Managing Data Across Time And Generations

January 17, 2018
Have you ever started a conversation thinking that it would go one way, but then goes in another direction? During a recent interview, I was expecting the usual questions regarding Veeam’s data management services, and how with cloud-based computing, cost savings is no longer the single most important focus for companies and that agility and improved data management are key factors in the new digital age. I fully expected that I would be talking about the fact that clients buy IT “by the drink” as opposed to embarking on overarching big bang initiatives which means that the risks associated with today’s initiatives have now moved from the client side to the vendor. Again, and given that the understanding of these and other key factors that are reshaping our industry is the reason why Veeam clients rest comfortably in our relationship with them, you can understand my expectations. However, an interesting thing happened on the way to telling the Veeam story; I realized how long I have been in this industry – the first 15 years with Hewlett-Packard, then 8 years with Data General Canada/EMC, and another 14 years at NetApp Canada, before joining Veeam in May of 2016. You never fully realize until someone asks you a few personal questions how long you have been doing something that you have enjoyed and with which you have had consistent success. In the context of time, one would (and did) ask how I can maintain both my enthusiasm and relevance over such an extended period? It is a fair question but is not as difficult to answer as you might think. In fact, the answer is quite simple; challenge yourself outside of your comfort zone, always be open to change and willing to learn something new so that you can adapt, and finally realize that your journey takes time. For me, the demonstration of my willingness to learn something new was the fact that early in my career I had changed jobs within the same company seven times. Not only did these changes require me to take on new and sometimes unfamiliar challenges, but it also meant moving my family to new and unfamiliar cities. The frequency of my career-driven relocations is also one of the reasons why I appreciate my family, especially my wife of 37 years. So what have I learned in my almost four decades in the high tech industry that applies to this new and exciting period of digital transformation? We have to embrace change and more specifically digital disruption, and leverage both established and emerging technologies to realize its full potential. However, before we can embrace the promise, we have to gain practical insight into how to make digital technology work for us. To help you to gain that insight I am inviting you to join the Veeam team and me at the ActivateDigital2018 conference in Guelph on the 27th of February. With leading Canadian high-tech executives such as Microsoft’s new President Kevin Peesker, Cisco’s President Rola Dagher, HPE’s John Dathan, and Blackberry’s Margaret Stuart talking about Canada’s digital future, this is the perfect opportunity for you to get digital ready. To reserve your place and become part of #ActivateDigital2018, use this link to register.  
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Social Impact In The Digital Age: Leafs Great Darryl Sittler Talks About Johnny Bower, Terry Fox, And The Values He Learned Growing Up In St. Jacobs Ontario

January 12, 2018
They say that you “can’t go home again,” however having grown-up in the village of St. Jacob’s in Southwestern Ontario being able to go home isn’t even a question because home and the values I learned from my Mom and Dad never left me. Being one of eight children – my Dad came from a family of twelve, there was a sense of responsibility not only to the family but the greater community. It meant that you were thankful for what you had, and didn’t dwell on what you didn’t have. It also meant that you were there for one another in both the good times and the difficult times. I can still remember when a fire destroyed a Mennonite barn near our village, and many families in the area got together to rebuild the barn ‎immediately. There was a sense of humility in all that we did back then and a belief that it was important to contribute to the collective good of everyone. In fact, and along the lines that charity begins at home, we all gave 15 percent of whatever we earned back to the family. Despite having to support a big family, my Dad even made the time to become President of both the local minor hockey association and the Lions Club. All of this came from having a sense of responsibility and gratitude for what we had and the desire to be part of something bigger than yourself. This mindset or way of thinking is what I brought to the Leafs when they drafted me in 1970. At the time I was fortunate enough to be able to play on the same team as some of the greats who had just a couple of years earlier won The Stanley Cup including Johnny Bower. Sadly, Johnny recently passed away, but we can learn a lot from him even today. I consider Johnny to have been a mentor, someone whose kindness and humility shone through in the way he listened to you and how he took a genuine interest in not only his teammates but the fans. Terry Fox is another individual who, like Johnny, left a lasting impression on me. During his memorable run, both Bobby Orr and myself were made aware of the fact that Terry was a big fan of ours. So when his journey took him through Toronto, we were there to meet him. In the short time, we spent together I was moved by his humility and courage, and his desire to make a difference despite the challenges he was facing. Even though they didn’t come from St. Jacobs, I think that there was a little bit of my village in both Johnny and Terry. Terry’s courage continues to make a difference today having raised $750 million for cancer research. His impact during his life and after he passed away has a special meaning for me because I lost my wife, Wendy to colon cancer. There is never a right time for losing a loved one, but it was particularly hard because with our youngest child starting college, both Wendy and I were looking forward to spending more time together. Through Terry’s efforts, I hope that cancer will one day be defeated so that no family will have to experience the loss with which far too many of us have had to deal. Of course, good intentions and wishing aren’t enough. If you want to make a difference, you can’t sit on the sidelines; you have to get in the game! One of the reasons why I am excited to be part of the ActivateDigital2018 conference in Guelph on the 27th of February is that I can help to raise not only awareness but money for another worthy cause; Craigwood Children, Youth & Family Services. The conference, hosted by Long View Systems will feature a line-up of leading Canadian high-tech executives like Microsoft’s new President Kevin Peesker, Cisco’s President Rola Dagher, HPE’s John Dathan, and Blackberry’s Margaret Stuart. While these industry leaders will be talking about the future of Southwestern Ontario and the rest of Canada in the emerging digital era, we will all have an opportunity to make a difference during an evening get together. I look forward to meeting you then. To reserve your place and become part of #ActivateDigital2018, use the following link to register.
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Taking A G7 Summit Approach To Digital Transformation In The Southwestern Ontario Region

January 10, 2018
  As you probably already know, this year’s G7 Summit will take place in La Malbaie, Quebec in early June. In reviewing the agenda “themes” for the summit, I could not help but draw parallels between what will be discussed by our world leaders, and what Canada’s high-tech leadership will be discussing at the #ActivateDigital2018 conference on the 27th of February. Specifically, investing in growth that works for everyone, and preparing for jobs of the future. Given the view that Southwestern Ontario can become the new Silicon Valley North, shared economic growth and the types of jobs and related skill sets of tomorrow’s workforce are core elements of the digital transformation that will reshape and redefine the region’s future. Of course, the potential to become Silicon Valley North represents both an opportunity and a challenge. For the region’s 2.5 million people realizing the potential of the emerging digital era will have far-reaching economic benefits including the creation of new jobs and an influx of people whose expertise will create a knowledge-base that will contribute to Southwestern Ontario’s collective growth for many years (and perhaps decades) to come. However, and as Microsoft President, Kevin Peesker so aptly pointed out in an October 2017 article, while Canada’s Toronto/Waterloo tech corridor has great promise, there needs to be “scale around industry, educational institutions, and startups.” The “scale” to which Kevin is referring includes governments, which he indicated “can also play a key role in extending the tech success of Toronto and Waterloo beyond southern Ontario to other parts of Canada.” The only way to achieve scalability is for governments to work closely with industry, educational institutions, and startups. In other words, we need to adopt a G7 approach to building the Southwestern Ontario region into the promise that lies before it. The ActivateDigital2018 conference in Guelph on the 27th of February is an important first step towards that end. Joining the Long View team and me on the 27th will be leading Canadian high-tech executives such as Microsoft’s new President Kevin Peesker, Cisco’s President Rola Dagher, HPE’s John Dathan, and Blackberry’s Margaret Stuart to talk about Canada’s digital future and what it means to Southwestern Ontario. I am happy to say that Guelph’s Mayor Cam Guthrie will also be attending the first of what will become an annual conference that in future years will be held in the region’s other major centers. Within the framework of this collaborative spirit, we fully expect that the mayors from the other important centers will join us in what promises to be both a memorable and productive conference. To reserve your place and become part of #ActivateDigital2018, use this link to register.
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Why Digital Transformation Requires It’s Own “Amazement Revolution”

January 5, 2018
  Recently, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to connect with Shep Hyken who’s New York Times bestselling book The Amazement Revolution, provides important insight into what makes a service organization amazing. According to Hyken, “Amazement is not necessarily about ‘Wow!’ levels of service, although sometimes it may be. It is about an all-of-the-time, I-know-I-can-count-on-it, better-than-average experience.” In other words, great service – revolutionary service is all about consistency. More specifically, doing the right things all of the time which includes cultivating partnerships, creating a memorable After-Experience, AND hiring the right people. As you probably noted, I capitalized the word “AND” when referring to hiring the right people. While it is not intended to minimize the other important elements of a great customer service strategy, it does emphasize the importance of having the right people in place especially during times of industry transformation. Or to put it another way, when we talk about digital transformation I firmly believe that you cannot, for example, create smart cities without smart people. In this context, Lenovo Canada Managing Director Colin McIsaac talked about the importance of people in his #ActivateDigital2018 article when he said that his company had to “look beyond the technology” to create a culture that “embraces an IT evolution.” When it comes to building a world-class, digital ready service organization, revolutionary thinking that includes but also goes beyond the technology is also critical. What is revolutionary thinking in the service world? Revolutionary thinking reflects the willingness to look outside of the framework of the familiar and known strategies to leverage emerging technological capabilities to help our clients to create a memorable service experience for their customers. Or as Long View Ontario’s Sales Director Ivan Brinjak so aptly put it, we are taking a “purposeful approach to digital transformation” through supporting the core areas of “hybrid IT, end-user experience, and security.” To get to this point of revolutionary service excellence, we hired the brightest and most experienced professionals with proven track records of success in these key sectors. Once again, it all comes down to people and creating what Hyken called the right service philosophy that will be “embraced by every member of an organization, from the CEO to the most recently hired.” Is your organization digital ready from the standpoint of delivering amazing levels of service to your end customers? At the ActivateDigital2018 conference in Guelph on the 27th of February Long View Ontario will be joined by leading Canadian high tech executives such as Microsoft’s new President Kevin Peesker, and Cisco’s President Rola Dagher to talk about becoming digital ready. As space is limited, use the following link to register and reserve your place today.
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Building Success Through Organic Growth

January 3, 2018
Remember the old television commercial in which the spokesperson for an investment house proudly proclaimed that “we make money the old-fashioned way, we earn it?” I was reminded of this recently when I was reflecting back on how Long View Ontario has grown significantly in just five short years. Even though the dollar amount may be what garners the most attention initially, it is how we arrived at this point that is the real accomplishment. Or to put it another way, we grew the old fashioned way; organically. As an industry, the high tech world is according to some experts entering a new and perhaps unprecedented phase of anticipated market growth through mergers and acquisitions. One might be hard-pressed to disagree with such assessments given the frequency of M&A announcements these past few months. And while I would not personally discount the merits of an M&A, from a Long View perspective, my thinking falls more in line with the August 2017 McKinsey Quarterly article The roots of organic growth. In the article, the authors rightfully indicate that there are “many paths to growth, and high performers take more than one.” However, the organizations whose growth was greater than that of their sector were the ones who were able to “diversify their organic growth portfolio.” This ability to diversify according to another earlier McKinsey article is what creates “organic growth champions” who can “create their own momentum and win the race” as a result of having a “clear growth agenda.” In this regard, our agenda from the very beginning was driven by what I would call a purposeful approach to digital transformation. Specifically, and rather than chasing the technology, our focus was on helping our clients empower their people to deliver greater value to their customers through the core areas of hybrid IT, end-user experience, and security. Once this strategy was in place, we then built the required expertise in specific vertical markets by hiring the brightest and most experienced professionals with proven track records of success in these key sectors. And it is our continuing commitment to this strategy that has led us to assume a leadership role in the emerging digital era and is also the main reason why we are hosting the ActivateDigital2018 conference in Guelph on the 27th of February. Featuring an impressive lineup of Canada’s leading high tech executives such as Microsoft’s new President Kevin Peesker, and Cisco’s President Rola Dagher as well as other notables this is an event that will help to chart the innovation course of this country over the next decade. In short, this is a conference you will want to attend, so use the following link to register today, as space is limited.
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Stability In Place Of Uncertainty, Collaboration In Place Of Conflict

December 29, 2017
During a recent interview, I was asked to sum up what we do at Craigwood, Children, Youth & Family Services in a single sentence. Before I share my answer, I have to tell you that, after working with youth and their families for many years, countless stories and experiences went into shaping my response. As you can imagine, it is hard to envision how a single sentence could come close to encapsulating the many lives that I have had the privilege to be a part of, even if only for just a short period. In fact, my personal story begins when I was a youth leader in my late teens, long before I became Executive Director at Craigwood. Over the 30 years that I have worked with youths and their families, to help them to move beyond the isolation and challenges of mental health issues and embrace the possibilities for a brighter tomorrow, mine has been a journey of dedication, more than simply a career path. It is a way of life and a mindset, reflecting similar values we have at Craigwood, that tell you that you are not alone when facing a challenge, you have untapped strengths and that others have been in your shoes before. It is upon this experience, and the solid foundation of our proven programs through which we have achieved positive long-term outcomes for those who have sought our help, which my single sentence is based. Of course, we are not alone in effecting the positive change that creates promising futures for the children, youth and their families who call upon Craigwood. The community and organizations who support our programs contribute a great deal to our success and continuing efforts in developing and validating best practices in the treatment and care of our young clients. So what is the one sentence that I used to try and explain what Craigwood is all about? That, we strive to provide stability in place of uncertainty, and collaboration in place of conflict. When I talk about stability, Craigwood provides a sure footing for youth and families in distress and turmoil while also modeling collaboration from a professional care and treatment standpoint.  These are both essential for moving beyond the issues and conflicts to see a way of hope down the road.  In this regard, we strive to empower individuals, families, and communities to rise above their immediate crisis and make a positive change towards a promising future.  It is through this empowerment that our work can be life-saving and life-changing for youth and their families. At Craigwood, our vision is our passion, and I would like to thank Long View for sharing that passion with us through their generous support. To learn more about Long View visit their website and check out their ACTIVATEDIGITAL 2018 Conference in Guelph this coming February. For more information on Craigwood Youth Services please visit the website.
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Living At The Epicentre Of Canadian Innovation?

December 28, 2017
In the weeks leading up to Long View’s ActivateDigital2018 conference taking place on February 27th in Guelph, you will hear a good deal about the city’s Prosperity 2020 plan and the opportunities for the region to evolve into the Silicon Valley of the North. Obviously, drawing such comparisons will generate debate as there is no doubt that other parts of Canada are equally committed to fuel the fires of innovation that enable our country to maintain its place as a leader on the global economic stage. As someone who has spent the better part of 25 years in the information technology world and who also lives in the Guelph area, I believe I can bring an informed (if admittedly biased) perspective to this discussion.Is Guelph, and more broadly speaking the Toronto/Waterloo/Hamilton tech triangle, positioned to become the epicenter of Canadian innovation? I say that the answer is yes! The region has a strong history of technology innovation and entrepreneurship as well as the greatest density of post-secondary institutions in the country, providing access to those numerous bright sparks that can create the “next big thing.” In fact, the breadth of expertise in this region, from high tech to medicine, manufacturing, and agri-food, means that there are multiple sectors of innovation along with well-established markets that will enable these advancements to take root. For a region to lead in the age of digital transformation, it will require this unique and powerful concentration of resources – people and businesses – to foster the spark of innovation that will stimulate the digital economy. In support of this energized vision of the region’s digital future the Mayor of Guelph, Cam Guthrie, will be attending what many are calling the premier digital conference of the year; Activate Digital 2018. This conference, which will bring together for the very first time the new Canadian leaders of Microsoft, Cisco, and HPE to discuss Canada’s digital future and how it will impact your business, speaks to the fact that Guelph is an important place to be when it comes to Canadian innovation. I am certain that you will see that when you join us at the Activate Digital 2018 conference on February 27th, 2018. Use the following link to register today, as space is limited.
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Why Corn Should be the First Word That Comes to Mind When You Hear “Digital Transformation” – by Paolo Del Nibletto

December 22, 2017
Why Corn Should Be The First Word That Comes To Mind When You Hear The Words “Digital Transformation” The words “digital” and “transformation” have two very different meanings, but when put together, they have created a whole new reality for organizations large and small. Digital transformation has produced a level of uncertainty and excitement unprecedented in modern history. Even though people have become comfortable with certain elements of digital transformation such as cloud computing and mobile technology, most still struggle or have no concept, of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Machine Learning, Blockchain and other forms of digital transformation. Factor in important business workloads, processes, policies, individual skill-sets and of course the big elephant in the room – security and, more than likely, people stop listening. But conferences like the upcoming ActivateDigital2018 in February to be held in Guelph, Ont., are vital to breaking down the complexity in each important area of the digital transformation journey for both business and government. Events like these work towards uncovering the mystery that surrounds digital transformation. This unique conference builds a community of stakeholders for all sectors of the IT ecosystem. The first time I heard the term cloud from an IT perspective was in late 2006 at a similar community event. Industry stakeholders were talking about cloud as a form of the utility computing concept. Back then, it was the fear of the unknown that set the entire industry spinning in all directions. Fast track to now and about 93 percent of North American business and government have some form of private, public or hybrid cloud environments. While it took a community of stakeholders to figure out innovative ways to employ the cloud to improve worker productivity, a decade later cloud computing is as normal as pen and paper. Digital transformation is the second wave of the cloud computing era, and while some organizations are further ahead than others, there’s still time to catch up. Years ago, I sat through a demonstration at the Cisco Partner Summit in which there was an Internet connection to corn. That’s right, corn! At the time, I thought it was another attempt at conference humour. But what transpired next was truly astonishing: the demonstration showed tiny - almost microscopic - sensors that were placed in the soil to collect data about corn. That data was sent up to the cloud for farmers to track. From there, farmers learned when the best time was to water the corn. By using the data from those sensors, farmers could conserve water and save on operational costs. It was the first time I heard the term Internet of Things, and it was Cisco who forecasted it would become a $19 trillion market opportunity by 2018 (just as an aside, Cisco Canada’s new President Rola Dagher will be one of the keynote speakers at #ActivateDigital2018). That’s trillion with a “T.” As we move towards 2018, it will again take a community to solve all the intricate areas of digital transformation currently puzzling most IT professionals.  That is why conferences like this one are important as it brings together the right people at the right time to not only inform but empower the market to capitalize on the promise that is digital transformation.
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Lenovo: A Cultural Transformation

December 15, 2017
  With Lenovo, Digital Transformation Is As Much About Culture As It Is Technology. In a May 2017, Computer Dealer News article I talked about how the philosophy at Lenovo had changed, and that our focus isn’t only on selling hardware but building out our solutions to create value for our end users leveraging our channel partners. The word “change” may be somewhat of a misnomer, in that it might suggest that it was a one-time event.  However, this was a continuation of the companies evolution which began when Lenovo acquired IBM’s PC Division in 2005. Looking back, it is clear that 2005 was the beginning of a digital transformation for Lenovo. And it was through that transformation we recognized the importance of having a culture that embraces an IT evolution.  In other words, we had to look beyond the technology to ensure that the right people were in place to transform objectives into the initiatives that would lead to tangible outcomes. Of course, when I talk about looking beyond the technology, I am not suggesting that it is not an important part of the digital transformation equation. It most certainly is, which is why we are continuously pushing our technology to the cloud’s edge. In this regard, Lenovo believes that a “sound” digital strategy should reflect the following three key objectives: Enabling workers to be mobile and productive; workers need to be equipped for anywhere, anytime, anyway computing to maximize your digital transformation investments. Streamlining internal operations;  to provide maximum system uptime, allow more IT flexibility, and enable better hardware utilization advanced technology solutions that are Agile and Customer-Centric must be better leveraged. Ensuring seamless collaboration; giving local and remote workers ready access to the tools and technologies they need to do their jobs from start to finish through seamless collaboration is a crucial component of digital transformation. In the end, harnessing the power and the promise of technology is about people as much as it is about hardware. And it is with our people and those with our channel partners I believe you will find both our greatest strength and your greatest return. As a participant at Long View’s ActivateDigital2018 conference, we’re excited to be amongst a group of industry leaders. As one of our most valued channel partners, we look forward to joining Long View Systems in demonstrating how people as much as technology are the key drivers behind a successful digital transformation strategy.
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Extending HPE’s Heritage Of Innovation To Bring Our IoT Vision To The Edge And Beyond

December 12, 2017
During a recent interview, I was asked several questions about HPE’s IoT strategy, which included a reference to A May 2017 Forbes article Could Hewlett Packard Enterprise Be An IoT Sleeping Giant? I wouldn’t necessarily embrace the term “sleeping,” especially given the fact that this past August we opened what will be the first of three Global IoT Innovation Labs in Houston, as well as completing our acquisition of Aruba. For those unfamiliar with Aruba, HPE sees this wireless innovator as a driving force in what the Forbes article referred to as a “transformation of digital workspaces and the creation of intelligent spaces.” In short, when it comes to HPE’s evolving vision that enables us to progressively utilize IoT capability to meet current client needs while anticipating future client requirements we are anything but sleeping. As one of the featured keynote speakers at Long View’s ActivateDigital2018 conference in February, I will be talking about the specific forms the HPE IoT vision takes, including how HPE’s TurnKey IoT Proof of Concept (PoC) is helping organizations to move autonomy to the edge and deploy robust solutions across multiple industries. However, and in explaining our IoT strategy to the reporter, the question regarding how HPE arrived at this point of authoritative leadership came up. My immediate response was simple; as the new GM of HPE Canada, I have enough history with the company to appreciate it’s heritage, but not too much history to lose sight of the fact that responding to the changing needs of the company’s clients is what matters the most. Finding this balance between leveraging past successes without being confined or limited to them thereby hindering our ability to pursue future goals is critical to the execution of our vision. Let’s face it, today’s IT solutions are very different than they were three years ago which means we all need to evolve. This evolutionary ability is perhaps one of the main reasons why HPE has been able to leverage its historical expertise in the IT world to create a clear pathway to meeting the expanding demands of the brave new world that is IoT.
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