Futuristic monitor with information data
Futuristic monitor showing information data on a dark background.

The Canadian public sector is ripe for digital innovation, especially when it comes to how government institutions can leverage data to drive transformation and address evolving citizen expectations, according to new research released today from Microsoft Canada.

A survey of 658 business decision-makers from Canadian organizations – including public sector, private sector and non-profits – shows the majority of decision-makers in government and public sector (67 per cent) understand the importance of data and agree that it’s integral to an organization’s success. But while understanding among those in the public sector ranks higher than the overall survey respondents (61 per cent), less than a third (31 per cent) of these decision-makers say their organization has a comprehensive data strategy and even fewer (22 per cent) feel their organization is data-led.

Over the past two years, government agencies of all types and sizes have invested in technology such as the cloud and AI to manage disruption in response to the pandemic. For many public sector organizations, this represented a dramatic acceleration of their digital strategies. Whether it was enabling employees to work remotely, migrating paper-based processes to the cloud or scaling citizen services, adopting new solutions has not only resulted in greater efficiency and cost-savings, but has also yielded unprecedented amounts of data. However, our findings show that only a quarter of decision-makers (25 per cent) say their organization has rethought its data strategy since the start of the pandemic. Now, as we transition to the post-pandemic economy, it is crucial that government leaders take the next step in their digital journeys – to optimize their investments in technology and take advantage of their most valuable asset: their data.


Almost half (44 per cent) of respondents in government and public sector say their organization aims to become more data-savvy in in the foreseeable future. To unleash the full potential of data within the public sector, we’ve established the Microsoft Government Innovation Centre located in Ottawa. Operating under the umbrella of our Data Innovation Centre of Excellence (DICE) in Toronto, the Microsoft Government Innovation Centre will bridge government customers and partners with Microsoft expertise to address the technical, architectural and service delivery challenges that are unique to public sector leaders.

Our goal is to empower government organizations at all levels with the tools to derive actionable insights and make more informed data-driven decisions to help sustain Canada’s momentum as we continue to recover from the pandemic. At Microsoft, we understand that those in the public sector must often navigate additional layers of complexity to drive innovation, especially when it comes to security, compliance and implementation. Yet, many government organizations who have already prioritized their data strategy are seeing powerful outcomes.

Transport Canada and NRCan (Natural Resources Canada) are two examples of effective public and private technology sector collaboration. NRCan leverages Microsoft technology to apply digital solutions to support their sustainable development and client action research. Using cloud, data and artificial intelligence (AI) they are developing a platform for national and global science cooperation.

Transport Canada uses Microsoft technology including Power Apps and Dynamics 365 to better improve their central mandate which is to safeguard Canadas’ transportation corridors. This technology is increasing the productivity of the agency’s operations including their inspections process, without sacrificing data security or employee safety.

Collaborating with organizations like Transport Canada and NRCan truly illustrates what we can achieve when the public and private sectors work together to power a more innovative, resilient and ultimately stronger government for all citizens.