Toccacelli & Associates


ITAC/ACTI

Information Technology Association

of Canada (ITAC)

How do we stop losing tech companies?

Friday, February 10, 2012
Adam Chowaniec
Globe and Mail Blog

Canada has been losing technology companies at a dizzying pace of late, with Gennum Corp. and RuggedCom succumbing recently to takeover bids. Veteran technology executive Adam Chowaniec, who once ran Tundra Semiconductor (another company that was sold), believes there are things Canada can do to stop the bleeding. In this Streetwise guest post, he lays out his views.

Although entrepreneurship is alive and well in Canada, and we create a lot of new technology start-ups, we do not get many of these companies to a size that has the potential to impact the economy in a major way. Even for companies that have managed to grow sufficiently to become publically traded in Canada, they are too often lost to acquisition.

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Speaker says prosperity of country at stake if we fail to be competitive

February 15, 2010

HALIFAX - An industry gathering of IT professionals recently heard Canada is lagging behind other countries in the adoption of information technology.

"The facts are irrefutable," said Tom Turchet while speaking to a sold-out crowd of 200 people at Digital Nova Scotia's annual dinner. He's the vice-chair of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and is also an executive with IBM.

In the World Economic Forum's 2009-2010 Global Competitiveness Report, it ranked Canada ninth overall. Canada ranked ninth in availability to the latest technology, but ranked 21st for absorption of technology.

In a report released in January by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC), the average amount spent on information and communication technologies in 2007 was $1,690 per worker in Atlantic Canada, which amounted to 80 per cent of the national average.

The Canadian average amounts to about 80 per cent of the American average, said Turchet.

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IBM vp: Canada lags in IT
By CLARE MELLOR Staff Reporter

A Canadian leader in information technology says this country is seriously lagging behind other major countries when it comes to the adoption of new information technology.

"There is what I call a crisis in Canada," Tom Turchet, the chairman of the Information Technology Association of Canada, said in a telephone interview Wednesday from his office in Toronto.

"It is irrefutable that we are not keeping up."

As an example Turchet, a vice-president with IBM Corp., pointed to a Canadian company he heard about that was debating whether to invest in technology or a new truck.

"People running that company are comfortable that they understand what a new truck would provide them . . . versus what technology can provide in terms of larger region marketplaces or movement of goods," Turchet said.

A number of studies support the theory that Canada is lagging behind its competitors including one by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that was released late last year, he said.

It "ranks Canada ninth in the world as a country to live in, which is fantastic. However, it ranks us 21st in the world in our absorption of technology."

Canadian firms, mostly in the medium- and small-business sector, are estimated to be about 20 per cent behind comparable firms in the United States when it comes to adoption of new technology, Turchet said.

"They don’t really think of technology as a competitive tool or a competitive advantage," he said.

The Atlantic provinces are investing less than the rest of the country in information and communications technology, a report released in January by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council said.

The Atlantic provinces invested about $1.85 billion in information and communications technology in 2007, the report said

"This amounts to $1,690 per worker, only 80 per cent of the national rate of $2,110 in (information and communications technology) investment per worker."

The largest component of Atlantic ICT investment — about 40 per cent — is in computers and related equipment, the report added.

Some might say, "so what?"

But Turchet said the adoption of new digital technology is directly linked to Canada’s competiveness and prosperity.

Turchet hopes the federal budget will support the implementation of a country-wide technology strategy, which his association has been pushing for.

"Government, (educators) and private sector really need to step this up in terms of a co-ordinated approach," he said.

Turchet will be speaking in Halifax today at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel to members of the Information Technology Industry Alliance of Nova Scotia.

ITAC was having trouble getting traction for their need to have the Government of Canada to develop an ICT strategy. Through, Toccacelli & Associates, ITAC was able to secure an editorial board with the Toronto Star (Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper).  The editorial board was successful in helping ITAC raise awareness of the issue against the backdrop of a potential federal election in Canada due to a minority Government.  Subsequently, Toccacelli & Associates was able to ghost write an op-ed for ITAC to opportunisticly exploit a public policy issue related to electronic health records.

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Endorsements

James was engaged to undertake a strategic review of the Corporate Communications function at BASF Canada. He exceeded my expectations by also delivering a communications strategy and an operational plan for our Company; and did it both under budget and on time. His work required stakeholder engagement, as well as a keen understanding of both the “what” and the “how” a Communications’ department contributes to our enterprises’ responsible commercial success. I recommend him highly.

Laurent Tainturier
Bundesakademie fur Sicherheitspolitik, project assignment abroad for BASF Canada-BASF Group


James has been providing communications support to SAP for approximately 18 months. In that time he has provided speech writing, media training, proactive media relations and strategic communications counsel. James can always be counted on to provide senior leaders with prudent, thoughtful and candid counsel. His is senior enough to know his place, but forceful enough to ensure that his point of view is considered.

Mark Aboud
Global Head of Inside Sales at SAP


James is one of the best communicators I ever know. He is quick at grasping the issue(s) and has an amazing ability to turn messy bits of information into passages that tell the story succinctly and clearly. His ability to weed through the noise and arrive at sound conclusions has served to save time and resources when there was a lot of uncertainties. James has a great sense of humor which makes working with fun and joyful! And he is a loyal friend in good times and in difficult situations.

Jean Liu
Executive at IBM Global Technology Services