Canadian companies have hesitated to invest in advanced e-business solutions".

The eMarketer article reports

"...Canadian companies have been less aggressive in their use of technology to transform business processes than American firms, the report states. 

According to government data, labor productivity in the United States grew by 4.5% in 2003, while Canadian labor productivity grew by just 0.4% last year. 

"Large enterprises outside of Canada have influenced and, at times, mandated the adoption of certain new technologies as a condition for doing business. The result is that trading partners and competitors see the value in greater e-business connectivity..." 



The Net Impact Study by the original authors

The Net Impact Study by the original authors


. The article above noted "A related CeBI report, called Net Impact Canada" - this report in fact has its own site we will look at this to see Canada's "e" capability in the context of the world.

Before we begin, understand that is

The Net Impact Study Canada is in a PDF format and can be read online at




. The CeBi report came from the CeBi which is a quasi-govermental agency sponsored by Industry Canada (a large federal government ministry) and some industry associations and large companies. In the U.S. reports like the CeBi are often commissioned by large companies like Microsoft or IBM - in Canada thee are often done in co-operation with a government ministry. The Canadian government is very ivolved in trying to facilitate awareness of the opportunities for Canadians and Canadian business to use the internet to greatest advantage as it would go towards increasing the competitiveness of the Canadian economy and enhanceour lifestyle.

CeBi has a website as part of the Industry Canada website - we will go there to learn more about this agency.


A lot of the way the CeBi works is through committees that study things (they call them teams), these teams are divided into different topics. The topics are
  • e-Business Engagement
  • Business e-Transformation
  • Online Privacy & Security
  • e-Talent Issues for SMEs
  • Benchmarking & Metrics
  • Branding
  • Investment Climate 

Here is an example of how the CeBi works, the e-Business Engagement team is lead by John Maduri, President, TELUS Business Solutions. They have been studying the fact that Canadian SMEs lag their U.S. counterparts in adoption and use of e-business."The e-Business Engagement team will focus its efforts on raising the awareness of SMEs and providing the necessary tools."

Canada's online report card
. We will return to The Globe & Mail web site for further info from the special report By KEVIN MARRON "Canada's on-line report card"

If you click on the screen capture below you might still be able to go to the report, but it depends on how long the newspaper will keep it on the site

WTGR The report said

"In two separate documents, compiled by teams of industry insiders, analysts and academic experts, CeBi issued a report card on Canada's e-business and compared its performance to international competitors in the United States and European Union.

Both reports focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are defined as organizations with 500 employees or fewer. It's a sector that accounts for 60 per cent of Canada's economic output, 80 per cent of overall national employment and 85 per cent of all new jobs.

The CeBi studies found that smaller Canadian SMEs, with 100 employees or fewer, are ahead of their counterparts in the United Stats and Europe in adopting Internet business solutions while larger Canadian SMEs are running neck and neck in this category with competitors south of the border, leaving European businesses lagging behind."


Additionally the report said
"Canadian companies were also at the top of the class in their ability to use e-business solutions to cut costs, reducing the costs of goods sold by 10.7 per cent, compared to reductions of 6.9 per cent down south and 1.3 per cent in Europe."

for students
"... 28.4 per cent of Canadian firms have told CeBi researchers that they have no plans to implement Internet business solutions within the next three years. The studies found that many companies fail to adopt e-business because of a lack of access to skilled talent, a shortage of time and money, and a lack of tools geared to the needs of smaller organizations."
- this obviously means companies are lacking in people they can hire that know e-business well.

'Many grads lack appropriate IT skills'
"Close to one-quarter of SMEs interviewed in an earlier CeBi study said they could not find people with technical skills to help them implement Internet business solutions, and more than 40 per cent cited employee training as a barrier to e-business"

connecting to the net
"More than three-quarters of Canadian businesses had access to the Internet in 2002, up from 63 per cent in 2000, but small businesses are still lagging behind in Internet adoption, according to the report, which notes that the Organization for Economic Development ranked Canada only 12th in connectivity of businesses with 10 or more employees.

"Much more needs to be done to encourage SMEs to get connected and, more importantly, to move from basic connection to the use of e-business. Otherwise, Canada risks losing out on the productivity gains created by e-business adoption," the report states."

'Citizens embrace the Internet'
"With 63 per cent of the population on-line, Canada leads the United States in Internet use but Canadians are not shopping on-line as much, and more than a quarter of their spending is on U.S. sites.

Canadian consumers are reluctant to buy goods on-line because they are concerned about security and privacy. Their concerns about privacy are so strong that three-quarters of Canadian on-line consumers chose not to make any on-line purchases in the past year, the report states."