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Microsoft Chooses Long View as Finalist for Two Partner of the Year Awards

June 30, 2017
CALGARY, Alberta (June 30th, 2017) - From July 9-13, 2017 Microsoft Canada will host its annual IMPACT Awards in Washington, D.C. to celebrate innovation in technology recognizing the outstanding work their partners do to deliver virtually seamless solutions to customers. For 2017, Microsoft has chosen Long View as a finalist for two separate Partner of the Year awards:
  • Enterprise Cloud Partner of the Year Award - CANADA,
  • Hybrid Cloud and Infrastructure Platform GLOBAL Partner of the Year Award
The first, Enterprise Cloud Partner of the Year Award - CANADA, honours a partner that has successfully scaled out its cloud practice by packaging two or more Microsoft Cloud Solutions (e.g. Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Dynamics CRM, etc.) and Microsoft Partner Solutions into a complete customer offering, ultimately solving an end customer challenge. The second, Hybrid Cloud and Infrastructure Platform GLOBAL Partner of the Year Award, recognizes a partner that has excelled in delivering value to enterprise customers through Microsoft's Azure and datacenter technologies. The leadership team at Long View would like to take this opportunity to thank Microsoft for being such a tremendous working partner over the years, as well as well-deserved thank you to the Long View people who make the potential for awards like this possible.  

About Long View:

Long View is one of the most powerful IT solutions and services companies in North America, with offices across the continent. With a clear focus on combing business and technology through our Hybrid IT solutions, including cloud, IT infrastructure, managed services, and end user support, Long View is able to define and customize what the future of IT looks like for our clients. Innovative, flexible, cost-effective, and business focused... that's Long View.  

For more information:

Geoff Hogue Marketing Manager, Long View Phone: 778.840.1903 Email: geoff.hogue@lvs1.com
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HOW DIGITAL ASSET MANAGEMENT ENHANCES SHAREPOINT

June 15, 2017
One of the biggest trends over the last two years in technology has been a mass adoption of cloud-based solutions for business. In the cloud, customers consume tech solutions via monthly subscriptions and are able to blur hard lines between platforms by bringing multiple solutions together to solve business problems. What’s happening is that customers are able to create customized solutions that meet their specific needs without having to invest a lot in software development. SharePoint has been a key component of the transformation to the cloud for many businesses. A document management system for collaborative documents, SharePoint works well when file sizes are 2GB or less. In cases where files exceed that size, SharePoint has historically fallen short.   The solution is to integrate SharePoint with a digital asset management system that stores, organizes, assigns metadata, searches and allows rich media viewing of large files. Two illustrative examples come from situations in which a business needs to incorporate and use AutoCAD files quickly inside SharePoint in mining and retail. Mining One of the biggest challenges for many mining businesses is connecting field workers, who live and work in very remote locations, to the content they need. Microsoft SharePoint is a critical solution for many organizations because it allows access to Excel, Word, and PowerPoint for managing workflow with the creation and distribution of various forms and safety management materials. But where SharePoint functionality declines is with spatial data, exploration data, and maps the mines themselves, which are created, stored, viewed and edited with AutoCAD. SharePoint was not built to be compatible with AutoCAD and a collaborative experience is not possible. For example, if someone at the mine is injured, various people are often flown in to access the situation and make a plan for moving forward. Typically, there is a long drive between the airport and the actual mine site. SharePoint is a frontend that connects to other systems these people can access while they are in transit, such as the scheduling system for determining who was on shift. The next critical step here, however, is making not just SharePoint files available, but also AutoCAD files so that the experts can use down time travelling to assess equipment specs and other details of the incident stored in rich media formats. This is possible by connecting SharePoint to a digital asset management solution that is integrated with AutoCAD. With this connection, SharePoint and the digital asset management tool become the glue that holds the workflow together. Retail In retail organizations, the pain is around viewing store layouts and schematics for merchandising and planning while executives walk around brick-and-mortar outlets. SharePoint connects people while they are in their offices collaborating on various store design activities, but in the store, they need access to up-to-date rich media files that showcase facility drawings and store layouts. With a digital asset management tool, store planners can walk through the store, look at an iPad to see rich media schematics and start planning right there on site instead of having to take notes and begin the real work back in an office. Conclusion: SharePoint easily allows for the management of Excel, Word and PDF documents but needs an additional tool for a collaborative experience with rich media files. Integrating your SharePoint system with a digital asset management solution enables teams to store, view and share files, such as material and layout schematics or facility drawings.   If you’d like to listen to more about how digital asset management can enhance rich media access, viewing, sharing and organization, check out our webinar with MediaValet: Making the Most of SharePoint and How a DAM Can Help   About the Author: Sean Culbert is Long View’s Microsoft OneCloud Business Development Manager
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Protecting your Growing Business from Downtime

April 20, 2017

If you’re looking into the future of your company (and of course you are) you may envision it expanding by leaps and bounds. As your business advances, it’s essential to ensure you’re prepared for any unanticipated changes in your environment.

Sadly, many companies are finding themselves ill-prepared for the unexpected.  According to an IDG Research study nearly 40% of organizations rated their ability to recover operations in the event of a disaster as “fair to poor,” and while 50% had a formal disaster recovery plan in place, 36% said their plan only covers back-end infrastructure, leaving their desktops and remote offices vulnerable to attack.

Being prepared means avoiding inevitable costly downtime.  When your company isn’t running, it means your employees aren’t performing, your customers are waiting, and your bottom-line is suffering.  The average cost of downtime is $7,900/minute,* which means you can risk everything you’ve built up from one extended period of operational failure – and business interruptions do happen whether its human error, cyber-crime or a natural disaster - so it’s imperative your business is ready.

Ensure your business is safe and secure.

A reliable storage system gives you the confidence to run your business knowing your data is protected whether on premise or in the cloud. It’s adaptable to a changing workplace where employees are increasingly on the road using their mobile devices. Most of all, it gives you the peace of mind to know that your business won’t become a victim of the unexpected.

What storage solution is right for you?

Long View is a leading provider of cost-effective, flexible and performance based technological solutions.  Here are two key storage products we know every small and medium sized company can benefit from.

HPE MSA SAN

This best in class storage solution is perfect for the business looking for an entry level product with potential for growth.  If you’re running execution heavy applications, the HPE MSA SAN with built-in hybrid flash delivers fast enterprise-class performance with the flexibility for future scalability.  Find out more here.

HPE StoreVirtual 3200

If you want versatility and reliability, look no further.  This system supports continuous data growth and allows you to manage multiple platforms through a single screen. An easily adaptable solution to keep your applications running smoothly while keeping costs down, the HPE StoreVirtual 3200 eliminates the frustration of adding new hardware while providing business security and the ability to prepare for growth. Find out more here.

A little forethought can give you a huge advantage down the road, and the best way to do that is with a storage system that works for your business and anticipated growth.  Long View is here to help you prepare.  To learn more about these products reach out to us.

* The Nines Observer, "What is the True Cost of Downtime for SMBs?" March 12, 2014.

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Why It’s Time to Invest in a Server

April 20, 2017

Servers used to be a one size fits all entity – and that size exclusively catered to big business.  Smaller companies would either run files on an old, unreliable PC or worse, not back up at all.  Today, servers are catered to work within your business needs and budget - whether you have 3 employees or 3000.  They allow for growth while giving you the security you need in a constantly evolving technological landscape.

Unfortunately many companies still do not use servers which can be a costly mistake.  90% of businesses have experienced unexpected costly downtime,* yet 3 out of 4 organizations are at risk of failing to recover from a disaster or outage.**

Your business is your life line, so why leave it at risk?

Long View understands that undertaking the purchase of a server is a big decision for a growing business and we know there’s a lot of concern about where to start. 

We’ve listened. These are the challenges most small to medium sized businesses face when it comes to investing in a server:

We don’t have enough employees.

No matter what size your company is, a server is essential to help your employees collect and share data - even on the road. Fortunately, there are now options that work with your space restrictions, employee size, and budget.

Long View recommends: HP ProLiant MicroServer.  A sleek, wireless solution perfect for front office operations of less than 10 employees. This server easily coordinates day-to-day activities without needing an overloaded IT staff. Find out more here.

We don’t have enough room.

Traditionally, when envisioning a secure computer system we think of an entire room with racks of expensive servers - not a realistic goal for most small and medium size businesses.  Today, there are options that fit in any space with added scalability.

Long View recommends: HPE ProLiant Tower ML Servers. These standalone units are small in size yet big in performance.  This is a perfect starter solution for the business that’s looking for simplicity with room for growth. Find out more here.

Our dedicated server room is filling up.

Fear not.  A rack server caters to small business while providing enterprise - class performance all in a space saving rack size.

Long View recommends: HPE ProLiant DL Rack Servers.  These SMB rack servers gives you a cost-effective compact rack solution while promising high velocity performance and reliability. Find out more here.

We’re growing fast and have remote branch offices.

With the rise of the cloud along with remote offices, finding the right server is challenging. Your business can now depend on a solution formulated to anticipate growth while allowing you to easily expand and reduce the long term cost of ownership.

Long View recommends: HPE ProLiant Easy Connect. These servers are ideal for remote locations, providing you trusted security with competitive performance. Find out more here.

Having security and performance at your fingertips is a necessity for any growing business, and a solution from the HPE server family can help you achieve your goals. We’d like to help you get there.  Reach out to Long View to discuss these models in greater detail.

* Source:  Adweek

** Source: Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council survey

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How Technology has Simplified Business

April 20, 2017

The future of business is here and that means complacency is no longer an option.  Living in a “comfort zone” when it comes to running operations can mean falling behind the competition; today’s environment demands flexibility to change to constantly evolving technology.

Advancements - whether it be phones, online security, applications, cloud or big data - have made us faster, more informed and have empowered us to excel beyond what we thought possible. We work remotely across multiple platforms and devices with virtually no need for paper. Stay competitive in today's market by harnessing the power of enterprise level IT solutions, with the cost and functionality designed for small to medium sized businesses.

Is your company keeping up?

Long View found four technological elements that have the biggest influence in the business world:

Mobility

In a competitive landscape, it’s imperative to be connected and reach your customers anywhere, anytime, on their terms. Your employees need the assurance that any device they use will be compatible across multiple platforms. Thanks to the latest mobile technology, we can do just that:  67% of small and mid-size businesses now view mobile solutions and services as critical to their business.*

Security

The biggest crimes today are committed through that screen you’re looking at right now – your computer.  90% of Fortune 500 companies have been hacked at some point in time* and smaller entities are not immune to security breaches. Luckily with innovations like HPE’s server and storage solutions for small and mid-size businesses (you can check some of them out here), you can ensure your important information is safe out of the hands of cyber criminals.

The Cloud

Accessing files from anywhere is now the norm; you no longer have to “go dark” when travelling for business.  Information can be accessed and edited from anywhere, keeping your team organized and in sync.  It’s now an affordable trend that’s easy to get on board with too:  61% of midsize businesses and 37% of small businesses already subscribe to cloud based back up and disaster recovery.**

Big Data

Companies are capturing data on your customers all thanks to business analytics.  Intelligence available to you in-the-moment is crucial to running a business these days – your clients expect you to know what they want without asking and if you don’t have the information, you can bet your competitors do.

No matter how you slice it, businesses run seamlessly when implementing a solid performance plan. If your company isn’t utilizing the latest in technology, maybe it’s time to catch up to the competition.  Long View is here to help; reach out to us and we’ll get you up to speed.

* Source:  Adweek

**2014 U.S. Small & Medium Business ICT & Cloud Services Tracker Overview,” December 2013, AMI. SMBs consider these factors very important.

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Canada’s Best Managed: A Commitment to Quality and Innovation

April 1, 2017
March 31st was a significant day in the Best Managed Companies calendar – it’s the day we get together as a group, reflect, and celebrate the achievements of the past year. As a member of the Best Managed team, I am thrilled for all the companies that are involved this year. Long View being one of them. As the country’s preeminent business recognition award, Canada’s Best Managed Companies program celebrates excellence in private company management; specifically, those key attributes which contribute to a company’s long term sustainability. These attributes include corporate strategy, core competencies, culture and financial performance. Management continually leverages these and other disciplines to ensure they remain aligned with their customers, staff and the communities they serve. During the program’s twenty three history, Deloitte and our program partners have found that even the best corporate strategy can’t guarantee success. Sustainable, profitable growth ultimately depends upon those who must execute the strategy, and management’s commitment to demonstrate the company’s core values. Management consultants often refer to this as synergy; I prefer to call it teamwork. The past several months have been difficult – certainly unpredictable – for Alberta’s business community. Even those not directly vested in the province’s energy sector are impacted by the dramatic decline in energy prices. Companies such as Long View have witnessed turbulent times before, and have demonstrated their commitment to quality and innovation in uncertain times. Anticipating market trends as best they can, they continue to innovate while investing in both client relationships and staff. In this way, ‘Long View’ – like many other program members in Alberta – exemplifies the qualities of a ‘Best Managed’ Company. While no one can predict the future, companies based on a strong foundation, guided by principled leadership, are well equipped to navigate the sometimes challenging landscape. Now in its sixth year in the program, Long View has achieved ‘Gold’ status, and remains a valued member in this internationally recognized business award. Best Managed recipients are an elite category in the Canadian private company marketplace. On behalf of our program partners, Deloitte is delighted by Long View’s continued membership in the program.  
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Digital Transformation with Sean Culbert

March 17, 2017

Mr. Sean Culbert is Long View’s Microsoft OneCloud Business Development Manager and was interviewed on Radio NL Local First 610 AM Kamloops, BC ahead of his talk at the 2016/17 Technology and Innovation Speaker Series. The series took place at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops (March 17th) where he presented on ‘Innovate or Risk becoming Obsolete’.

Listen to Mr. Sean Culbert's interview:

audio mp3="http://www.longviewsystems.com/wp-content/uploads/sean-culbert-march-16.mp3"/audio
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The Three Things You Can Think About Today to Get Ready for the Cloud

January 9, 2017
The cloud is not an all-or-nothing decision, nor a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s about finding the right place for the right application. Often, that means finding the right mix of workloads and applications that transcend all three areas of cloud – on-premises, private and public. When a company decides to move a workload to cloud, it is to solve a business problem – a fairly commonplace solution in today’s world. What is important are the steps taken to evaluate, select and manage the right cloud – or clouds – to meet the specific business need. Here are three things you can begin to think about today to get ready for the cloud:
  1. Where are you on the cloud maturity curve?
This is your Capabilities Maturity Model Integration Assessment. It’s a helpful starting point for understanding if you’re ready to move to the cloud. Ask yourself the following questions to see where you think your organization falls in the following 4 categories – People – Process – Technology – Business along the spectrum:
  • Are you still sitting on legacy infrastructure?
  • Do you need to standardize and consolidate some of your infrastructure?
  • Are you at the point where you can virtualize and optimize your infrastructure?
  • Can you begin to automate the infrastructure’s capabilities and move toward being more service oriented? This is possible if your infrastructure is virtualized.
  • Are you ahead of the curve and able to adaptively source? This means you can spread your workloads across multiple clouds.
When you understand where you are from a maturity standpoint, you can begin to look at location, delivery and consumption of your applications; or it may highlight some work that needs to happen before you can begin leverage the cloud.
  1. How do you want to deliver and consume your applications?
This evaluation assesses the application delivery and consumption platforms your business may choose. It is entirely workload dependent. Take an as example a legacy application of an oil company. They need to keep their data for 25 years to comply with Health, Safety and Environmental issues. It may make sense to keep the data on legacy infrastructure now, but in two to three years they may want to move it into converged infrastructure. Or, if the application is not heavily used it might be best to have it spun up into the cloud. With each workload ask yourself these three questions:
  1. Where do I need to deliver the application from?
  2. How do I want to consume it?
  3. From which platform?
  1. How do you want to manage it?
This piece evaluates service management, focused on the full scope of the service. This includes the application, the underlying infrastructure, and the cloud itself – the full stack. What will work best for you to support your entire infrastructure? The answer is related to the type of infrastructure you’ve decided on.
  • Legacy infrastructure might be best supported by legacy operations.
  • Converged infrastructure might be best supported by hybrid operations.
  • Cloud and converged infrastructure might be best supported by out-sourced operations.
If you don’t know the answers to these questions today, that’s okay! We can help you discover the answers. Building a roadmap to the cloud and developing a cloud strategy are essential to your success. We can work with you from start to finish. We pride ourselves on our experience and expertise in selecting the customized set of solutions that’s right for your business. See for yourself on January 11, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST during our webinar, Why the Public Cloud is Not Enough: Maximizing Your Cloud Investment, as we walk through a cloud and application assessment to share how your organization can become cloud-enabled. Register Now.  

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Why a Cloud Project Might Fail: Look at Your Network

January 3, 2017
  Have you heard the saying, “Your cloud is only as good as your network”? It’s true. Your network is critical to cloud computing. In fact, an incorrectly designed or improperly sized network means no cloud. There are countless stories of organizations that tried to move their workloads to the cloud, but failed. The reason: their network. Their current state simply wouldn’t support moving workloads to the cloud. Why Your Network is Critical to Cloud Projects The cloud – whether internal, private or public – relies on connectivity. The network plays a key role in the delivery and performance of cloud-based services, connecting the user to their application in the cloud, as well as enabling cloud-to-cloud connections. Often network inadequacies are related to:
  • Inefficient bandwidth
  • Limited network security
  • Poor visibility
  • Lack of control
  • Inconsistent user experience
Before beginning any cloud initiative, you need to look at your network readiness. It is important to determine how the network is configured, if it can be leveraged, or if there needs to be some architectural changes in order to support the cloud project. The likelihood of needing to optimize your network is high. We’ve found that an organization can see returns on investment into network upgrades in less than 12 months, depending on the technology and solution adopted. Consider this: the amount of data centre traffic dedicated to cloud-based services is expected to quadruple from 2016 to 2020, at which point it will make up three-quarters of all data centre traffic worldwide. Individual enterprises will be the ones driving that growth, so it’s essential that they have the right network in place to support this dramatic global transformation. You need a network to match your cloud. Running mission-critical business applications over the cloud requires a network that is:
  • Resilient and able to withstand failures.
  • Flexible in its ability to add or change endpoints.
  • Scalable in response to changing bandwidth needs.
  • Secure to ensure regulatory compliance.
  • High-performing, with service level agreements (SLAs) ensuring reliable access from multiple locations and device types.
Is your network “cloud-ready”? If you’re not sure and want to find out more about moving your applications and workloads to the cloud, join our free cloud-enablement webinar, Why the Public Cloud is Not Enough: Maximizing Your Cloud Investment, on January 26th, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST, to walk through a cloud and application assessment. Register Now. You can also read our eBook, Why the Public Cloud is Not Enough, for more information about cloud readiness and hybrid IT. Download Your Free Copy.  

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Disaster Recovery: Don’t Play Against the Odds

December 27, 2016
Business disaster can come in many forms and varying sizes – from a tiny software component malfunction to power outages, large-scale natural disasters, hackers and DDoS attacks. What’s shocking is that many organizations are unaware of the types of disasters they’re guarding against, if their applications are protected, and what the consequences are if mission-critical applications are unavailable. Effects of these disasters could range from a small interruption in service to total shutdown. And businesses are making a bad bet; according to the Aberdeen study Playing Russian Roulette with Poor Disaster Recovery:

“Businesses are betting on a 33% chance that they will experience no significant downtime while ignoring that 33% possibility that they will experience downtime that will lead to losses of over two million dollars.”

The consequences of losing are not worth playing the odds. A proper plan is needed to ensure an organization can recover in an event of total shutdown, as well as during other instances where a certain application may become unavailable or need to be restored.

 Understanding Availability, Disaster Recovery and Backup: 

  1. Availability provides granular recovery of a system by increasing its accessibility.
Take a web application as an example. This web application sits on an application server. Obviously, if something were to happen to the server, the application becomes unavailable. In order to ensure its availability, a second application server can be added so that if one server goes down, the other can guarantee the application remains accessible.
  1. Disaster Recovery allows for total restoration of an environment to its previous state.
In the event of a disaster, an organization can recover data from their disaster recovery site and restore all applications without a long service interruption. If an organization has ten application servers and only one of these fails, invoking Disaster Recovery is not a viable option. In this case, ensuring the availability of the application provides for faster recovery. However, if all ten servers are corrupted, Disaster Recovery will safeguard data and provide quicker restoration. 
  1. Backup delivers a replication of an application’s data from a secure copy.
Let’s say someone changed the coding in an application, which caused the application to stop working. High availability of this application won’t help since the other side of the system will also stop working. Since all other workloads are running normally, invoking a DRP (Disaster Recovery Plan) will also be of little help. In this instance, relying on the backup allows for the granular restoration of the piece of code that was altered. Want to take a deeper dive into disaster recovery, backup, and availability to see how you can use different types of cloud in an effective Disaster Recovery Plan? Download your free copy of Why the Public Cloud is Not Enough: Maximizing Your Cloud Investment with a Hybrid Solution to learn more.    
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