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When It Comes To Digital Transformation, Don’t Get Lost In The Cloud

February 1, 2019
I remember when referring to someone as having their head in the clouds was an indication that they were not paying enough attention to what was going on around them due to the distraction of unrealistic or difficult to grasp ideas. Conversely, when one had their feet firmly planted on the ground, it meant that they had a sensible or practical understanding of the world around them. When the talk turns to one of digital transformation, it is very easy to get lost in a cloud of terminology and overarching expectations of what has to take place to ensure that you are keeping up with everyone else. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why that despite organizations acknowledging the importance of digitally reinventing their business, a McKinsey study found that only 23 percent of the 1,600 companies surveyed had an existing digital strategy. A Question Of Legacy Right off the bat, I want to stress that while the cloud is an important option in the digital realm, it is not in and of itself a solution.  And while I do not want to make the process of digital transformation sound overly simple as it does take careful consideration and planning, the fact is that transforming your business comes down to one very simple truth; you cannot move into the digital realm with old technology. In short, and from a feet on the ground standpoint, legacy technology can’t get you to the cloud or anywhere else. In talking about the negative impact of legacy systems in the ERP world, Gartner had this to say; “A system that is not sufficiently flexible to meet changing business demands is an anchor, not a sail, holding the business back, not driving it forward.” The same can be said for the IT world as well. On The Ground And In The Cloud IT Transformation Harnessing the capabilities of modern technology from the edge to the core, to the cloud is the key to transforming your business, and a key part of the Dell Technologies Advantage is IT transformation. For example, Dell EMC provides enterprise-grade infrastructure solutions that allow you to futureproof your environment and focus on innovation rather than administration. Virtuestream allows you to host mission-critical workloads in the cloud and offload certain IT functions as managed services to better focus on driving forward your business. My point here is that in conjunction with Digital, Workforce, and Security, transforming your IT is essential if you want to move beyond the cloud to meet your business goals in a rapid, cost-efficient and effective manner. In the end, you can be in the cloud while at the same time having your feet planted firmly on the solid ground of a transformed IT infrastructure. Join me at Activate Digital 2019 where you will be able to learn more about modernizing, automating, and digitally transforming your IT infrastructure. Use the following link to reserve your spot today.
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Cybersecurity In The Digital Age: When Rubber Meets The Sky And The Road

January 30, 2019
  Last year a report from North Carolina State University found that concerns regarding the risks associated with the advancement of technology were of greater concern to company leadership in 2018 than both economic uncertainty and regulation. Specifically that the “rapid speed” of disruptive innovations and new technologies would “outpace” an organization’s ability to manage risk effectively. Concern among the board members and executives who participated in the University’s study, was so great that managing the risks associated with technological advancement, was number one on their list of the top ten risks they would face. As the Managing Director, Cybersecurity at Cisco, such revelations do not surprise me. I would be surprised if concerns regarding security weren’t one of the top ones for companies, and not just large organizations but small and medium enterprises as well. Managing risk in the digital age as I had indicated in my October 11th, 2018 blog post -Small and Mighty: Cybersecurity for small and midsize businesses, is “a shared risk for all of us,” and “will require a shared effort by all of us to control.” Racing Ahead Of course, the issue of technological advancement racing ahead of our ability to both harness and manage it effectively towards the desired outcome is nothing new. Every innovation whether it be the telephone through to the first PC and now the digital age has faced its challenges and obstacles starting with understanding and managing the risks. A favorite analogy of mine when discussing the need to manage risk in the face of inevitable progression is my teenage son being legally allowed to drive at the age of 16. The question is not whether he can or should drive – after all being able to drive is part of growing up and gaining personal independence as you enter adulthood. The real question is, does he have the experience to drive from point A to point B safely? This concern regarding safety is where I come in as I ride shotgun with him whenever he takes the car on the road. Rubber Meets The Sky I remember reading about how an engineer at a large organization’s future technologies lab was talking about the difference between  rubber “meeting the sky” and rubber “meeting the road.” With the former, he was referring to the need to come up with creative new ideas, while with the latter he was emphasizing the fact that you then have to bring those new ideas to market. The engineer's insight is on the mark in that the tremendous opportunities afforded us through digital technology advancement is incredible. However, the rubber can only meet the road if you can provide a sure and safe pathway to realizing the full digital promise. In this regard, all organizations need to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy focused on prevention, detection, response and recovery to address the pervasive threats that are inherent in this exciting new world. Join me at Activate Digital 2019 where you will gain additional insights into developing and implementing a dynamic cybersecurity framework that will enable you to clear the road to digital transformation success. Use the following link to reserve your spot today.
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A Race Towards Danger: Staying Relevant In The Digital Age

January 25, 2019
During a recent interview in which I talked about NetApp’s relevance as a provider of cloud data services in a rapidly changing digital world, “racing towards danger” was the term I used to describe our ongoing evolution as a company. What does racing towards danger mean, and why is it relevant to our clients? Simply put, it means recognizing and responding to changes in the marketplace even if doing so means that you have to take risks and move beyond the framework of the familiar. In his July 5th, 2018 article Prasanna Rajagopal wrote about how NetApp “achieved a feat that few other IT hardware or software companies have achieved in history” by successfully transitioning the company’s products to “growth areas of the market.” In other words, we recognized that possible seismic change as a result of the cloud was not only on the near horizon it was inevitable. Rather than rail against the shift we didn’t just embrace it, we raced towards it at full speed. Don’t Push The Waves Back With the emergence of the cloud, we had to find a different way of serving our clients. We had to adapt rather than resist – or as I like to say, avoid pushing the waves back into the ocean, and instead find a way to surf them. In 2011, this meant seeing the opportunity in the cloud rather than viewing it as a threat to our traditional business model – which it would have been, had we remained static in our thinking. Instead, our focus was on determining what products and features would be the best at serving not only our existing client base but new client opportunities as well. As a result of our approach to change, we ultimately became the market leader in “all-flash storage arrays and hyper-converged infrastructure.” Of course, evolving to meet the demands of new market realities extends beyond products and services to include how an organization communicates and collaborates with other stakeholders. In this regard, I often talk about how “cloud winners” are those organizations who view the hybrid cloud as a team sport. Collaboration And Change If you are into fitness and training the term muscle memory will be one with which you are very familiar. In the business world, muscle memory is about how people within an organization work together to achieve its objectives. While this memory serves a purpose, it can also become an obstacle to transformation such as when people say, “we have always done things this way, why change.” The fact is that change, as stated earlier, is inevitable. Enabling your organization to embrace change is the key to ongoing relevancy and success. A big part of that success is an ability to collaborate with both an inward and outward-looking perspective. Internally, and through our Guiding Coalition that consisted of up to 30 people from within different parts of the company, NetApp facilitated its transformation from a legacy hardware company to becoming “the” data authority for the hybrid cloud. From the standpoint of serving our clients, we can bring together the best talent and industry knowledge from across our extended team to solve customer problems. What this is all saying is that at NetApp when it comes to transforming a business, we successfully walk the talk. When it comes to the digital transformation of your business, you can either define it or let it define you.  We believe it should be the former, and this regard I have but one question for you; are you ready to run? Join me at Activate Digital 2019 where I will be sharing the main stage with one of our clients to talk about their success, and how you can identify the best path to realizing the digital promise for your organization. Use the following link to reserve your spot today!
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Celebrating 20 Years: An interview with Long View CEO, Brent Allison

January 24, 2019
Long View Systems has received numerous awards and accolades over the past year, including Microsoft’s Canadian Partner of the Year, Citrix’s Canadian Partner of the Year, and NetApp’s Growth Partner of the Year and after seven years running are a platinum member of Canada’s Best Managed companies. It is the market leader in each of its core practice areas thanks to a wide range of public and private sector clients representing every major vertical across Canada and the United States. As we begin the New Year, what will 2019 look like for a company celebrating its 20th anniversary with a leadership team and workforce laser-focused on building deep, long-term relationships with clients and partners and determined to lead the way in digital transformation? When we think of great companies that thrive for decades, you’ll often find that an organization’s culture and guiding principles for how it interacts with customers are key components to success. Long View is very proud of its unique culture and has a leader at the helm that brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and understands “both the challenges and opportunities that digital transformation offers” for clients. To gain deeper insight into Long View’s successes, their culture, and what’s top of mind, I connected with Long View’s CEO, Brent Allison. Brian Clendenin: Brent, you’ve been the CEO at Long View for almost a year now … was joining Long View the right move for you and what surprised you the most? Brent Allison: “Indeed Brian, I’m even more excited about being at Long View after my first year than the day I joined – and I was pumped up when I joined. No question the best surprise has been the culture and the joy of our 1150 Long Viewers’. I knew it was good, but I was undersold on our people – they are authentic, super talented and they have embraced our company’s mission – they are all in. I’m certain this deep bond stems from the intent of our chair and founder Don Bialik. Twenty years ago Don set out to build a 100-year-old company with the best of intentions – built first to foster healthy lives and prosperous careers for our team, our clients and our partners. It is definitely a special place.” Brian Clendenin: Since joining, what have you seen in the market and what changes have you observed in your customer’s thinking about their business? Brent Allison: “The coolest part of being at Long View is that we have a unique vantage point across our six North American branches and across many verticals – a vantage point we like to share. And there are common themes and some major differences emerging across our growing customer base. Most noticeably, we’ve been in high demand from large mid-market customers who are experiencing more and more complexity as information technology moves to operational technology and into the c-suite. These large mid-market customers are likely under the radar for the large system integrators and they continue to tell us that they want strategic and less transactional partnerships. Technology transformation and roadmaps are difficult and complex – it is often tough to get the basics right and ROI moving in the right direction. These customers are demanding partners who can help them assess and fix the foundations of their information technology operations so they can shake loose some time and dollars to allow them to deliver on transformation. It has become clear to me that this complexity – both real and perceived, is an obstacle to be overcome if we are to help businesses realize the full digital promise. Sadly, it is a bit better in the US, where many of our customers are seeking out the latest and greatest solution and want to be first to implement a proof of concept or new idea. So we also see it as our job to import use cases and knowledge from the US while helping encourage our Canadian customers be a little more aggressive. As you know, the situation in North America is complicated further by the fact that there is a significant industry talent gap or shortfall. As we speak, Long View has close to 120 open positions. Going forward our industry will need to build talent from within and ensure we partner with each other where it makes sense. The good news is that Long View and our strategic partners are super well positioned to play an even more important role for years to come. We are working together with our partners to build talent and ensure the brightest and best choose IT careers and of course Long View.” Brian: It’s your 20th anniversary … what can we look forward from Long View for the next 20 years? Brent: “To start, our mission won’t change and we aren’t for sale – it’s a 100-year journey with a goal to deliver on client outcomes, provide healthy lives and prosperous careers for our team members and have a positive impact on the communities we serve. We have a goal to become the most loved technology services company in North America and we are well on our way. In order to make this a reality, we will continue to concentrate on what makes us different – our flexibility and our agility. As our founder, Don likes to say, it always has to be win-win-win, with our customers, our partners and our people. If it is not striking the right balance, Long View isn’t stuck to an old contract. This resonates with our customers and our partners who often come to us first for many new ideas and launches. This all does not work unless we have great people and strong North American footprint. The good news is Long View will continue to hire carefully, locally and for the long term. We have well-established processes that ensures that Long View hires only those with integrity and competence, who care deeply about customer value – but who also want to have fun. As a result, our branches in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Denver & Houston are growing concerns with some of the best and brightest local talent each market offers. If you apply a ‘Sunday dinner test’ which is simply to ask if I would invite any of these folks home for dinner – and the answer was a resounding yes. They are interesting, fun and purpose driven. Our customers and partners agree. As we scale and grow to a $1B company, we believe that we can still keep the spirit of this flexible & agile customer centric culture. As they say, culture eats strategy for lunch!” Brian: You say your partnerships with Cisco and Microsoft are complimentary – what do you mean by that? Brent: “Our partnerships with Microsoft and Cisco are key to us and almost everything we do can be traced back to either or both of these companies – and we have been partners of some form since day one. Generally speaking, when we say complementary, we are referring to the fact that our ultimate end user experience, managed cloud, applications and procurement/licensing practices are composed of complementary elements from both Cisco and Microsoft. So, for example, our OneCloud offering is Microsoft Azure focused and our End User Experience offerings are heavily reliant on Microsoft technologies, but without deep understanding and implementation of the right Cisco network infrastructure the solution won’t scale and perform. Here’s another way to look at it – if you are a retail business or a bank with a physical and an online presence you need a partner that provides the platform like Azure to build the applications that run your business and this is what Microsoft does. But you also need a partner that connects it all in a reliable, secure and scalable way and this is what Cisco provides and how they clearly compliment Microsoft in shaping the value added solutions Long View creates for our clients. Microsoft and Cisco will be front and centre with keynote addresses at our upcoming Activate Digital conference February 28th in Toronto.” Brian: Let’s talk a little more about your partnership with Microsoft; this past year Long View was recognized as Microsoft’s Partner of the Year. What does this award mean for your team members and customers? Brent: “This accomplishment was first and foremost a result of our clients putting their trust in Long View along with our strong partnership with Microsoft. The joint efforts between our teams – our digital architects, our licensing specialists and account managers all came together to add value. With digital transformation being front and centre with our clients, we believe Microsoft’s digital roadmap is a winner; we are 100% aligned with our offerings and their cloud strategy from on premise to hybrid to Azure hyper scale. Our consulting DNA is steeped in the Microsoft ecosystem and has been for years. In fact, Long View has made a very significant financial investment in Microsoft – we are committed to and will grow with Microsoft for years to come.” Brian: Security is on everyone’s mind these days, how is Long View addressing security for its clients? Brent: “In the era of targeted cyber-attacks, it’s unfortunately no longer a question of if but when your company has been breached – perhaps the better question to ask may be … is your company aware of a breach when it does happen and are you capable of detecting and responding to known and future threats? The largest risk to your businesses security is through employee email, connected devices and in most cases; this means smart phones, laptops, and workstations. Managing employee needs while protecting your business can be a daily battle. On average, it takes businesses 100 to 120 days to detect and respond to these vulnerabilities. The best situation is one where your business and employees remain productive while not having to worry about security threats. We partnered and co-developed with Microsoft to create CyberTrust – our email, endpoint, identity/access and security solution that provides 100% protection against known threats. This is technology which is continually informed by over a billion sources of data – combining the best of machine learning and security research to stop threats. Your employees can focus on work while CyberTrust protects them in the background – wherever they go. To further build on the CyberTrust solution – we have launched our new CyberWatch Managed Security Service. This offering provides remote monitoring detection and response on a 24x7x365 fully or semi-automatic service to remotely  monitor,  detect, respond  and neutralize cyber threats, enhanced by our NERC CIP aligned Security Operations Center (SOC). It is built on a next generation security intelligence and analytics platform powered by LogRhythm. The main objective of our innovative CyberWatch service is to deliver the right information, at the right time, with the appropriate context, to minimize the amount of time it takes to detect and respond to damaging cyber threats.” Brian: As a high growth company in many North American locations what focus is put on customer experience? Brent: “As I said at the outset, we’re on a journey to become a 100 company and that requires a laser focus on customer experience. This is so important to me that one of the few but significant changes I made to the senior leadership team was to appoint Long View’s first Vice President of Customer Experience. The mandate includes a relentless drive for top notch service quality in everything we deliver for our clients, managing our all-important Net Promoter Score (NPS), Gartner’s Peer Reviews and a number of internal campaigns such as our “All Green All the Time” initiative. This one in particular is designed to promote 100% execution on any number of fronts including our GSD (Global Service Desk), our Managed IT Services (MITS) dashboard and our AI automation projects. In times of big change it is very easy to get distracted on quality and delivery. At Long View we have our eye on this ball.” Brian: What distinguishes Long View when it comes to launching new product offerings in the marketplace? Brent: “First and foremost, our ideation process and discipline to develop ongoing and innovative solutions is part of our DNA. We have developed a methodology and framework for continued innovation inside our organization to build the mindset that we must always add value for our clients every day. We use a number of tools to facilitate “idea storming” and create an environment for our team and partners to collaborate and create value filled products and services for our clients. The real test, of course, is when the offering goes to market. An ideal example would be our new Cloud Voice Collaboration service offering. In this case, our innovation framework and research confirmed that the marketplace was asking for simplified management for modern collaboration services and a better overall end user experience. Businesses today are looking for a simple, cost effective, scalable and intelligent communications experience for chats, calls and meetings – regardless of the device. To add to that, legacy systems are costly to maintain, support and replace. Our new cloud based solution can scale quickly and easily to meet the needs of today’s business – and the built in utility model is ideal for managing costs and expanding while providing a consolidated offering including phone system, calling plans, audio conferencing to enable a better modern collaboration experience.” Brian: Looking out on the technology horizon, what do you see coming next that businesses need to address? Brent: “One of the responsibilities we have at Long View is to invest in the future for our clients, staff and partners. One such investment is our CTO Office established way back in 2006. Its role is to research and keep tabs on all current and future technologies which will impact our clients and ensure we have line of sight and the runway to adjust strategy and create meaningful and strong value loaded offerings. I think we are seeing one of the biggest technology shifts since the Internet. It is vitally important we adapt our strategy to these changing times and we are. Today there are a handful of key disruptors in our industry which are impacting our clients in some shape of form – artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, IoT, mixed reality and others are here to stay and it’s our role to understand and simplify the impact and competitive advantages they offer. I would also add we are disrupting ourselves with these new technologies. In 2018 we focused on embracing automation and AI to help us become more effective and efficient internally – our centralized services business unit rolled out an automation initiative as part of our own digital transformation. We also made investments in AI, in our applications practice focused on IoT, data analytics, and Cloud Voice Collaboration. These are key areas for the future and we are ensuring that new offerings continue to emerge to stay relevant.” Brian: Today, all organizations are thinking about digital transformation, how can Long View help organizations with their digital transformation journey? Brent: “Reducing complexity and improving the value of IT investments will be our goal. In order to do this we proactively build all of our managed services and offers so they are secure by design and as such will reduce risk and reduce costs for our clients so they can reinvest in their own industries transformation of their operational technology.” Brian: Tell me more about your upcoming Activate Digital Conference on February 28th in Toronto? Brent: “Long View looks forward to playing our role and bringing our partners and customers together at Activate Digital 2019. We hope to make Canada as productive as we can for many years to come. While last year’s conference, which brought together for the very first time in one place the then new leadership from Microsoft, Cisco, and HPE created awareness, this year Activate Digital 2019 will take “digital transformation” in Canada to a whole new level of insight and understanding – and ultimately showcase it in real time. It is the ultimate opportunity for you to collaborate, communicate and cooperatively work together towards achieving your digital objectives, and I am pleased to extend this invitation to you to join us in Mississauga on Feb. 28.” By Brian Clendenin @itworldca Published: January 24th, 2019
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A Virtual Front Desk: Ronald McDonald House Charities Toronto Champions Innovation With Mobile App

January 18, 2019
When I was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto in 2016, I was excited to be joining an organization whose main focus is to keep families of seriously ill children together and close to the care they need. At the most difficult of times, a hug from a loved one can be a great comfort for a child facing a life-threatening diagnosis. Last year alone, RMHC Toronto supported more than 4,700 families from throughout Ontario, across Canada and around the world. We did this through our 81-family House in downtown Toronto and our seven in-hospital Family Rooms across the Greater Toronto Area and in Sudbury. RMHC Toronto provides more than just a place to stay. Our goal is to provide families with programs and services that give them a sense of normalcy when little else in their lives is normal. We aim to ease their burdens. And it was with that in mind that we developed and launched our Virtual Front Desk app last year. The app serves as an innovative supplement to the face-to-face information that families receive at our Front Desk. It responds to a request from families for more and better real-time information about the support and services available to them at the House and the amenities and resources available to them in the neighbourhood and broader Toronto community. Virtual Front Desk is just one example of how we are leveraging digital technology to lessen the burden on families, giving them more time to be together. This past August, it received the top international award for impact and innovation at the RMHC Global Conference in Chicago. We are grateful to Long View Systems for their generous support of RMHC Toronto through the Activate Digital 2019 Conference and would invite you to visit our on-site booth on February 28 in Mississauga. Here is the link to register for the conference.
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Amica Senior Lifestyles: Setting A New Standard For Senior Living Through Digital Transformation

January 11, 2019
  At Amica when we talk about setting a new standard for senior living in Canada, we think about it from the standpoint of creating hybrid hospitality and health care services. Specifically, combining unparalleled premium hospitality and amenities with expert care and support to deliver a personalized senior living experience. My role as Vice President, Information Technology is to lead the technological transformation at Amica by leveraging emerging digital technologies to create an intuitively advanced, secure IT infrastructure. Digitizing Health Care Records Our digital transformation began with the recognition that making resident health records electronically available on the frontlines to our team would enable them to increase their face-to-face time with our seniors as it would lessen their administrative tasks significantly. It would also enable our residents to have a more active participatory role in their health care decisions. In short, our technology initiatives provide our team members with the tools and resources they need to deliver the highest level of personalized care on a daily basis. However, and even though we are moving rapidly towards the realization of our digital objectives, we also recognize the fact that when it comes to personal electronic records, security is foremost on everyone’s mind. Security In The Cloud Delivering the highest quality senior care in the digital age requires more than technological advancement and availability. It requires a high degree of expertise to eliminate any potential risks that would compromise the privacy of our residents while still providing the maximum benefits. The need to effectively address these security requirements is where our partnership with Long View comes into play. Relying heavily on Long View’s expertise to not only assist us with the digital transformation of our practice but to do so through the creation of a fully secured platform is the key to our strategy’s ongoing success. Success in this regard is the ability to proactively monitor the “threat landscape” and manage all risks to protect the privacy of our seniors. Peace Of Mind And Life Enrichment Serving 29 locations across British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario, our forward-looking digital transformation initiative will enable Amica to deliver a high-quality care-based service to our senior residents, that enhances both the quality and enjoyment of their lives while providing peace of mind for their families. Long View Perspective Having been in the security industry for many years, I can tell you with confidence that even the best protective measures be it with people or technology, will not protect you unless you understand the makeup of your security ecosystem. Intrinsic to Amica’s success with their digital transformation strategy is securing and ensuring the privacy of personal health records. At Activate Digital 2019 we will share with you the insights and expertise to protect your confidential information while helping you to realize the full promise of your digital initiative with confidence. As seating is limited, I would encourage you to register today. – Garry Hawkings, CISO at Long View Systems
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Driving Digital Transformation Is A Matter of People and Moments

December 28, 2018
  During a recent interview, I was asked a question regarding what digital transformation means to higher education and more specifically McMaster University. It was a timely question given where we are with our McMaster IT Strategy and one that I enjoyed answering. Enjoyed you may be thinking, why enjoyed? For anyone who has read my blog, they will tell you that as much as I oversee the technological elements and IT infrastructure of one of only four Canadian Universities consistently ranked in the world’s top 100 (McMaster’s most recent global ranking is 77th), I am very much about engagement and personal interaction with individuals all across our institution. Because people as much as technology is at the centre of our strategy, our Digital Moments are a crucial part of our ability to realize both individually and collectively the full digital promise outlined in our IT Strategic Vision. So what are Digital Moments? Quite simply, they are the stories and insights we have gathered from the McMaster community sharing how they envision digital transformation impacting their world. In short, it is a practice of listening and learning and then delivering results and isn’t that what a University is all about? For students, digital transformation means having streamlined and integrated education and administrative processes that empower them to have more time to learn. From a faculty standpoint, it means providing the tools to help them create a learning environment that both challenges students and helps them to achieve their highest potential. For researchers, it means access to the most effective computing environments to support their projects. To all of the important members of our community, it may mean something different. Being able to capture and incorporate the unique needs and objectives of everyone into a single, coherent strategy is ultimately the key to digital realization and success, and you do not gain these kinds of insights working in a vacuum. You need to connect with people all over the institution and talk and learn and understand. We will be publishing a few of our community’s amazing Digital Moments to correspond with our McMaster IT Strategic Plan Official Launch on January 23rd, 2019. I invite you to visit our website throughout 2019 to chart our progress. Long View Perspective One of the most exciting aspects of working with Gayleen and her team at McMaster is the opportunity it affords us to be an important partner in McMaster’s digital transformation process. In conjunction with Cisco, our collective teams are moving towards the implementation of a strategy that will deliver amazing outcomes for the University and establish what I believe will be a digital standard for higher education institutions in Canada and perhaps beyond. For this reason, I am pleased to announce that Gayleen will join Cisco President Rola Dagher on stage at Activate Digital 2019 in Mississauga on February 28th to provide more insights into how McMaster University is both embracing and realizing the full digital promise. As seating is limited, I would encourage you to register today. – Ivan Brinjak, Sales Director at Long View Systems
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Telling Stories in the Digital Age

December 21, 2018
  Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with an exemplary team of journalists and producers who shared my commitment to supporting our reporters in the field; making sure they have the right tools and a trusted platform to tell the stories that are unravelling in front of them.   Of course, as the landscape of how we live our lives changes, so too does how we record them, report on them, and ultimately represent them to ourselves—and to generations to come. Nowadays, we don’t have to talk to a single person to get pizza delivered, pay our bills, or book a vacation. But are we isolated? Not at all: we can FaceTime our friends across the world, we can see livestreams of political unrest in progress in real time. Thanks to technology, not only can I get closer to a story than ever before, but I can share that story instantaneously. If anything, we’ve become ultra-connected.   The challenge, then, in this high-tech world, is no longer how to disseminate information: but how to tell stories. Stories that are, at their core, about genuine, tangible human connection. Already, we regularly find ways to harness these digital platforms to create real conversations, spread compassion and take that engagement out of the cybersphere and into the real world. And that is the truly powerful, transformative phenomenon of the digital age.   Now, that’s not to say that the heart of journalism has changed with the times. Even in a world of click-bait, photoshop, and listicles, I truly believe that good journalism and good journalists are no different than they were in 1968, when I started as a reporter. Because the principle we hold most dear—discovering, and sharing, the truth¬—is immutable.   What we have ahead of us, as a society, is a fight. A fight against fake news and “fake news”; a fight against the harmful feedback loops of selective media consumption; and against the divisive forces using the gift of the digital world to advance their own agendas.   But it’s a fight I know we will win: with ardor, perseverance and most importantly, facts. The digital revolution is reshaping everything; the tried and true paths we once knew are taking detours. And the fight I speak of is not a resistance to change. It’s not a fight against progress or populism, it’s not even political. It’s a fight for that which is most sacred: a fight for the truth.   Without truth, there cannot be trust. And without trust, there cannot be news. I look forward to speaking at Activate Digital 2019 on February 28th in Mississauga. Following my keynote, you’ll hear perspectives about AD 2019 from Canadian executives like Microsoft’s President Kevin Peesker, and Cisco’s President Rola Dagher.   As space is limited reserve your spot today through the following link.
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Do you know if you are on a Digital Transformation Journey?

December 17, 2018
Whether you know it or not; did you know that you are on a digital transformation journey? You may be thinking: Digital Transformation is a $1.3 trillion market so how could it impact a single individual. Well, it does because when you post to Facebook or Instagram. Tweet something about your dog. Create a LinkedIn profile. You are part of a digital transformation journey. All those posts are digital. You have created data that will be stored digitally somewhere. And, that data, unstructured as it is, will still need to be accessed at a moment's notice by either you or someone else – digitally. By the time 2018 is over with, and the clock strikes twelve to start the new year, the spend on digital transformation for hardware, software, and services is going to be on a collective global basis $1.3 trillion. That's an increase of 17 percent worldwide. In Canada, the increase in digital spend domestically will be closer to 20 percent. And, Mexico is higher given that they are not even trying to catch up to old technology but going straight to digital.  Digital Transformation is no longer a trend. By 2021, the market will grow on average by 18 percent, which means it will nearly double to $2.1 trillion. So, this is the business opportunity in front of us. The majority of the digital transformation spend for business - roughly $660 billion – will go to supporting new or expanded operating models as organizations seek to make their operations more effective and responsive by leveraging digitally-connected products/services, assets, people, and trading partners. Notice how it includes "people." When it comes to digital transformation people will play a critical and essential role for the following reasons: ·       Improved predictive analytics to foresee market changes and customer demands requires people to process volumes of both structured and unstructured data. ·       Improved workforce productivity and decision-making; and ·       Tracking the revenue generated by customer engagements through new, customer-facing digital tools. There is also a new workplace, workforce dynamic occurring because of the empowerment of digital transformation. Approximately, 62 percent of today's workforce work from more than one location, while a whopping 81 percent of people do work functions during personal time. That’s okay because 58 percent of employees do personal activities during work hours. Given that 65 percent of workers collaborate at least once a day whether it's on a whiteboard showing videos, or whatever other form said collaboration takes involves collecting, sharing, and storing data digitally. In other words, it's not going to be in a filing cabinet with an alphabetical index. Data, digitally-driven data is dynamic and perpetually in motion, and it takes people to share it and use it to deliver desired outcomes in both business and everyday life. So let me ask you this question again; are you on a digital transformation journey? To learn more about the digital transformation journey and the impact, it will have on your world join me at Activate Digital 2019 on the 28th of February in Mississauga, Ontario. Joining me on the main stage will be some of this country’s top IT and business leaders along with industry clients who will share their insights and experiences on how they have harnessed the digital promise to transform their organizations. As space is limited reserve your spot today through the following link.
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The Key To Digital Success: People And Adaptability

December 10, 2018
The Key To Digital Success: People And Adaptability During a recent discussion, what was at once both a simple yet complex question was posed; what is the key to successful digital transformation? The simplicity is that it is a fairly straightforward question. However, the complexity arises when you consider the findings of numerous surveys that suggest that for many organizations digital transformation remains an exciting yet elusive promise. In other words, most organizations recognize the need and for some the potential competitive threats if they don’t implement a digital strategy, but the realization of knowing how to execute is proving to be a challenge for many companies. So what is the challenge? Quite simply it is people, and more specifically people who possess the skill sets to not only set the strategic direction for digital transformation but deliver from the standpoint of tactical execution. The Power Of The Team In an earlier Activate Digital 2019 article Long View’s CEO Brent Allison commented on “the role that teamwork and role players play in winning and achieving success.” Very few would find disagreement with his statement. The fact is that the more technologically advanced we become, the greater the need for talented people to drive the promise and subsequent value of that technology. When it comes to the need for quality people, we are all operating on a level playing field. In this context, the competitive differentiator is not one of technological superiority but talent development and retention. Healthy Lives, Prosperous Careers Creating a healthy work environment in which people’s careers can thrive is a given if organizations hope to realize their objectives so no, this isn’t a recruiting article – although if you are looking for an exciting and rewarding career be sure to give us a call. What this is about is the recognition that quality people working within a creative forward thinking environment will be able to deliver greater value to the end customer. It is this belief that is at the heart of Brent’s statement as well as a key tenet of the Long View digital perspective and mission statement. Let’s face it, this is not a check the box and deliver a product world anymore. In the emerging digital age, a good deal of the work that we are doing with clients we are both doing for the first time. Industry experts such as Andy Akrouch refer to this as future sourcing. The challenge, of course, is that no one wants to be the first which is the reason why the surveys above seem to indicate that organizations are in a digital holding pattern. It is also the reason why having the right people or team is so important. Having a deeper understanding of the client business model provides the pathway to digital success, as does the ability for service providers to culturally integrate with their clients. And it is these last two capabilities that transcend nascent digital opportunities into realizable and tangible outcomes. Adaptability = Digital Success From an organizational standpoint, digital scalability it turns out is not solely technologically dependent, but reliant on the business experience and technical evolution of its people. One of the most important areas of focus at Activate Digital 2019, is providing business know-how with digital insights to drive your success in what is becoming an increasingly complex and competitive marketplace. While technology will continue to change and provide transformational opportunities, the foundation of consistent success is the ability to adapt to that changing reality. Having the right people in the right place at the right time means that you have a dynamic team that will understand your unique business challenges and will be able to adapt the technology to you rather than having you adapt to the technology. In the end, the ability to adapt is a reflection of your digital readiness. Therefore the real question that matters is simply this; is your organization and more importantly your people digital ready? By attending Activate Digital 2019, you will get the answer to that question and more. Use the following link to join us in Mississauga on February 28th, 2019 at Activate Digital 2019.  
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