Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) digital adoption plan requirements

As experts in technology adoption, digital advisors will need to work with their small and medium sized enterprises (SME) clients to develop a digital adoption plan tailored to their needs. The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) digital adoption plan requirements found on this page outlines the minimum information CDAP digital advisors are required to provide in the digital adoption plan for SMEs participating in the CDAP Boost Your Business Technology stream.

Table of contents

What is a digital adoption plan and why is it required?

A digital adoption plan is a digital transformation strategy and technology adoption roadmap for an SME. SMEs will develop their plan with a Digital Advisor registered on the program's advisory marketplace.

A good digital adoption plan provides an in-depth analysis of a company's goals and needs, an assessment of technology adoption options, and a roadmap for technology implementation. A custom digital adoption plan can help a business:

  • improve results, efficiency and productivity
  • increase competitiveness both within Canada and internationally
  • meet business and customer needs
  • provide a roadmap for current and future technology investments
  • provide a basis for growth and scale

What is the difference between a digital marketing audits or website optimization plans and digital adoption plans?

Digital marketing audits and website optimization plans are designed to enhance specific areas of a businesses online presence. These initiatives focus on improving marketing strategies and refining website performance, which are crucial for driving customer engagement and growth and these types of plans typically come at lower costs.

A digital adoption plan takes a more comprehensive approach and evaluates a businesses operational processes, including where they already use existing technology, and assess how their current technology could be either improved or expanded on. The main objective of a digital adoption plan is to transform the way a business operates by leveraging technology to achieve both short-term and long-term objectives.

Receiving the Boost Your Business Technology grant

To receive the Boost Your Business Technology grant, SMEs must submit their digital adoption plan and invoice from their Digital Advisor. An officer reviews the plan to confirm it meets the requirements and once complete, the grant is disbursed to the SME and they can access the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) loan application or wage subsidy to implement new technology.

As a reminder, only costs directly associated with developing a digital adoption plan are eligible under CDAP's Boost your Business Technology grant. Costs associated to technology implementation are not eligible for the grant.

CDAP Digital Adoption Plan requirements

In order to qualify for the grant, a digital adoption plan needs to include the following sections. Under each section you will find useful information and optional sections that digital advisors can include in the plans based on the business's needs.

For streamlined processing, the plan needs to include:

  • Business' legal name and address
  • Digital advisor company name and address
  • Date the plan was completed

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary includes a high-level summary of the key elements of the digital adoption plan for each business, such as key findings, key recommended projects and the anticipated benefits of the digital adoption plan.

In addition to this, it should provide an overview of how the assessment was conducted for the specific SME.

2. SME business and technology current state assessment

This section includes information about the current state of the small or medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) business – including the business's strategic goals, process challenges, and the baseline of your current technology. Required information includes:

  • Key business information (e.g., sector, corporate structure, operations, value proposition, etc.)
  • Overview of the business's current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
  • Review of your business's external issues (market, competition, business model) and future key business goals
  • Identification of three to five key business processes
  • Important external factors, such as market and competition
  • Identification and assessment of existing technology and digital solutions being used by the business (infrastructure, applications, cybersecurity and privacy compliance practises, technology staff and partners, integration between existing technology solutions, etc.) and how they help the business meets its goals.

This section could include:

  • An organization chart;
  • Assessment of existing governance and management processes, including performance management;
  • Mapping of high-level business processes
  • Cybersecurity assessment (cybersecurity assessments that meet industry-approved standards do not need to match CDAP criteria, e.g., ISO27000, or US Department of Defense's (DOD) Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0 program).

3. Digital technology options analysis and recommendations

This section includes the technology and digital solutions recommended to boost a business's technology. It provides an overall digital strategy, and provides three recommended technologies that can enable the business to increase its digital maturity. The plan provides an analysis of how each of those solutions will benefit the business.

This section could include:

  • Analysis of which business processes would benefit most from automation or digitalization
  • Feasibility and dependency analysis that allows your business to prioritize recommended enhancements

Note on vendor neutrality:

CDAP digital adoption plans must remain impartial and vendor-neutral. The recommended technologies need to focus on business capabilities rather than the vendors who provide these services.

While digital advisors can include examples of different service providers for a specific technology, they need to provide an objective perspective and must refrain from showing preference to one vendor in particular.

SMEs interested in guidance on finding a technology vendor could consider including a technology vendor selection analysis as a part of their plan (see optional sections).

4. Implementation roadmap

This section includes an implementation roadmap that identifies the key timelines and costs to acquire and implement the recommended options.

It should identify the high-level requirements to implement the top three solutions, such as financial requirements, degrees of implementation complexity, skills and competency requirements, and change management these technologies will require of the business.

This section could include:

  • A Gantt chart outlining a schedule of required work

Optional sections of a digital adoption plan

The sections below are optional and are not required for a digital adoption plan to be accepted by CDAP, however digital advisors can include them in their plans based on the business needs of their SME clients.

Assessment of business readiness for a major technology project

A digital adoption plan could include a review of the business's readiness to undertake significant digital adoption projects.

This section could include:

  • A change management plan from both a human resources and operational point of view;
  • Review of implementation project phases, overall complexity and team roles;
  • Identification of required technical skills and competencies;
  • Assessment of expected benefits, business goals, and timelines for implementing solutions.
  • Solutions to fill the gap of missing technical skills and competencies that will be required
  • Recommendations on implementation phases, and SME project team roles.

Technology vendor selection analysis

SMEs that are ready for digital adoption can benefit from advice on establishing a vendor selection process for purchasing new technology. This section outlines the process for a business to acquire new technology while remaining impartial and vendor-neutralFootnote 1.

Tangible takeaways from this section can include:

  • Assessment of process or overall business readiness to adopt a new technology
  • Guidance on defining business and technology requirements
  • Guidance on preparing and manage a vendor selection process
  • Guidance on preparing a statement of work and contract

Maximizing CDAP's Youth Placement Wage Subsidy and BDC loan

SMEs that receive a Boost your Business Technology grant are eligible to apply for further support to implement their digital adoption plan:

  • If SMEs are ready to move forward with their digital transformation but don't have the necessary cashflow, BDC can help with a 0% interest loan of up to $100,000.
  • SMEs can also hire talented students or recent graduates to help their business achieve its digital adoption goals. The business will receive a wage subsidy of up to $7,300 to hire talent through a work placement through Magnet.

SMEs should work with their digital advisor to understand how they can best take advantage of these funding opportunities to accelerate their digital transformation and maximize the benefits from participating in CDAP.