HPE’s Spaceborne Computer Returns to Earth

October 14, 2019

By Oliver Peckham, WPC Wire

Summer 2019 - After 615 days on the International Space Station (ISS), HP Enterprise's Spaceborne Computer has returned to Earth. The computer touched down onboard the same SpaceX Dragon capsule that brought it to the ISS in August 2017 – a far cry from initial predictions that it would fail within a week and be returned with the trash. Now, with Spaceborne “1” on the ground, HPE and NASA are preparing to assess the returned system – and planning for Spaceborne 2.

The mission

The one-teraflops (per Linpack testing) Spaceborne Computer was sent to the ISS to investigate the long-term supercomputing capabilities of an “off-the shelf” system in space – namely, its resilience in the face of strong gravitational forces, regular radiation, galactic cosmic rays, and the occasional case of human error. “There were many naysayers who said that modern technology could not handle the hazards of space travel – the radiation would destroy the hardware, et cetera,” said Dr. Mark Fernandez, Americas HPC Technology Officer at HPE, in an interview with HPCwire.

The computer encountered a variety of anomalies, ranging from temperature anomalies to higher rates of processor cache errors to an astronaut’s knee bumping into the emergency power switch and causing a hard crash. This barrage of challenges – which Dr. Fernandez calls “exciting for us” – was exactly what the team wanted.

“If the rate of errors is higher and you’re still able to contain them and still able to continue working, then that’s a good thing,” said Dr. Fernandez. “And we were able to do that.”

The methods

HPE didn’t make the Spaceborne Computer resilient by modifying the hardware – that would defeat the purpose of the test. Instead, HPE was able to push back against the dangers of space travel by using software hardening.

“We took a step back and said, ‘I don’t want to plan for radiation of this type at this intensity and guess about what it might affect,’” Dr. Fernandez explained. “We monitored all of the parameters that are naturally available on a modern computer system, and when they go outside of nominal range we have a stair step of actions we take that begins with ‘slow this down and alert somebody’ all the way down to ‘I’m going to shut down in order to save the hardware.’”

During those times when NASA knew that there would be high-intensity events, people on the ground closely monitored the system to see how the hardening performed. “For example, we had a pretty intensive solar flare event back in January or February,” Dr. Fernandez said. “So we closely monitored the system and how our software responded to it because we knew that was an interesting event.”

The software hardening performed well beyond initial expectations, and the system ran in the ISS for over a year, including a six-month extension by NASA that allowed HPE to begin testing outside software on the Spaceborne Computer.

The homecoming

With the Spaceborne Computer safely en route back to HPE, the company is ready to dissect the results. It will undergo a rigorous product failure analysis: four copies of each part that failed in space will be sent for inspection in a double-blind study – two copies that were in space and two copies from control systems kept on Earth.

The inspectors will be asked to determine whether each component still works and to use visual inspection and spectroscopy to ascertain its age. This process will help HPE and NASA diagnose what caused each component to fail and how long it would be able to survive on, for instance, a mission to Mars.

The future

The Spaceborne “1” Computer installed in the International Space Station

“There were so many people saying that this wouldn’t work that we put in as much redundancy as we could,” said Dr. Fernandez. “So I have two identical systems flying … and that kind of limited what we could take up there. But now we’ve got the confidence that our hardening of software is working. We want to take a variety of computing systems up there next time.”

Fernandez is talking about Spaceborne 2. For Spaceborne 2, the team is hoping to bring along a series of different systems – one HPC-oriented, one aimed at machine learning and AI, and – possibly – additional hardware aimed at communications processing, which might make tasks like flying helicopters on Mars more manageable.

Spaceborne 2 will also seek to make the software hardening abilities of the supercomputer more intelligent using machine learning and AI. “We want it to keep track of and learn from the anomalies that it’s encountered,” said Fernandez. “Whether they bothered us or not, whether or not the action we took was helpful or not helpful, and then have it begin to take over what happens when we anticipate more anomalies.”

These new capabilities – and a better understanding of the durability of supercomputers in space – will put HPE and NASA a couple of steps closer toward supercomputers on the moon – and, eventually, Mars.

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Big news from Microsoft – let us fill you in.

October 3, 2019

In September 2019, Microsoft announced to its Volume Licensing customers that they will be making changes to their Software Assurance program in an effort to modernize the benefits to align with customer’s needs and their new product and technology offerings.

What exactly does this mean to customers, especially those who currently have products covered with SA? Three of your benefits are being changed or retired in favour of other more modern, cloud friendly programs:

DEPLOYMENT PLANNING SERVICES are going to be retired in phases over the next 2 years in favour of FastTrack program which helps customers deploy Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365 workloads.

                Key dates:

  • February 1, 2020 Microsoft will be removing Cloud services from the DPS catalog. After this date, customers will be directed to use FastTrack programs – more details about FastTrack are here
  • Also on February 1, 2020 customers will no longer be able to convert training vouchers to Planning Services Days. If you’d like to do this (using the 3:1 ratio as in the past) please do so in the VLSC portal prior to this date.
  • February 1, 2021 customers will no longer accrue DPS days and will be the last day for new/renewing contracts to create DPS vouchers
  • June 30, 2021 is the last day to create DPS vouchers for existing contracts. You have 180 days to use vouchers which means that January 1, 2022 will be the very last day to redeem.

TRAINING VOUCHERS will similarly be retired over the same period as Microsoft introduces Modern Skilling Programs. More training will be available online at Microsoft Learn as well as their continued commitment to instructor led training through new certifications and role-based courses.

                Key dates:

  • February 1, 2020 all Azure relating training will be retired from SATV catalog and training days can no longer be converted to DPS, as mentioned above
  • February 1, 2021 customers will no longer accrue training days and will be the last day for new/renewing contracts to create training vouchers
  • June 30, 2021 is the last day to create training vouchers for existing contracts. You have 180 days to use vouchers which means that January 1, 2022 will be the very last day to redeem.

24x7 PROBLEM RESOLUTION SUPPORT eligibility is being adjusted as well as changes being made to support incident allocations. Customers are no longer going to earn a limited number of support incidents based on spend, agreement type, and products.  Instead, customers will receive basic support with an SA spend of $250,000 USD or more annually. Basic support is defined as business hours support with a 24-hour response time goal.

Instead of converting unused support incidents, customers will receive a credit to account for the price paid for SA support. This credit will only be available to customers who move or renew on Microsoft Unified Support.

Key dates:

  • As of February 1, 2020 customers will want to begin the final conversion of incidents toward Premier or Unified Support. You will have one more time to do this, until February 1, 2021.
  • February 1, 2021 24x7 Problem Resolution Support days will no longer be accrued.
  • Also on February 1, 2021 the new support model will be launched to provide as needed incident support to customers who have $250k USD or more annually in SA spend. The credit for Unified Support customers will be put into place at this time as well.

Make sure you make the best use of your DPS and Training days by reaching out to your

Long View Account Manager and/or Licensing Specialist.

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Making all the right moves. Long View wins Microsoft Canada Partner of the Year 2019!

June 10, 2019

Making all the right moves. Long View wins Microsoft Canada Partner of the Year 2019!

by Suzanne Gagliese on 7 June 2019 Vice President OCP, Microsoft Canada This time of the year is always exciting at Microsoft, as we get ready to gather in Vegas at Microsoft Inspire, to celebrate all of our amazing partner community achievements at Canada’s own IMPACT Awards celebration.   The best part of the award season for us is catching up on all the amazing stories of what partners do. And this year has been no different. We received over 2,900 nominations from across 115 countries for the global partner of the year awards. Finalists and winners were selected based on their commitment to customers, market impact, and exemplary use of Microsoft technologies.   Mind you, it’s no easy feat selecting winners! Every day, across Canada and the world, Microsoft partners make a dramatic impact on their customers’ businesses in transformative and vital ways.   Partners help shape their customer’s business strategy, providing the technical vision to enable them to transform and achieve their business goals and objectives. Our partners help customers to leverage Microsoft’s technology, including powerful platforms, like Dynamics 365, and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence.   Some of our partners use Azure and Microsoft development technologies to become independent software vendors (ISVs). They build and market their own intellectual property, with great success, to empower our customers to transform!   In short, the partner opportunity has never been bigger, richer, or more exciting. And Microsoft is as committed as ever to empowering every partner to “reach for the stars” and realize the full potential of their business, just as Long View Systems has.   In the past 20 years, Long View has built an international reputation for innovation and its progressive business culture, emerging as one of North America’s biggest and best IT powerhouses. In the last year, Long View’s sales in Microsoft technology and services represented a staggering CAD $268 million. They earned Canada Partner of the Year 2018 and, now, officially Canada Partner of the Year 2019! Read more here   The Partner of the Year award is the top partner prize celebrated every year at Microsoft Inspire! Highly prestigious, the Country Partner of the Year award, recognizes the best technology powerhouses worldwide, as examples of excellence for every partner. So, what’s Long View doing that’s making such a difference? And what can other technology companies learn from them?   Read last year’s blog post about Long View: “Taking the Long View -The forward-thinking IT company and Canada Partner of the Year reflect on their 20-year journey to the top”   Why Long View? Last year, we explained how Long View’s success has everything to do with their approach to their employees. The company goes out of its way to invest in its 1,200 employees. In return, Long View’s employees dedicate themselves to wowing customers with clever solutions and flexible services. Long View’s leadership team implemented a strategy for their sales and pre-sales resources to adopt a new way of thinking “Challenger Sales Training” initiative which included a combined with M365 and Azure product training  to increase the value delivered to clients. They also embarked on a very aggressive “Project 148”, which trained over 193 technical consultants on Azure Technical content. At the same time, Long View made the bold decision to go all in with “TEAMS” to walk the walk and talk the talk. What follows are just some couple of examples of the many transformational solutions Long View has implemented this past year, empowering their customers to do more!!   Zero-to-cloud for private equity firm One of Canada’s largest midmarket private equity firms with billions in assets needed to make some technology magic happen. Recently divested from its parent company, the new company needed a technology solution for its 100+ employees. Faced with investing in costly on-premises infrastructure (and the employees to manage it all), the firm called on Long View for assistance. One of Canada’s largest middle-market private equity firm with over $3 billion of assets under management, was under extreme time pressure to fully deploy a modern productivity solution for their employees.  “In just three months, Long View implemented a flawless Modern Workplace solution including Microsoft 365 & Voice. They are fully deployed on Azure and are using Power BI for their executive dashboards.  This has allowed them to scale quickly, make verifiable decisions using critical field data to meet their aggressive growth expectations. In short, Long View provided a robust, secure, and compliant IT solution, in record time, with the Microsoft Cloud. “As a result of our work with Long View, we’ve managed to setup our entire collaboration and productivity suite in just three months – and it’s running flawlessly.” – IT Director, national private equity firm. Transforming an organic food leader One of North America’s largest certified organic breakfast and snack food companies operates three manufacturing facilities on the west coast of Canada and the US and have plans to open a fourth facility in Vancouver. However, like many fast-growing companies, this food company outgrew its legacy IT and the on-premises infrastructure running it. They called Long View, who, in just eight months, migrated the company to Office 365 and Power BI and moved their ERP, IFS, and manufacturing workloads to Azure. These modernization efforts helped their client dramatically reduce their energy use and avoid a million dollars in infrastructure costs—all while greatly improving the manufacturer’s business resiliency. “As we’ve grown, Long View kept us future-focused by moving our IT infrastructure to the cloud, reducing our energy consumption by 27% and increasing our productivity by 20%.” – CFO, organic food company. Where-to-vote in the Province A Canadian province needed a new application to ensure its constituents could find the closest and most convenient polling location for the upcoming elections. They wanted to ensure maximum voter turnout by providing constituents with instant access at all voting station locations. They also needed greater resiliency and a pay-as-you-go solution, as they only required a solution for four months every few years. Long View developed a “Where to vote” application service, delivering high-availability access to the cloud and lightning fast response times. 99% of requests where served in less than 100ms and over half a million people hit the app in the last few hours before the polls closed. Thanks to Long View and Microsoft, the polling locator application remained 100% available leading up to and including the provincial election. Taking the “Long View” Long View’s unrivaled business performance, track record of innovation, and consistent commitment to delivering client value—all without compromising their corporate vision or values—makes them an example for partners in Canada and worldwide. I encourage every partner to get to know—and to get inspired by—Long View’s story. “We love where Microsoft is headed—all cloud, all mobile and globally secure with scale. We’ve built our five managed services offers on the foundation of Microsoft technologies and roadmaps” – Brent Allison, CEO, Long View On behalf of everyone at Microsoft, our sincere congratulations to Long View for its many successes. We can’t wait to see what this two-year Country Partner of the Year accomplishes next! Team Long View accepting the 2018 Country Partner of the Year Award. Sean Culbert, Sarah Morreau, Brent Allison and Rod Morreau.
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Taking The Long View: Microsoft Consultant Karen Tomenchuk Tells Us What Makes a Microsoft Partner of the Year

May 1, 2019

Long View’s mission is to create a space where our team can have healthy lives and prosperous careers. For us, it all comes back to our people. We couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishment of winning Microsoft Partner of the Year for 2019. In that spirit, we wanted to talk to some of our great Microsoft consultants to get their unique perspectives on what winning Partner of the Year means to them, and why they’ve chosen to focus on Microsoft solutions with Long View.

How long have you been at Long View? I have been at Long View for 12 years, beginning in a Service Desk role in 2007. How long have you been an MS specialist? I moved over to the Licensing Practice in 2010. At first, I was in an Inside Sales and Operational role, supporting our client facing Licensing Specialists, who I joined in 2016. What has made you continue working with Microsoft products for that time? Microsoft is one of the biggest and most strategic partners not only for Long View, but also our customers. Because the Microsoft product line up covers such a range of technologies, and the programs to acquire these products are constantly changing, I find being a resource with a deep knowledge of Microsoft licensing is always in demand and allows me to continuously grow and expand my skillset. What do you think will be the biggest focus for Microsoft technologies in the next few years? Since cloud and subscription products have become more prevalent in recent years, the licensing models have had to evolve as well. I believe we will see a continued focus on modernizing the licensing vehicles and platforms available to customers to better fit the cloud first focus. Of course with these changes come added complexities, especially as I see more customers requiring hybrid licensing solutions to best leverage the range of offerings to suit their business requirements while optimizing their software investments. Winning Partner of the Year was a huge accomplishment that is thanks to the hard work of our team, like you. What would you say was your contribution to PotY? I was one of the first P-CEs (or Partner Commercial Executives) worldwide, back when the program was launched by Microsoft 3 years ago. This was part of the original Canadian pilot group, when there were only 10 Licensing P-sellers across the country. We now have three licensing P-Sellers within Long View, and our expertise in licensing programs and on-line solution offerings allows the Microsoft salesforce to scale. We are also able to empower our licensing experts with the latest knowledge and updates, made available to us through these additional P-Seller resource channels. Where do we go from PotY? Obviously we’d like a repeat! To get there, I see Long View continuing to grow the team that made us successful. We have a wealth of technical resources of course, but even within our Licensing Practice we have so many talented people, from the P-CEs and Licensing Specialists, to our Software Asset Management & Optimization Experts. Growing our Microsoft revenue from $45,000,000 in 2014 to well over $200,000,000 in our FY2019 has allowed us to bring on some extremely talented and specialized resources to provide additional value to our customers. I only see it continuing to grow over the next few years as we add on more resources. Do you have a favourite project or an accomplishment that you’re most proud of? The relaunch of our Cloud Solution Provider with CSP Essentials year was a huge success for Long View. CSP is a big focus for Microsoft right now, and this solution really showcases our strengths as an organization, from our Licensing team as well as our Site Managers, Global Service Desk, OneCloud team, and Digital Architects. It’s truly a team effort and it’s been exciting to see it all come together.
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IPsoft Partner Spotlight: James Bell, Long View Systems

April 26, 2019
The third annual Digital Workforce Summit (DWS) will take place on Wednesday, May 8 in New York City. DWS is the premier gathering place for discussions related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the enterprise. The event will feature top executives and thought leaders from around the world who will detail the successes, challenges and revelations they’ve encountered during their AI implementations. One of the keynote presenters will be James Bell, General Manager, Integrated Global Services at Long View Systems, the Calgary-based IT services and solutions company. Long View has partnered with IPsoft to transform their customers’ operations through our intelligent solutions. As a preview to DWS, we caught up with James to discuss how these ascendant technologies will remake their operations and the impact beyond the business world.

What specific AI technologies that you think will be particularly impactful in the next five years?

Conversational AI is something I believe will continue to accelerate as people embrace automation in their everyday lives. I also see the lines between “personal devices” and “corporate assets” becoming increasingly blurred — when home automation assistants can interact with corporate assets, conversational AI will take on a different slant. Autonomics has to continue to grow and develop. As companies spread workloads across multiple platforms (external providers, private cloud, public cloud, etc.), demand for AI-based, real-time decisions provided by autonomics will only increase. There are several complexities created by having information spread across multiple platforms versus a OneCloud-type strategy. The amount of data available to us continues to grow at a staggering pace and humans must rely on AI to help make data-driven decisions.

Are there AI technologies that your clients are particularly excited about (rightly or wrongly)?

Through our current ITSM PaaS, our clients are now beginning to see the value of resolving issues via virtual agents. It’s a very exciting time for us to watch clients and employees embrace this path with us. The combination of AI and virtual agents is something all clients are interested in — but also somewhat skeptical of. I think there are several bot experiences that have skewed clients’ perceptions of how effective AI can be. There’s a lot of education to be done in this space. But again, we come back to the question of how will companies be able to make reliable data driven decisions in real time or in a predictive operational mode with only human eyes?

Describe your Vision 2020 initiative.

Vision 2020 is a four-phase tools-and-automation roadmap. Core to Vision 2020 is creating a culture of automation empowering our people to innovate and provide our clients with an amazing experience. Our goal is to be the most-loved IT company by 2025. The first phase of Vision 2020 is the introduction of automation. Long View has entered into a partnership with IPsoft to utilize IPcenter in this effort. The key objective of the first phase of Vision 2020 is to reduce the number of manual low-value tier-1 and -2 tasks that are highly repeatable and repetitive. This will free up our people to focus on higher-level, more interesting work while increasing the quality of service delivered to our clients. Phase two will focus on cognitive agents, phase three will center on application performance, and phase four will be all about predictive analytics and advanced machine learning.

What human skills do you think will be emphasized in the era of AI? Conversely, which skills will become less important?

Basic technical “specialists” will become less and less relevant in our business. More advanced skills will also start to be replaced by “T-shaped” roles as our reliance on SMEs in certain areas gives way to AI. People who can architect, design, create and implement new automations will become much more relevant as human roles evolve and more data-driven decisions are needed. These people will have stronger business acumen as the results we seek are not simply a “technical outcome.”

Are there any aspects of AI that you feel are overlooked and you would advise businesses to pay more attention to?

Businesses who simply focus on the technology are likely not paying enough attention to people impacts. How do you bring your people along on this journey with you and empower them? How will you govern AI decision making? It’s critical to success in this space and critical to retaining your top talent in a competitive landscape.

What would your advice be for a young adult entering a rapidly transforming workforce?

I’d advise them to be aware of all the business skills that won’t change: the need for people to be self-aware, critical thinkers and strong communicators. There are so many platforms that widen the gaps in direct human contact (social media is the best example) that young adults have lost the experience of working together to solve problems. Furthermore, if you are not someone who embraces change, sees problems as opportunities, and understands how the technology in your life should enhance your capabilities and the results you seek, you are likely to get left behind in the new age.  
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Taking The Long View: Microsoft Consultant Ravi Yadav Tells Us What Makes a Microsoft Partner of the Year

April 3, 2019

Long View's mission is to create a space where our team can have healthy lives and prosperous careers. For us, it all comes back to our people. We couldn't be more proud of the accomplishment of winning Microsoft Partner of the Year for 2019. In that spirit, we wanted to talk to some of our great Microsoft consultants to get their unique perspectives on what winning Partner of the Year means to them, and why they've chosen to focus on Microsoft solutions with Long View.

  How long have you been at Long View? 2 years this summer!   How long have you been an MS specialist? Since the inception of my career in roughly 2006 working with Active Directory, and it’s progressed to working with Azure over that 12-13 years.   What has made you want to stay focused on Microsoft for that time? I started with something that seemed normal and natural to me, and now there’s a level of comfort, but passion as well. I’ve always enjoyed what Microsoft has been doing, it’s exciting space. They’re industry leading, not playing catch up so it’s always exciting.   Winning Partner of the Year was a huge accomplishment that is thanks to the hard work of our team, like you. What would you say was your contribution to Partner of the Year? There’s been a lot of engagements over the last year that the team has really taken the lead on. For myself, some of the Azure services we’re offering today, I worked with the account teams to get those innovative offerings to market.   Where do we go from Partner of the Year? For example, right now we’re doing some very cutting edge work with a large financial institution. It’s new work for our Toronto branch, and it’s really extended our engagement there, and brought on new engagements there and potentially new opportunities with other financial institutions. Showing our dedication and effectiveness working with Microsoft is a big differentiator for us.   Do you have a favourite project or an accomplishment that you’re most proud of? Microsoft reached out to us last year with regards to doing some Azure assessments. I took that initiative with our sales team, and as a result of our work there we’ve been able to build a template and extend that service to other clients and across other branches. This was something new to myself and Long View, and not only were we successful at the original concept, we can now repeat it across our other branches as well.
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Mirroring Success: Making Your IT Architecture Digital Ready

February 25, 2019
  According to IDC, “60%+ of global GDP will be digitized by 2022, with growth in every industry driven by digitally enhanced offerings, operations, and relationships and almost $7 trillion in IT-related spending in 2019–2022.” When you contemplate the enormity of these statistics, it is easy to get lost in, and perhaps even a bit overwhelmed with, the numbers which can make it difficult to ascertain what it means for you and your organization. It also probably doesn’t help when you hear industry experts stress the silver or lead mantra that either you are going to transform or be transformed by the digital revolution. Reading the IDC FutureScape document regarding the expansiveness of digital’s impact on the enterprise and beyond, where do you even begin? If you are asking yourself this question, you are not alone. A McKinsey survey of 1,600 incumbent companies around the globe reported that while there is universal acceptance that digital is the future, just 23 percent of those executives surveyed indicated that they have a digital reinvention strategy. In short, more than three-quarters of the executives surveyed are in a digital holding pattern despite the IDC $7 trillion IT-related spend forecast. This “disconnect” or barrier between thought and action takes on more significant meaning when you consider IDC’s prediction that “by 2023, 75% of All IT Spending Will Be on 3rd Platform Technologies, as Over 90% of All Enterprises Build ‘Digital Native’ IT Environments to Thrive in the Digital Economy.” Seeing The “Real” Bigger Picture One of the things that stood out to me regarding the IDC prediction, okay two things, although they are related, was the report’s comments regarding the digital impact on business and IT. Specifically: •          "Digital thinking" must be an integral part of every business leader's skill set — not delegated to the organization's IT leadership. •          Digitization is not “confined” to just one part of the enterprise (like customer-facing functions, or online commerce organizations); it is transforming major aspects of enterprises' offerings, operations, and relationships. With such a pervasive business impact, isolated oversight by a single executive (e.g., a chief digital officer) is unsustainable. A Gartner report indicating that CMOs spending more money than CIOs on technology is a “premise that is set to come true,” is noteworthy within the context of the above IDC statements. The reason; it confirms the breadth of digital’s impact on an organization internally as well as externally. In the context of the above, and in his November blog post, Digital Transformation is Changing Everything. Are You Changing with It? Equinix’s Senior Director of Global Solution Marketing Steve Madden asks the following question: is an inability to effectively interconnect and interact with partners and customers hurting your ability to “collaborate in real-time and gain access to the people, data, and services you require to succeed as a digital business?” He also goes on to ask: “is your company’s IT infrastructure evolving in ways that enable you to realize the greatest value from these vibrant ecosystems?” Specifically the emergence of blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), transportation, and cybersecurity as part of the established industry ecosystems that include the internet, web, electronic trading, and content and digital media (CDM). Mirroring Your Journey And Success As you reflect on the collaborative aspects of Steve’s first question, and in response to his second question, I want to briefly talk about how by mirroring your journey, starting with understanding the unique infrastructure requirements of your business, Equinix and our partners can help your organization plan its IT infrastructure’s digital transformation by providing a map and maturity model based on our “four use cases”: •          Network Optimization to shorten the distance between users and services applications; •          Hybrid Multicloud to connect and segment traffic between multiple clouds and private infrastructure; •          Distributed Security to deploy and interconnect security controls at points of digital engagement, either inside or outside your on-premises perimeter, and •          Distributed Data to deploy and interconnect data analytics in proximity to users. Equinix will be at Activate Digital 2019, and I would like to invite you to meet with our team to talk about how through providing a mirror for your unique journey we can help you not only transform your IT infrastructure but with it your business. Use the following link to reserve your space today!
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With Digital Transformation, It Is Better To Go Smart Than Go Big.

February 22, 2019
Digital is everywhere! You can’t go through a single day without the digital evolution touching your life in some capacity. Whether you are working remotely on “the edge” via your handheld device, analyzing data at your desk or buying a product or service from the comfort of home you are having a “digital moment.” The ubiquitous reach of digital is likely one of the reasons why according to Gartner CMOs will spend more money than CIOs on technology. However, and while marketing assumes greater responsibility for managing digital initiatives regarding external customer interactions or touchpoints, these same touchpoints must also be managed within the enterprise as well with employees. All this to say is that digital transformation cuts a broad and significant swath across the enterprise both internally and externally, and determining on which area to focus first is a matter of strategic importance. Going Smart Not Big In his seminal book Good To Great, Jim Collins talked about the fact that when it comes to transforming your organization, there is no big bang or “single event.” Transformation according to Collins is a cumulative process of smaller events. In this context, his Flywheel analogy resonates because success in the digital age is not achieved via an overarching, one-time undertaking, but has a result of a successive series of progressively smaller, strategic initiatives. In other words, the companies that are most successful with digital transformation take on smaller more strategic projects through which they build a progressive transformation strategy that has the necessary agility to respond to diverse, often changing needs and new technological advancements. With this deliberate approach organizations gain increasing traction leading to increased buy-in that in turn will drive the success of future initiatives, hence the Flywheel. Conversely, when an organization adopts a “big bang” approach in which there is an attempt to satisfy an over-arching digital mandate, they lose the ability to gain traction from building off of a series of smaller, incremental wins. As a result, initiatives either stall or revert to the way things were done in the past as demonstrated by the number of companies who after making a move to the cloud repatriated their data back to their traditional IT infrastructure.  Check out this article from November 2018 which references an IDC report on repatriation. A Hybrid Approach The perception that digital and cloud are synonymous is misleading and is, in my opinion, a contributing factor regarding the inclination that some organizations have towards swallowing big digital projects as opposed to building incremental strategic wins. In situations such as these, it is important to recognize that the cloud is not the end point, but is a key component of a hybrid strategy that delivers seamless connectivity between different platforms that provide the agility to meet real-world needs with minimal infrastructure redirection. Think of it in the context of it being easier to turn a smaller fast boat than it is to turn a big cruise ship. Which one of the two is the most nimble and able to respond to a changing sea? This last point is particularly important because I believe that while you can’t plan for change, you have to be prepared for change, and said preparation means having the agility to respond quickly and reliably in a fast-paced digital world. Join my team and me at Activate Digital 2019 as we will be sharing in greater detail Nutanix’s hyper-converged infrastructure approach to digitally transforming your organization. Use the following link to reserve your space today!
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A Simple Idea: How The World’s Largest Caterpillar Dealer Digitally Reinvented Itself

February 19, 2019
  In 2015 Finning, a company that for more than 80 years had delivered unrivaled heavy equipment sales and service to its customers and in the process grew to be the world’s largest Caterpillar dealer came to an important realization; we need to disrupt ourselves before someone else beats us to the punch. This revelation was complicated by being conceived during a time when the company was looking for efficiencies due to falling commodities prices. Beyond wanting to become more cost-effective, Finning was actively looking for ways to introduce new digital solutions to connect machines, people and sites to transform our customers’ performance, elevate its digital presence and better leverage its global scale and expertise. In short, to better serve existing customers while reaching new ones, Finning needed to rethink the way the company did business, globalize, and accelerate our growth - digital reinvention was the answer. More Than A Technology Play Often we equate digital transformation with a technological evolution only, but it is far more than the introduction of new and exciting technology. Digital reinvention requires internal change management, as well as increased customer engagement and involvement. It is not just about transforming a company but the industry as a whole, taking the way you think about and do business to the edge of the cloud and beyond. For Finning, to go beyond the cloud meant we needed to “digitize the dealership.” Specifically, connecting to our customers’ machinery to move from data - to insights – to actions that would translate to maximized customer convenience, lower costs, and free up internal team members to focus their energies on higher value activities. A great example where we saw early returns was providing our customers with advanced digital solutions for tracking important operating intelligence including measuring the idle time of equipment as well as predictive maintenance through fleet management services, including condition monitoring. By monitoring equipment health, Finning helps its customers not only save on fuel costs but also reduce wear and tear on their equipment. Through fleet management services, we help our customers to predict breakdowns before they happen so that they can take pre-emptive cost-saving measures that reduce equipment downtime. These productivity solutions, as well as other digital services that empower critical areas of our customer’s businesses, give Finning a distinct competitive advantage – customers choose our premium products and services as we show higher value and show up as an integral partner in their overall success.   Turning Inward Digitally Finning’s digital transformation is a continual evolution, as we see the incremental value of growing beyond a transactional company to becoming a fully-integrated service company – something we believe is the key to sustaining and building on the success we experienced over the past eight decades. At its core, Finning’s digital transformation is about moving up the value chain to becoming more than an equipment provider, but a partner in the truest sense of the word to our customers which will ultimately drive Finning’s success forward. Long View Perspective By hearing about the success that Finning customers have had with Long View, we hope you will be inspired to envisioning the path your organization can take to embrace your own digital transformation. While there are common or shared elements regarding each client’s digital strategy, there are also individual aspects of their journey that are unique and are worth noting. Finning was able to create a new revenue stream through the establishment of a Finning digital organization that had a separate P&L and revenue targets, not an easy feat, but if done well, worth doing as there are great returns. David Bibby will be on the main stage at Activate Digital 2019 on February 28th in Mississauga to share insights into the unique elements of Finning’s digital success, including how over three years the company transformed itself to where it is today, and talk about where they are heading tomorrow as well as the important lessons they learned along the way.  As seating is limited, I would encourage you to register today. – Dave Frederickson, Executive Vice President at Long View Systems
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To Succeed In The Digital Age, You Need To Work At The Edge

February 15, 2019
In 2010, the IoT device ratio to person globally was 1.84. By 2020 it will be up to 10 web-connected devices per every person. In short, and in the digital age, people have moved beyond the cloud to the edge. What do I mean when I talk about moving beyond the cloud and being at the edge? Simply, it means using data at the point of capture as opposed to pushing it through to the cloud – which is what most IoT devices are doing today using virtually no on-device capabilities. Data Beyond The Cloud Digital transformation and the cloud – be it a public or private cloud or for that matter even on the ground, are synonymous one with the other. Unfortunately, this ubiquity in perception can itself become an obstacle to digital transformation. Besides concerns regarding data security, cloud infrastructure costs, and wastefulness tied to bandwidth limitations and the absence of measurable returns – which has in certain instances led to the repatriation of workloads from the cloud to on-premise platforms; the fact is that moving from the cloud to work on the edge is where you need to be. Specifically, leveraging the data at the collection point at the IoT device level provides your organization with real-time agility to advance the business by being able to respond to important insights and events where and when they happen. Or to put it another way, processing, analyzing and realizing occurs best at the point of data capture versus automatically and arbitrarily pushing data back to the cloud. A Holistic Digital Strategy As you read the above, I want to be clear that I am not suggesting wholesale cloud abdication. What I am saying is that we need to take a more holistic approach to develop a digital transformation strategy basing the infrastructure on the following: 1.     Effectively leveraging the cloud where it is most beneficial from the standpoint of cost, security management, and timely accessibility based on situational capacity and requirements; 2.     Optimization of the opportunities that point of capture or IoT devices provide, i.e., collect and reapply data intelligence at the edge; 3.     Creating a digital foundation from the edge to the cloud versus from the cloud to the edge. According to IDC’s Global IoT Decision-Maker Survey, 43% of IoT decision makers want to build on edge computing. Given the proliferation of IoT devices, and the fact that the forecasts predict that by the end of 2022 the global edge computing market will be worth US $13.3 billion, isn’t it time that you start to develop your strategy to work more on “the edge?” Join my team and me at Activate Digital 2019 to gain additional insight into the benefits of working beyond the cloud at the edge and how it will enable you to achieve your business objectives faster and on a more cost-effective basis. As space is limited, use the following link to reserve your spot today.
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