Catherine Neily, Solution Architect, On Technology and Connectedness

August 29, 2018
  For Catherine Neily, being successful in the tech industry means staying on top of a building wave of ever-changing technology; and she loves the ride. A Long View veteran of 18 years, Catherine has watched the company evolve from having a handful of employees to being over 1,100 strong. And her career has evolved in tandem. Starting as a systems consultant, then moving up to a senior consultant role, Catherine has spent the past two years working with clients and Long View’s sales team as a Solution Architect - the first woman at Long View to do so. Her approach to work and life show that technology is all about being connected.   On Work and Community   With 18 years under her belt at Long View, two children, and a myriad of community commitments, it’s clear that Catherine likes to be connected and involved. “It’s been awesome,” she says of her role at Long View. “I love the team of architects that I work with here. It’s a very collaborative environment, and it makes the job fun and rewarding.” She speaks with equal enthusiasm about her relationships with clients and with Long View’s sales team, as well as the problem solving process she engages in with each. Outside of work, Catherine seeks balance in family, sport and volunteering. One of the initiatives that she and her family support is called Inn From the Cold — an organization that provides meals, shelter and schooling for homeless families. “It’s a great organization,” says Catherine, who along with her children, helps to serve meals there. Community involvement is important to Catherine. “I volunteer at school, church, and Inn From the Cold,” she says. “And I try to stay active with volleyball, hiking, and playing sports with my kids. I really try to have that balance.”   On Being a Woman in Tech   “First of all, I’m passionate about technology,” Catherine enthuses. “I love the constant new challenges, as well as working with clients, and problem solving for them.” Catherine has always had an aptitude for technology, but being a woman in a male-dominated field hasn’t always been easy. “Definitely being a woman in tech and becoming a Solution Architect is an achievement,” she explains. “It still is fairly male-dominated, although things are changing slowly and that’s great.” One of the keys to Catherine’s success has been cultivating relationships with other women in the field who have become friends and mentors. It’s something that she likes to pay forward. “Most of all, I’d like to be a role model for other women who are starting out or are already working in tech,” she says. “I like to have coffee with people and talk about what it’s like to be a Solution Architect, and help other women who are wanting to come up through the technology path.” Her motivation is to create a more well-worn path for women who want to follow in her footsteps. “I think that women can be very successful in tech, but there are still some unconscious biases out there,” she explains. “Hopefully those will be dispelled over time. We need to continue encouraging young women to enter tech and providing them with hands-on opportunities and mentorship.”   On Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve   Effective solution architecture requires a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the different technologies that exist and how they can be put to use for a client. Staying on top of the latest advancements is crucial, and Catherine’s experience and approach ensure that she does. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different clients in diverse industries and technologies, and that’s helped shape me as a person and helped hone my skills,” Catherine explains. But beyond the experience she has gained on the job, Catherine’s adaptability and love of learning are what help give her an edge. “A big part of my career is adapting to how things are changing,” she says. “I’m constantly having to learn new things — the curiosity to learn is hugely important.” With such a steep and constant learning curve, Catherine does what she can to stay ahead, including attending in webinars, participating in ongoing training and certification processes, and going to industry conferences. In addition to these efforts, Catherine takes seriously Long View’s internal learning strategy: “We have internal learning meetings, or sharing knowledge, where we get together as teams and share knowledge and talk about the projects we’re working on and things that we’re learning.”   On Growing Her Career   While keeping abreast of the latest technology is vital to Catherine’s career success, there are other skills she has honed in order to get ahead. “You have to always work to rebrand yourself,” she explains. “Long View has a really good Career-Life planning process, and you’re constantly re-evaluating where you are going and what you are going to do to get there.” For Catherine, this has meant honing her soft skills — she has joined Toastmasters to improve her public speaking skills — and seeking out mentorship. “I’ve worked with some great consultants and managers that I’ve considered mentors,” says Catherine. “Even seeing how they do their job — again, it’s about honing those skills, working on those things that I need to work on to elevate my career.” Other qualities have helped Catherine to progress as well: her determination, and her grit. “I think that’s been a hallmark for me,” she says. “I don’t give up, and I persist in, first of all, finding the right solution for clients, but also in my own career; if I run into a road block, I try to overcome it in any way I can.” This refusal to back down, along with being a good listener, and continually striving for excellence, are the characteristics Catherine credits for her success. But she also credits her family: “My family has been a huge support to me as a working mom.” For other women looking to follow in her footsteps, Catherine recommends finding mentors and advocates. “And don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she advises. “Ask for feedback and turn your weaknesses into strengths. There’s always something we can work on.” And of course, laughter is key: “It’s really important to have a sense of humour, and laugh along the way.” Although she’s reached a place in her career where she is able to mentor other women in tech, she isn’t finished evolving. “I’m always working towards something,” she says. “With the Digital Transformation, there are so many emerging technologies - those are things I’m focusing on right now.”
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Lisa Eyamie, Branch General Manager, on The Game of Business and Life

August 15, 2018
  Lisa Eyamie, Branch General Manager, on The Game of Business and Life   If you want to get something done, call Lisa Eyamie. From her background in project management and process improvement to her 20-year-long career as a competitive curler, Lisa’s focus has always been not just on setting goals but on taking the steps necessary to achieve them. Now, in her current role as Long View’s first female branch General Manager, she’s putting that dedication to work as she focuses on growth for her team, her clients, and her business.   On Getting Things Done   With a background in process improvement as well as competitive sport, Lisa knows better than most that when it comes to goal-setting, the journey is just as important as the destination. “Focus is really important to me, making sure we execute on the things we say we’re going to do,” she explains. “It’s critical to prioritize and select the number of initiatives you can actually execute on in a given time frame.” In order to focus effectively on her team’s priorities, Lisa has gotten comfortable saying no to things that won’t move the needle. She explains, “It’s about being really aware of the priorities and the capacity that we have to execute on those priorities.” With Lisa’s hugely varied workload, having this kind of laser focus is especially important. “As a general manager, there are so many things that I oversee and guide and direct,” she explains, “from people and opportunities around career progression and mentoring and coaching, through financials and how to create growth and profitability. I love it; variety is the spice of life!” She also loves getting things done. “We discuss and set vision and strategy for the branch,” she says, “and my favorite part is the collaboration, and bringing it all together into an executable and measurable plan.”   On Sport and Business   Business is not Lisa’s only passion. During her time as a competitive curler, she helped take her team to the Scottie’s Nationals, and secured a spot twice in the Road to the Roar, an Olympic curling pre-trials event. Lisa credits her background in sport with helping her gain the skills that she’s needed to succeed in business. Teamwork, meeting challenges head-on, and learning how to manage the highs and lows that come with winning and losing are all skills that Lisa acquired through sport. “Being an athlete also taught me about preparation, planning and setting goals,” she says. “It is key to focus on and do the things that are within your control. Not everything will go as you’ve planned, not everything will go your way, even if you’ve completely prepared and practiced. How you act and react to situations is what is important.” As an athlete and a business leader, Lisa’s approach is the same: “It’s about dedication and perseverance and mental preparation,” she explains. “Everything I’ve accomplished and been exposed to as an athlete has been hugely beneficial to my career as well.”   On The Pursuit of Leadership   In Lisa’s telling, her path to becoming a leader at Long View was the result of both conscious and unconscious decisions. The unconscious decisions flowed from her results-hungry personality. “I’m pretty bullish about the things that I want to achieve,” she says. “I’m always looking at how I can personally and professionally improve and how I can be more impactful to those around me” When she first started at Long View as a project manager, 10 years ago, she met those goals by delivering results to clients, and letting her work speak for itself. But through Long View’s Career-Life Planning process, Lisa articulated some bigger goals, and received mentorship and guidance to progress. “To progress my career, building relationships at all levels of the organization and consciously choosing sponsors was very beneficial,” she explains. “I believe that in business and in life, you have to actively think about your own brand and create your profile; doing this helped position me for different roles along the way.” Her approach has been successful, moving up from Client Services Manager to Director of End-User Experience into her current role as a branch General Manager. “Those two leadership roles really helped solidify my passion around people and wanting to help others excel,” she says. “And I’m passionate about creating opportunities for others and helping them understand their path to progression so they can advance their careers as well.” So what advice does she have for others who want to pursue leadership roles? In addition to being a firm believer in the value of having sponsors within your organization willing to go to bat for you, Lisa is, unsurprisingly, a big advocate of having goals and writing them down. “Really have that vision of where you want to go in your career, “ she says. “And make sure that you understand the actions you need to take to actually achieve those goals.” Lisa believes in manifesting the outcomes you want to achieve – if you think them, and write them down, they will happen. Success also requires showing up, not just by doing excellent work, but by attending networking events, and discussing your ideas with others, at all levels of the organization. “Speak up!” Lisa encourages. “Don’t sit at the back of the room. Have a voice and use your voice. And make sure, when you do speak up, that you understand your audience and that you’re adding value — don’t just speak to be heard,” she advises, adding that knowing when to listen and not speak is equally important. On Balancing Career and Life As an athlete, business leader and parent, Lisa knows all about work-life balance — and timing is key. “Between curling, being a mom and becoming a GM, there’s no way I could have done all three of those things concurrently and been great at them,” Lisa admits. “So it’s just understanding when I need to close one door to open another.” For Lisa, that meant retiring from her curling career. For a woman who planned her pregnancies around her curling seasons, the decision to move on was a big one. Luckily, the timing was perfect. “I was prepared for retirement and I was starting to want to do other things,” she explains. “My kids were starting to get into sports and activities themselves, so I was ready to transition into parent and coach and whatever else that brings along.” Lisa had also recently gone to Nationals in 2017 with her curling team for the first time in her 20-year competitive career. “So the book, if I could write it, was the perfect chapter ending.” Professionally, the move made sense as well. Lisa was coming up on three years in her Director of End-User Experience role, and was feeling ready for the next challenge when the GM role opened up. Looking forward, Lisa’s goals continue to balance career and life plans. “I’m almost one year into the GM role in Calgary and there is still so much I want to do,” she says. “I plan to create more opportunities for growth for our great employees in Calgary by doubling the size of our branch during my tenure, and I want to stay laser-focused on adding value to our clients and creating successful client outcomes. Focusing on our people and our clients go hand in hand.” Balancing out her big plans for Long View is Lisa’s passion for travel. “To balance life out, I plan to continue traveling and creating new adventures and experiences with my family and friends,” she says. “I’m very fortunate that I have the opportunity through Long View to be able to do that.”  
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Tracie Bretecher, Manager of Sales Operations, on Following Your Passion

August 8, 2018
  Tracie Bretecher’s approach to her work and life can be summed up in one phrase: “There is no can’t.” Her accomplishments prove the maxim: Tracie is the first person in Canada to hold a third-level designation from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals, one of only about 160 people worldwide. Over the course of her 10 years at Long View, she has created the Response Management Services Department, which writes proposals, and determines and oversees proposal management best practices, maintaining a win rate of over 50 percent. And now, as Manager of Sales Operations, she is reinventing the department to provide more support to sales teams across the company, including a robust sales enablement program and the development of a reporting system that allows single-click access to vital sales data. Clearly, this is a woman who can. On Passion and Learning from Failure “If you have a passion,” Tracie admonishes, “don’t stop.” For Tracie, that passion was to work in business. “When I was little, in my bedroom I had 2 small closets,” she recalls, “and I’d move all my stuff into one closet and I’d put a TV tray in the other closet. Then I’d go into my closet and pretend I was a businesswoman,” she says. “It was my favorite thing to play. My stuffed animals were my staff.” Now, as a highly accomplished businesswoman, Tracie is living her childhood dream. But it hasn’t always been easy. “I started working at General Electric when I was 20,” she recalls. “I was on an assembly line stuffing circuit boards.” But she hadn’t lost sight of her passion for business. “I put myself through a little bit of school and was promoted. They took a chance on me.” Tracie credits a mentor she had at GE with giving her the confidence to keep going: “She saw something in me, and I never forgot that. I believe that climbing the ladder is not really climbing the ladder -it is people’s hands lifting you.” But not everyone Tracie has encountered on her career path has been so uplifting. “I had one manager who told me I was awful at written communication,” she recalls with a laugh; ironic for a woman who has made her career in proposal writing. But negative feedback doesn’t hold Tracie back. “I think you have good and bad, and you take it all,” she says. “And you just say, ‘I can do this.’ And you continue to do this.” The same holds true for failure. “If I fail, I’m going to learn from that and then I’m going to do better,” she says. “I know when we were building proposal management best practices at Long View, we’d try something and people wouldn’t like it, or it wouldn’t work. I’ve had a lot of little failures. But then you have this amazing product at the end.” Failure or success, Tracie doesn’t give up on her passions. “Do you really want to give up or did it just get kind of hard?” She queries. “I think we mistake losing our passion for stuff just getting too hard. We need to persevere when it gets difficult.” On Being a Woman in Tech For Tracie, being a woman in tech means being a part of an exciting phase of growth. “When I started in tech 10 years ago, I felt like there were very few women who were in senior leadership roles. And I felt that it was very male dominant,” she recalls. According to Tracie, that has changed. “Now, there are women everywhere, and I love being a part of that,” she enthuses. “I think these past 10 years, technology has come a really really long way. To be part of that as a woman in a leadership role now, where I feel empowered and can contribute to the business is amazing.” “To me, it’s not really about the technology, although that’s cool. It’s about being a woman in business where you can hold a senior leadership role and nobody questions how you got there.” On Holding the Highest Proposal Management Designation in Canada When Tracie came to Long View as a proposal specialist, it was a career shift. Her career was in marketing, but proposal writing had caught her eye. “I fell in love with strategic writing,” she recalls. “It’s still creative, still a little marketing-focused, but more strategic, more on the sales side, and I thought that was fascinating.” It was an unusual choice at the time: “I think I’m one of the very few people who decided to switch careers and go into proposal management,” Tracie says. “Most people fall into it; they don’t choose to write bids for a living.” But Tracie didn’t stop at proposal writing. Within her fourth year in the role, she had worked to get the approval to become an official department. The team that Tracie built — the Response Management Services department — does more than simply handle proposals. “We’ve helped set the standard for the quality and the voice of Long View,” Tracie says of the best practices the team has developed. “They are the go-to team — it’s really quite powerful.” The hard work has paid off, both for Long View and for Tracie’s career, as the team has one of the highest win rates in both the tech and proposal management industries. “That is 100 percent because of the rigor we put into our best practices and the amazing people on the team,” she explains. It was also thanks to her work with the RMS team that Tracie became the first Canadian to receive a professional designation from the Association of Proposal Management Professionals — the highest possible designation in the field. “The professional level is difficult to get,” explains Tracie, “because you have to have been fundamental in your organization or in the proposal management industry. You can’t just have work experience and write a test. I was lucky to have been able to make a difference in my organization.” Her accomplishment may be precedent-setting, but Tracie insists on sharing the limelight: “It wasn’t just me,” she says. “Far from it. It’s taken a team of brilliant people to accomplish everything.” And while she’s excited to be the first Canadian to receive the designation, Tracie is determined not to be the only one. “I’m really honoured,” she says, “but I want more to join the team. I want to build that up. Because that means that people are making change.” On Growth and the Future of Sales Operations at Long View Creating and building the RMS team might be one of Tracie’s proudest achievements, but she’s not stopping there. “I believe I’m pretty good at creating and developing these departments and programs,” she explains. “So now I’m trying to do that with sales operations.” And with just over two years in the Sales Operations Management role, Tracie has already implemented impressive changes, starting with reporting. “We have never been able to look at sales from a data driven perspective to this degree,” she says. Not only did Tracie create an effective reporting system, she did it without spending a dime on new programs: “We were able to fix it within the first year, and then we were able to grow it,” she explains. “And we did it with the programs we already had.” With reporting now running smoothly, Tracie has her sights set on finding ways to empower her team and to grow their careers. “I learned, through leadership, that I get more excited and empowered from watching the people on my team grow than I do from my own growth,” Tracie explains. “I do my best to empower my team. I want them to be the best they possibly can be and I want to learn from them. Things have to evolve and grow.” So what’s next in Tracie’s career evolution? “I’m in the 2nd half of my career now and I like where it’s going,” she affirms. “I don’t anticipate any career shifts. I want to see sales operations here at Long View get even bigger. I want to ask, ‘What else can we do?’”
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Tasha Westerman, Senior VP of People Services, On Building Influence and Making an Impact

July 23, 2018
Tasha Westerman may be Long View’s first female senior VP, but for her, success isn’t about a title — it’s about the ability to positively influence the people around her. For the past fifteen years, Tasha has been building Long View’s HR team from the ground up, with a portfolio that currently includes recruitment, learning and development and internal communications, along with all of the traditional Human Resources functions. Having survived breast cancer and the loss of her first husband, Tasha is driven to use her experience to make a positive impact at Long View and in her community. On Long View and Culture “I’ve been at Long View for 15 years,” Tasha recalls. “During that time, I’ve seen my team grow professionally as well as personally. I’m really proud of that, and of the culture we’ve built and protected throughout all the years.” Long View's culture is grounded in the company's four foundational values: integrity, competence, value and fun. As Senior VP of People Services, Tasha is a gatekeeper of these values, overseeing the programs, hiring processes and resources that ensure employees benefit from and contribute to the company’s mission. One key to achieving her mandate is the support she receives, which she then pays forward. “I feel lucky to have the role that I have at Long View because we really are flexible with people in terms of their needs,” Tasha says. “Our goal is to create a great employee experience for people that work with us and help with their career development along the way. I want everyone to feel like Long View is a place where they’re included and they belong.” It’s a goal that Tasha has worked hard to achieve, and that hard work has paid off: “Time and time again, when we ask people why they join Long View and why they stay, they say it’s because of the great people they get to work with, and the great culture they get to work within, and those are both pieces my team can influence.” On Leadership and Influence For Tasha, the reward of being in a leadership position is the ability to influence how things are done — to have a positive impact on her colleagues, employees and community. "The title for me has never been the piece that’s important, she says. “It’s all about the ability to influence something that I care deeply about.” Influence, for Tasha, means making decisions that will lead to growth — for herself and for her team. And that was her motivation, moving into her current role. “I’d hired all of these amazing people onto our people services team and I knew that they had ambition too and wanted to develop their career,” she recalls. “When I grew, they were going to grow too. So it became about what we, as a team, wanted to do.” For others who want to increase their sphere of influence and make an impact in their workplace, Tasha has a few words of advice: “I would encourage everyone to develop their own ‘board of directors’ — a personal fan club outside the company that they can turn to for support,” she advises. “For me, it was a group of women who had different careers than I did, but who would support me and give me advice.” She also advocates for finding a sponsor within the organization to help promote you and move your career in the right direction. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she admonishes. “There are lots of people who want to support and help others — don’t be afraid to reach out to them.” On Being a Survivor Tasha has always been driven. But when breast cancer struck in her early thirties, followed by the death of her first husband, she was forced to slow down and think about what her motivations really were. “Growing up I was always pretty aggressive in terms of my plans and what I wanted to achieve,” Tasha recalls. Then, at 31, Tasha was diagnosed with breast cancer.  “That was ok the first time,” she says. “but then it came back and it was really aggressive.  And then when I was 35, I lost my first husband to brain cancer. So me and my son, who was 4 at the time, were left on our own.” These losses led to a period of reflection and of reevaluation. “The motivation became more about influence to me,” she says,  “and the ability to help others.” With renewed strength and focus, Tasha emerged unstoppable. “I’ve tried to dig back into the things that have crossed my path, challenging or not, and see where I can help,” says Tasha who not only puts her hard-won insight to work for her colleagues at Long View, but has also founded and helps to run the Calgary chapter of Rethink Breast Cancer— an organization that does fundraising, advocacy and support work to help other young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. “No one’s an expert on anything,” says Tasha, “but I think having gone through some of the things I’ve gone through puts me in a very fortunate position to be able to support people from a different lens.” On Being a Woman in Tech When Tasha began her career, she didn’t know that she wanted to work in tech, but the industry found her. “I knew that an entrepreneurial, growth-oriented company where I had the ability to create impact and change was really, really important to me. And that’s exactly what I found in the technology roles that I’ve been in, and the companies I’ve worked for.” Despite being a male-dominated industry, tech has never felt that way to Tasha. ”I don’t define myself as a woman in tech; I define myself as a really ambitious person who wants to do great things in this world.” Tasha explains. “But when I came into my current role, I quickly realized that people saw that as a real achievement because of my gender, and felt like my promotion opened the door of possibility for them.” True to her nature, Tasha is using this unexpected recognition to empower others: “How I see it now is that I have a responsibility to make sure that everyone, regardless of gender or race or sexual orientation feels like they have a fair shot at anything that they want to do.” Tasha was recognized earlier this year by CRN’s Women Of The Channel 2018: Power 30 Solution ProvidersAs part of the 2018 Women of the Channel, CRN is highlighting 30 female executives at solution provider organizations whose insight and influence in their respective companies help drive channel success. Congratulations Tasha!
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Taking the Long View -The forward-thinking IT company and Canada Partner of the Year reflect on their 20-year journey to the top

July 11, 2018
Published by MPN Canada on 11 July 2018 Do you want to build your cloud business? If so, check out this story about Long View Systems, the multi-Award-winning IT firm based in Calgary, Alberta. Founded in 1999, Long View emerged in recent years as one of North America’s biggest and best technical IT powerhouses. In 2017, they won the Microsoft IMPACT award for Enterprise Cloud Partner of the Year – Canada. And they were chosen runner up for the Global Hybrid Cloud and Infrastructure Platform Partner of the Year Award. This year, they won took the top prize: 2018 Canada Partner of the Year! A different vision Now don’t let their size or all the impressive technical accolades fool you; Long View is all about people. In fact, while most companies dream of getting acquired or going public, Long View takes a refreshingly unique view. Their goal is to be a 100-year company, not to get bought or acquired. No regrets careers They also believe in “no regrets” careers. They’ve invested in a business culture that enables employees to build prosperous lives and work in a dynamic environment. Because of this empowering approach, employees grow strong and healthy relationships with customers, partners, and their communities. “When you work in a great, healthy spot, you go back and contribute to your community in a positive way. That’s what we’re driven by.” Employees matter Case in point: Long View’s company’s management takes the time to go through a career/life planning process with its employees quarterly. Employees meet with their leaders to understand how they can develop and put a plan together charting their professional development. While this type of HR policy may seem touchy-feely to some (especially in the old macho tech industry), it makes a lot of business sense. After all, turnover is endemic in today’s talent marketplace. Principled approach Not exactly Gordon Gecko, right? Well, their business success demonstrates that growth and size do not need to come at the expense of ethics. With over 1100 employees working in offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Denver, and Houston, Long View’s clever solutions and flexible services attract diverse enterprise customers in both the private and public sectors. “We are honoured to be chosen as the Canada Partner of the Year and to be recognized for our accomplishments within the Canadian partner community.” – Brent Allison, CEO, Long View OneCloud Take OneCloud, to start. Despite the benefits, it’s often difficult for organizations to evaluate, select, and manage the right mix of cloud technology. OneCloud solves that problem by unravelling the complexity and providing a single, customized solution addressing cloud workloads that reside in both public and on-premises environments. “Azure is our first choice and our major provider for cloud. We also have our own geographical cloud in Canada and the U.S. for those unique applications that need more white-glove service. So, it’s about providing our clients with the right cloud for the right workload.” SyncSource Then there’s SyncSource. This Long View solution helps customers understand and procure the right software and hardware. Long View ensures customers utilize what they pay for through technology adoption programs with digital architects. By leveraging software asset management and optimization, they ensure their customers use licenses effectively and get the best technology ROI. “We’re progressing from a standard, value-added reseller into a true business solution provider. And we’re fully aligned and engaged with Microsoft as a key partner.” Security solutions Long View is also a security specialist with a range of solutions on offer. CyberWatch, its managed security service, includes remote monitoring, detection, and response services. CyberShield, another security solution, provides a compliance managed security service. This depth and specialty of service helps customers operating in multiple, rigorous regulatory environments protect their interests from modern threats. Service desk Finally, there’s good old-fashioned support! Its Gartner-rated service desk helps clients with their technology every step of the way—from deployment and training, to day-to-day use. Behind the scenes, they manage everything for their clients, empowering them to focus on more strategic business activities than managing updates. “In this mobile-first, cloud-first era it’s an exciting time to be a Microsoft partner in Canada. We are honoured to be chosen as the Canada Partner of the Year and to be recognized for our accomplishments within the Canadian partner community.” – Don Bialik, CEO, Long View Microsoft Partner of the Year Award For its excellence, Long View received the Microsoft Canada Partner of the Year Award—the top prize for any partner that’s celebrated every year at Microsoft Inspire! Highly prestigious, Country Partner of the year Awards recognizes the best of the best worldwide: companies put forward as examples of excellence for every partner. To give you a sense of Long View’s achievement, Microsoft received over 2,600 nominations from 115 countries across 39 global award opportunities. And there are over 100 Country Partner of the Year Awards as well. “We did this in partnership with Microsoft. They gave us direction, they gave us insight, they gave us wisdom. Right down to the executives, they kept mentoring us and guiding us through this transformation.”
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Rhonda Bashnick, CFO, On Leading With Passion and Courage

July 10, 2018
Complacency isn’t in Rhonda Bashnick’s repertoire. From her early career in the oil and gas industry, to her leadership roles in tax and finance at Shaw Communications when the Internet was in its infancy, Rhonda is always looking for the next big challenge. Now, her forward momentum has brought her to Long View, where, as our first female CFO, she is leading the team that will bring us into our next major phase of growth. On Passion and Team Building “I’m passionate about what I do,” says Rhonda. “I think that is my real strength.” That passion encompasses many aspects of her career, from the tech industry to finance to building the cohesive, high performing teams that are vital to the kind of work she strives to achieve. “That’s what I really love is building these great teams that can give operations that extra knowledge that they need to make the right decisions.” Rhonda sees her team not as a cog in the wheel, but as a partner with the company. “I want to build that finance team that doesn’t just deliver results, but that delivers the results and gives business insights that help drive the business forward.” This was Rhonda’s vision when she built Shaw’s first in-house tax group, and then went on to become the VP Finance: “I led a very large team there,” she recalls, “and I’m proud because I’d say we built a world-class finance team.” Now, building her team at Long View, Rhonda is pleased with the results. “I really enjoy working with the people here," she says. "I really see that we can work together and take this company to the next level.” On Being a Woman in Tech The seventeen years Rhonda spent with Shaw saw the advent of the Internet, VOIP and WiFi — an exciting time to work in tech, and an environment that suited Rhonda’s passion for forward movement. She admits, “Tech was always very interesting for me, and continues to be so, because it’s always evolving.” Being a woman in the tech industry, for Rhonda, isn’t just about passion — it’s also about representation. “Technology has changed our lives, and it’s going to continue to change our lives,” she enthuses. “ Technology impacts everybody. So we need leaders who represent the people who are being impacted.” On Leadership and Risk Over the course of her career, Rhonda has fine-tuned her approach to leadership. “First and foremost, it’s all about integrity,” says Rhonda. “Particularly in my role in finance, I always stand behind doing the right thing. People respect you for that.” And Rhonda reflects that respect back to her team members; she is intentional about being transparent, about sharing her passion and vision, and about acknowledging the team’s achievements. “It wasn’t me who did great things, it was the team. We did great things together. It’s about acknowledging that.” Integrity, respect and teamwork are cornerstones of Rhonda’s leadership, but another quality she both embodies and recommends to future leaders is courage. “Use the courage,” she exhorts. “Be bold. Keep reaching forward, keep moving forward. Take a chance. Because I look back and I think, if I hadn’t taken some chances over the years I would never be where I am today. And I love what I do, I feel privileged to have had the opportunities I’ve had, to work with the people I have, and it was all just taking that next step. Did I ever think I’d be a Senior VP at Shaw or the CFO here? No, I didn’t. It was just the next step.” On Long View and the Future Being the CFO at Long View wasn’t Rhonda’s plan. “I had actually retired. I was retired for about 17 months,” she recalls, “and initially I had said no.” But after meeting with Don Bialik, Long View’s Executive Chairman, she realized this was another risk she wanted to take. “I really like Don. I liked his passion for this company, his passion for the people here, and his vision for being a 100 year company, and I thought, I want to be part of that. I’ve still got some stuff left in me.” Rhonda doesn’t come out of retirement for nothing. She’s got big plans for her finance team. “Finance needs to make a big impact here at Long View,” she says.  “We’re taking this company to a billion dollars in revenue, and I want to be part of it. So that is my next challenge.”
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SCCM Cloud Management Gateway

April 18, 2018
  If you ask any SCCM administrator, they’ll tell the most obvious pain point around client management is how to deal with internet-facing clients.  In the early days of SCCM 2007, Microsoft developed a functional, yet complicated solution for internet-based client management, or otherwise known as IBCM….and no, not ICBM.  It required additional SCCM infrastructure to exist in the DMZ, while poking holes through the external firewalls to reach the internal network and SCCM hierarchy residing there.  This external infrastructure is also exposed to the Internet, as well as causes additional overhead and operational cost.  During those early days of configuring IBCM, there was not much supporting documentation from Microsoft or the community, and the SCCM admin usually would have to zigzag through the process.  Admittedly, Microsoft and the SCCM community have in the past few years put together comprehensive guides to implementing IBCM… and that is something this SCCM admin has been extremely grateful for.   Fast-forward nearly a decade later to SCCM 1610 Current Branch.  Microsoft releases a pre-release feature that has become a contender to the behemoth of IBCM: the Cloud Management Gateway.  In very elegant fashion, Microsoft simplified and modernized the notion of managing internet-facing devices through SCCM.  The hardware requirements to have in the DMZ and be exposed to the Internet was no more.  Instead, with the use of a new PaaS type cloud service residing inside a company’s Microsoft Azure tenant, communication between internet-based clients to the internal SCCM environment is now handled in a secure, certificate-based method.  Also, I might add that this is significantly easier to implement than an intercontinental ballistic missile … for those that are acronym-challenged.   CMG has some other side benefits besides the obvious connectivity feature to internet devices.  Combining the CMG service with another PaaS service, the Cloud Distribution Point, you then have a winning combination of actually deploying applications and software patches to our internet-facing client friends.  Then you have pure simple scalability.  Each PaaS service can support 4000 devices and provisioning another CMG service can be done very easily from within the SCCM console.   Some detractors would say that the requirement of an Azure subscription is a huge roadblock due to cost and overhead.  Perhaps network egress costs of content flowing to those internet clients is a scary thought.  I would say, yes proceed with caution, and that if you are really serious about leveraging Azure cloud in this manner, some math homework will be in order.   Just some quick calculations for outbound data transfer costs: Assume 10,000 clients x 100MB (machine policy request/once per hour) = 1TB per month Rate = $.14 per GB x 1TB = $140/mo.   CMG (PaaS Service Cost) (A2 VM) = $133.92/mo   Total: $357/mo   Let’s not be neglectful by leaving out the costs of applications/patching payloads.  Of course, for every enterprise, those numbers will vary, and this will be the additional homework for any SCCM admin or organization that should be willing to do if attempting to persuade the power-that-be of this type of solution.   For those companies that are truly trying to embrace the cloud-side of life, this new feature for SCCM Current Branch helps to adopt a truly modern workplace IT scenario.  CMG is truly a testament to Microsoft’s dedication of a long-standing (25 years folks!) toolset that continues to deliver for enterprise environments everywhere.
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Activate Digital 2018: More Than A Call To Action!

April 6, 2018
  During the #ActivateDigital2018 Conference in Guelph, Microsoft President Kevin Peesker and I gave an interview on where the digital evolution is heading in this country. In talking about our vision and the passion we share for Canada and its future as a dominant player in the emerging digital economy, we also discussed the responsibility all organizations have regarding the need to evolve from both a technological as well as a cultural standpoint. In fact, and in speaking about ICT professionals, Kevin went so far as to say that if you are a check the box on a menu service provider, you will need to look for a new career because this will not cut it in today’s fast-paced, highly complex world. The reason for this seismic shift is simple; customers are more advanced and technologically astute than they were in years past. Now I am not suggesting that clients have all the answers to their technological or digital questions. However, they know what they want to accomplish, and what they need to look for in a service provider, and it isn’t a product list. What they want is a partner – or technologist as Kevin put it, who has an organizational depth that can empower them to move their Business agenda forward with a digital transformation strategy. Of course, on the client-side of the equation, organizations must also go through a cultural shift regarding how they view their business model in the context of their digital future. One example Kevin gave during the interview was a Canadian financial institution who has been in existence since before Canada became a country. Specifically, their recognition that they were a technology company that provides banking services. In short, and in the new digital age, we are all technology companies because we all need to recognize that digital reinvention is not a case of “if” but rather “when” and that organizations will either transform or be “transformed” by this new reality. Unfortunately, not all companies are hearing the call. According to an HBR report “most incumbent firms are failing to adjust to the digital era.” This disconnect, or more to the point bridging this disconnect, is why the #ActivateDigital2018 Conference is so important. It is more than simply a call to action. It is a call to action that provides a means by which those in attendance gain access to this country’s biggest and brightest digital minds, and an unprecedented depth of resources that can facilitate the certain transition into the brave new digital world. Now you might be thinking that the conference has already taken place and that if you were not able to attend, you missed the opportunity. While I will encourage you to make plans to attend #ActivateDigital2019, you have access to Long View Systems’ deep knowledge and resources, including a series of eight 30-minute podcasts featuring the speakers and industry thought leaders who were at this year’s conference. In the end, the ACTIVATEDIGITAL 2018 Conference is not a one-time engagement but is a continuing and essential part of your growing knowledge base through your partnership with Long View Systems. We look forward to working with you to achieve your digital objectives!
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Are Your SCCM Clients Healthy?

April 5, 2018
Let’s face it.  Although System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) is a great tool for software installation, patch implementation, and just down right making a System’s Administrator’s job a lot easier, it’s not perfect.  For all of the fore mentioned things to take place, one major component needs to be working spot on. The SCCM machine client. The SCCM machine client is what communicates between the computer and the Management Point in the SCCM infrastructure to allow software to be pushed from software Distribution Points to the workstation or server and either installs required software, such as patches or updates, or makes applications available for install to a certain collection of devices or users.  When there is a breakdown in communication between the client and the Management Point, the machine never receives these important updates, which could lead to the machines not working properly or possibly making them susceptible to virus attacks.  Needless to say, improper client remediation can possibly be a costly expense to a corporation, if not addressed immediately. Throughout the years, SCCM Administrators have had their struggles with finding the cause of faulty clients and performing a proper remediation. In most cases, it may be simpler to just uninstall and reinstall the client. But, what about the circumstances that can’t be solved by this method? Do you back up the data on the machine, re-image the machine, and start fresh?  Of course not.  That’s when you need someone with the knowledge and powerful tools to help you find out what the underlying problems could be.  These issues could range from a corrupt WMI to communications between endpoints.  But, how do you troubleshoot these types of issues and get down to the solution?  That’s where Long View Systems comes in.  Long View has top notch SCCM Consultants that have the expertise and tools needed to perform a total assessment of, not only your system client health, but your entire SCCM Infrastructure.  And the end of your SCCM Health assessment, your Long View Consultant will provide you a report, go over the issues that need to be addressed to provide the best SCCM environment possible, and give you step by step procedures on how they can fix the problems that plague your current infrastructure.   Jasper McLarrin, Systems Consultant, Long View Systems
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Modernizing Security Alongside Digital Transformation

March 12, 2018
Download our latest case study Modernizing security alongside digital transformation written in partnership with Microsoft.
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