The Importance Of “Relational” Data In The Digital Age

February 2, 2018
  For those who have been in the industry for as long as I have, when you read the words “relational” data, you will probably think back to the early days and Edgar Codd. If your memory doesn’t quite extend that far back into the past, most of the relational databases that are in widespread use today have their origins in Codd’s relational model. Of course, back then, data was something that you stored and kept safe, unlike today when we talk about transforming your data into a strategic asset. However, if we want to transform real data into real benefits, we need to think of what “relational” means in an expanded if not different light. Back in October, I wrote an article titled “Customer Engagement Evolved: Curiosity, Trust, and Purpose-Driven Exploration,” in which I made the statement that “trust should be treated as a process and not a transaction.” And it is in this context relational takes on a whole new meaning in that we have to look beyond the bits and bytes of storage capability, to the people and the relationships that are the real drivers of data transformation and the corresponding benefits it will deliver to our clients and the greater world. In other words, we have to not only think about data management from the standpoint of technology, but we also have to look at it from a relationship standpoint because the digital transformation is as much about people as it is technology. Let’s consider digital’s impact on the healthcare industry. A recent #AcitvateDigital2018 Spotlight article talked about how digital transformation “empowers consumers by providing them with better access to higher-quality information and care options,” that would ultimately lead to a “higher level of convenience and satisfaction overall.” While there is without a doubt tremendous benefits associated with technological breakthroughs, the article rightfully points out that to get to this point requires “greater insight and collaboration.” It requires stronger relationships that foster curiosity, trust, and purpose-driven exploration. Besides inviting you to download our whitepaper Unleash the Power of Your Hybrid Cloud, I would also like to extend the invitation to join our NetApp team and me at Long View’s ACTIVATEDIGITAL 2018 Conference on February 27th in Guelph where we will have the opportunity to meet and lay the foundation for our relationship.
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Digital Transformation: How BlackBerry Secures a Hyperconnected World

January 31, 2018
  The future lies in the Enterprise of Things. The vast, fast-growing global network of Internet-connected devices and endpoints represents an enormous opportunity for businesses across every industry, and the next stage in the digital transformation of enterprises. But that opportunity does not come without great risk. Hospital tech. Cars and roads. Power and water grids. Airliners. Industrial equipment. Everything is being brought online. There are already tens of billions of connected devices and endpoints worldwide, and that number will only grow larger. In such a hyperconnected world, cybersecurity is not just about protecting data, but also protecting people – the secure flow of information is both mission- and safety-critical. Because when everything is connected, everything is a target. And if even a single endpoint in a system is unprotected, nothing is secure. Securing the Enterprise of Things is a massive undertaking, and requires a completely new approach to cybersecurity. BlackBerry understands this, which is why we are working closely with leaders in every sector to change the way their organization secures and protects everything from BYOD devices and wearable technology to credit card data and movie scripts. We are historically well-positioned in this regard. The magic in our smartphones that made us a global brand is the elegant and durable architecture and IP we developed for highly secure, reliable, and efficient device-to-device messaging and communications. That same architecture has broad applicability today across the billions of fast-proliferating EoT endpoints. We are trusted by some of the world’s most secure organizations to safeguard their people, assets, and data – which we do through BlackBerry Secure – our comprehensive, endpoint-focused approach to securing the EoT. With help from our vast partner ecosystem, our software cybersecurity portfolio has never been stronger. Through tools like BlackBerry UEM, BlackBerry QNX, and BlackBerry Jarvis, we stand ready to secure, connect, and protect the digital enterprise. Finally, having recently undergone an evolution of our own, we know what’s required for businesses to successfully complete their digital transformation. Long View’s ActivateDigital2018 Conference this February will bring together the industry’s top leaders to discuss topics like the digital transformation of the enterprise. I look forward to seeing you at this year’s event and continuing the conversation with you there.
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Converting The Digital Promise Into Tangible Outcomes

January 26, 2018
I found Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie’s Spotlight article earlier this week both interesting and insightful.  I was particularly impressed with his statement that the city’s digital success “did not happen by chance, but are the results of a balanced strategy for digital transformation.” Having been in the industry for as long as I have, the promise of every new technological breakthrough to impact not only our business but our personal lives as well is not new, especially regarding the sense of excitement and anticipation it creates. And while this new era of cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence promises to create touchpoints in virtually every area of our lives as never before, to fully leverage the promise towards achieving the optimal outcome has not changed. Specifically, the need to have a defined strategy and plan of execution. However, getting to the point of being able to develop a strategy let alone a sound implementation plan that converts the digital promise to a tangible, meaningful outcome is not a simple task. Like Guelph, whose multi-track or channel approach involved the region’s traditional industries, the retention and attraction of talent, and a civic tech mandate, your approach will also require a coordinated effort involving multiple stakeholders within your current infrastructure. This coordinated effort is the first and most important stage of getting your organization “digital ready.” What does digital readiness involve? According to one recent industry article, there is a pressing need for CEOs to “find and deploy the right technology as fast as their budgets will allow.” When they talk about deployment, it means “leveraging” the best technology whether on-site or in the cloud, “to deliver the highest levels of performance and security for today’s mobile and tech-savvy users.” In the context of savvy users, let’s consider the healthcare industry, to which I have a particularly close connection, as it is the industry in which my wife has spent her entire career. Digital transformation empowers consumers by providing them with better access to higher-quality information and care options, with the potential for a higher level of convenience and satisfaction overall. For example, and given our aging population, there is an increasing interest in home health care services. Technological breakthroughs in this area are some of the most exciting in the healthcare industry. For the healthcare provider – whose main focus is elevating the level of patient care on a cost-efficient basis, they are better positioned to deliver through digital advances such as telemedicine, mobility and cloud access, wearables and IoT an optimum level of service than what was previously possible. However, and despite the impact that these digital breakthroughs could have in the healthcare industry, there is a need for greater insight and collaboration if we hope to achieve these exciting outcomes. With this in mind, at the ACTIVATEDIGITAL 2018 Conference on February 27th in Guelph, there will be multiple debriefing sessions set-up following each keynote. The purpose of these sessions is to respond to any questions regarding the specific keynote topics and facilitate further discussion with a focus on gaining additional insight into how attendee organizations can structure and implement a digital transformation strategy. These sessions are open to everyone in attendance. However, I would suggest that you plan to arrive immediately following the keynote as there are a limited number of time slots open.
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A Balanced Strategy For Digital Transformation: How Guelph Is Becoming The Epicentre Of Technological Innovation

January 24, 2018
Whenever the question comes up about digital transformation and the emerging tech sector, it would be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a dynamic industry and the promise that innovation brings. After all, based on our success here in Guelph in areas such as civic tech – in which we embed technological breakthroughs in city hall departments - an enthusiasm for tomorrow is understandable. However, harnessing that excitement into a creative and achievable vision is the key to becoming a facilitator of tomorrow’s promise as opposed to a spectator. There are of course many exciting things happening in Guelph. For example, our city’s selection as one of the top 3 North American cities for millennials to live is especially noteworthy given the great influence and contributions this emerging generation will make in the digital age. I would be remiss if I did not include our University of Guelph as an important contributor to attracting generation next as many of the students who attend the institution from other centres across the continent and beyond choose to stay here after they graduate. The University’s contributions also extend beyond the classroom, as many business owners cite the University as a major draw that attracted them to Guelph. Add into the equation that Guelph will have a stop on the planned high-speed rail line from Toronto to London, and you will understand why many see our fair city as poised and ready to take its place in the emerging digital age. What is important to note is that these developments did not happen by chance, but are the results of a balanced strategy for digital transformation. And inclusion is at the heart of our digital strategy’s success to date. From the very beginning, we have actively engaged our traditional industries such as agriculture and solidified our commitment to both attract and retain the talented people who are the driving force behind our digital vision, while championing our innovative “civic tech” initiatives. In the end, Guelph has not only recognized the tremendous opportunities brought forth by the emerging digital age, but we have also embraced our role as a proactive leader in facilitating the dawn of an exciting new tomorrow for our city and its citizens. That is what I would define as being a “smart city.” Join me as I welcome Canada’s high-tech thought leaders to Guelph on February 27th to Long View’s ACTIVATEDIGITAL 2018 Conference.
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Recognizing And Capitalizing On The Opportunities Brought About By Immense Disruption

January 19, 2018
Over the past few months, I have read many articles that talked about the disruptive nature of digital transformation and how it can create uncertainty for organizations. In the digital age, change is a constant and while it is never easy, change is inevitable. Certainly, and as Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins pointed out in his November 17th CNBC interview, the ability to help organizations to “deal with the pace at which they are trying to move” in areas such as automation, analytics, and security is at the heart of Cisco’s vision – for today and tomorrow. At Cisco, we see the immense and unparalleled opportunities in this digital age powered by intelligence. Digital transformation is the catalyst for positive change and has and will continue to transform the way we work and live -  for the better. Our ability to see the opportunities in change is also one of the reasons why we are fundamentally reinventing the networking industry as reflected in our Network Intuitive launch. In this new era of intelligence, in which the role of the network has never been so critical, we can transform our digital world by harnessing its full promise through intent-based technologies that constantly learn, adapt, and protect. Canada is on the forefront of this change and is driving disruption. The Toronto-Waterloo corridor now rivals Silicon Valley as an innovation generator. As artificial intelligence gains prominence, both Toronto, and Montreal are also emerging as global centres of innovation.  And this is just the beginning. It’s with this spirit of enthusiasm that I am looking forward to talking with you about the tremendous opportunities through immense disruption and how you can leverage them to future-proof your business at the Long View ACTIVATEDIGITAL 2018 Conference in Guelph this coming February.  
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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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