A survey of Canadian “IT decision makers” shows most companies welcome the use of artificial intelligence in their work, but are concerned for its current uses.

The survey from CDW in collaboration with Angus Reid, released Tuesday, shows 61 per cent of respondents are open to using AI and 58 per cent believe it helps productivity, but 49 per cent are uncomfortable with its current uses.

Michael Traves, the devops and AI cloud principal architect at CDW Canada, said in a news release that much of the discomfort surrounding AI comes from a misunderstanding of the technology.

“Organizations recognize the transformative potential of AI and its ability to not only enhance operational efficiency but to drive innovation and growth,” he said in the release. “The current discomfort with AI adoption stems from a lack of understanding around important pieces of the AI puzzle, including security, education and compliance.”

The optimism surrounding AI echoes a similar report from the financial services company Square, which found 100 per cent of responding Canadian restaurants believe AI can help with staffing and food prep, among other use cases.

The report also speculated AI could one day help with pairing food and drink choices to individual tastes for an elevated experience.

Understanding of AI has also hurt the implementation of the software, however. More than half of respondents have already implemented some form of AI into their workplace, but on 21 per cent of respondents believe their company is doing it effectively.

CDW explains the disconnect “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.”

Small businesses lag behind

The survey also found a lack of AI knowledge among small businesses, as just 28 per cent of small businesses were aware of AI data processing tools, compared to 60 per cent of larger businesses.

Small businesses are also less likely to benefit from AI adoption, the survey found. Just 18 per cent of small businesses found AI provided customer service benefits and only 20 per cent reported it helped with decision-making.

Overall, CDW recommends tailoring AI solutions to individual employees’ needs, for businesses to train employees on AI and evaluate the AI options to find the best organizational fit. 


These are the findings of an online survey conducted by CDW from February 1 to February 8, 2024, among a sample of 309 IT decision-makers who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/-6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.