CDAP digital adoption plan guide and template

CDAP digital adoption plan guide

The CDAP digital adoption plan guide outlines the minimum information that Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) digital advisors are required to provide in a digital adoption plan for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) participating in the CDAP Boost Your Business Technology stream.

As experts in their own businesses and sectors, SMEs are encouraged to review and understand the elements in the digital adoption plan guide to help tailor the plan to their specific needs. To truly tailor the digital adoption plan to their needs, the SME will need to collaborate closely with their digital advisor.

As experts in technology adoption, the digital advisors will need to engage and listen to their SME clients to develop a digital adoption plan tailored to each SME's specific needs.

SMEs journey through CDAP stream 2

The registration process starts with an online digital needs assessment (DNA) that identifies the SME's business and digital strengths and weaknesses across several parameters, such as strategy, business model, products and services, customer experience, operations, technology, organization and cybersecurity. This DNA will allow SMEs to obtain their current perceived overall level of digital maturity. Once completed, SMEs will be able to move to the next step in their application.

  • For eligible SMEs that have successfully completed the DNA, CDAP will pre-approve them for a grant covering up to 90% of the cost of the digital adoption plan evaluated at a maximum of $15,000.
  • Eligible SMEs will then have access to an online marketplace of qualified digital advisors called the digital advisor marketplace in order to retain the services of a digital advisorFootnote 1 to produce a digital adoption plan.
  • During their search, SMEs may contact as many digital advisors as they would like. When making initial contact with prospective digital advisors, SMEs are encouraged to share the results of their DNA as well as an overview of their business and objectives.
  • It is important for an SME and digital advisor to agree on the terms of work, including objectives, timing and associated costs before they begin working together.
  • When the SME finds a digital advisor who they consider to be the right match for their business, the parties will sign an agreementFootnote 2 to develop a digital adoption plan.
  • The SME and the digital advisor will work together to develop a digital adoption plan that meets the CDAP requirements. Upon completion, the SME will upload their completed digital adoption plan and invoice to the CDAP portal. Once accepted, the grant will be issued to the SME.
  • With a digital adoption plan in hand, the SME is now eligible to access a zero-interest loan from the BDC as well as a subsidized youth work placement to implement their plan and adopt new digital tools for their business.

Developing a digital adoption plan

The SME will collaborate with their digital advisor to develop a CDAP-approved digital adoption plan adapted to their context. At a minimum, the digital adoption plan must include the following elements:

  • Information about the current state of the SME that will help the digital advisor understand the strategic goals, the business and process challenges of the SME and the current baseline of their current technology.
  • Technology options analysis, for those SMEs who have some components of a digital strategy or analysis. With the digital advisor's expertise, identify what types of digital solutions it should consider and how those solutions align to the business goals and business imperatives.
  • A digital strategy and associated business benefits which take into account the SMEs governance and culture, its business model, its key processes that technology can help to optimize, its current digital strategy, its work methods, its informational and technological capabilities as well as its cybersecurity maturity.
  • Implementation roadmap to identify key business actions to be done prior to adoption of digital solutions as well as a proposed list of technology projects or initiatives. For the main projects proposed in the digital adoption roadmap, the advisor will also provide high-level project timelines, dependencies and an appreciation for the costs, the complexity and level of change adopting these new technologies will require.

Since every SME has different needs, the digital adoption plan can be tailored to their specific needs.

CDAP digital adoption plan template

Below is a more detailed description of the elements that should be included in the digital adoption plan.

Mandatory elements

Executive summary

Provide a high-level summary of the key elements of this plan for the SME, and how adopting new technologies will help the SME meet the SME's client's requirements, business imperatives and goals.

SME business and technology current state analyses

Key business information (e.g., sector, corporate structure, operations, value proposition, etc.).

Overview of the SME's current business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

SME's external issues (market, competition, business model) and future key business goals.

Key IS/IT information (infrastructure, applications, security and privacy compliance practises, technology staff and partners, integration between exiting IS and IT solutions, etc.) and how these current technologies are efficient at helping the business deliver value to the SME clients and to the SME itself.

Digital adoption analysis and recommendations

Identify a minimum of three potential digital/technology solutions for the SME to consider including how each of those solutions will benefit the SME's business. Also align the prioritized digital solutions to the benefits it will bring to the SME.

Implementation roadmap

Identify the key elements to implement the recommended options including timeline, dependencies, costs to acquire the technology, etc.

Optional elements

Since every SME has different needs, the digital adoption plan can be tailored to their specific needs. Possible additional elements could include, but is not limited to:

Skill requirements

Identify the skills and competencies that the SME will need to possess to implement the top three digital solutions.

Key digital solution characteristics

Identify the high-level requirements to implement the top three solutions. High-level financial requirements, degrees of implementation complexity and change management these technologies will require of the SME.

The exact composition of each digital adoption plan will vary according to the SME's business operations. The CDAP digital adoption plan guide will establish guidelines that map out the expected standards for the resulting digital adoption plans.

Important notes:

  1. ISED will randomly review digital adoption plans to assess whether the plans are within the guidance parameters established by the program
  2. Digital advisors who receive unsatisfactory ratings on the SME client feedback survey may be removed from the DART platform

Additional information

For more information about the Canada Digital Adoption Program, please contact us.