Transform Or BeTransformed: The New Digital Reality

February 16, 2018
Back in December, I wrote an article regarding the Microsoft Tech Summit in Toronto, and how “it is an exciting time to be in technology.” Over the 2-days and 80 amazing sessions, everyone gained insight into the tremendous promise and prosperity of the emerging digital era. Regardless of the industry or sector, you are in, or whether you are part of the government or a budding SMB entrepreneur, the same digital promise holds true across the board. Given the breadth of its impact which permeates into all areas of our everyday lives, it is no wonder that digital transformation is one of the hottest topics globally. A testimony to this fact is that the World Economic Forum predicts that the digital economy will be worth over $100 trillion by 2025. However, with the great promise, there is an even greater responsibility for business leaders to be champions of what a recent Harvard Business Review article called “digital reinvention.” According to a study cited by HBR, only a minority of companies have taken the necessary steps toward reinvention, meaning that in conjunction with restructuring their businesses they are also investing “more money than their peers into an aggressive digital strategy based on new platform business models.” Based on the HBR reported findings, this means that “most incumbent firms are failing to adjust to the digital era.” In this context, these businesses would be wise to recognize that digital reinvention is not a case of “if” but rather “when.” Or to put it more succinctly the time is now, and organizations will either transform or be “transformed.” So what does digital transformation look like in a practical sense? As part of his presentation, at the Toronto Tech Summit, Arpan Shah spoke with Param Singh, who is the Chief Operating Officer at Mojio. For those unfamiliar with the company, Mojio’s platform provides drivers with simple, snap-in access to the data generated by their car through the company’s app. The app enables you as a driver to plan and record trips, share driving information and better understand the health of your car. Mojio’s ultimate goal is to provide a turnkey aftermarket “connected” car solution for consumers via their business partners, e.g., Mobile operators, Auto OEMs, etc. While Mojio experienced tremendous success at an early stage, and at a furious pace, the resulting avalanche of incoming data through their app threatened to overwhelm the company’s existing platform within the year. In Mojio’s case, digital reinvention or transformation came through management’s proactive decision to launch a second-generation platform 50 percent faster than anticipated, while avoiding an additional $1 million in estimated development costs. The key point that I want to stress here is that digital transformation is not a one-time event, but reflects an attitude of perpetual curiosity, an openness to new ideas, and an unquenchable desire to achieve more. For Mojio, this mindset has seen the company grow from a bold start-up to becoming the cloud platform of choice for the deployment of secure, connected car apps and services. In fact, Mojio, who is currently live in 5 countries, is now connected to more than 5000 unique vehicle models, with 500,000 paying subscribers who have driven 5,000,0000+ miles making them the leading platform in the aftermarket for connected cars. Similar to the Microsoft Tech Summit in Toronto, which is what I referred to as being a “great coming together of innovative IT minds and creative solutions,” I am equally excited about sharing how your organization can make digital transformation real at Long View’s ACTIVATEDIGITAL 2018 Conference in Guelph on the 27th of February.
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When It Comes To Security In The Digital Age, You Have To Play The Man Not The Puck

February 14, 2018
Given the title of my article, it is obvious that I am a hockey fan. However, and based on my recent conversation with Richard Stiennon who is Chief Research Analyst at IT-Harvest, and author of the book Surviving Cyber War, you don’t have to be a fan of the sport to understand the hockey-security analogy. For those of you who may not know Richard, he is the holder of Gartner’s Thought Leadership award and was named “one of the 50 most powerful people in Networking” by Network World Magazine. While Richard does not follow hockey, he readily understood my comment about playing the man instead of the puck from the standpoint of managing threats as opposed to managing risk. In his years of experience in advising top US government organizations and corporations in the private sector, he said that the clients who are the most vulnerable are those who solely focus their attention on trying to determine what data they should be protecting as opposed to identifying “the actors” who will perpetrate an attack. In other words, you have to protect yourself against the “who” not just the “what.” With hockey, coaches teach players to play the man (the who) and not the puck (the what), because if they focus on the puck, the opposing player will almost always evade them and get a shot on net. 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. Specifically the people, the environment, and the technology. Once you have identified the external industry-specific actors who are likely to pose a threat and monitor their activity, you then have to build your security ecosystem, by asking the following three questions: 1.    Do you know what “normal” is in your environment from the standpoint of activity and access? 2.    Do you have control of your privileged access points? For example, the breach of an employee’s “personal” ID is not as bad as a breach involving a core system administrator’s ID. 3.    Do you know what’s connected, and more specifically do you know what’s running on your network – the advent of the BYOD employee is one thing that immediately comes to mind? When it comes down to it, security in the digital age is as much about having the right intelligence as it does having the right technology. Or to put it more succinctly, it is when we understand the source of the threat that we can protect against its risk. I will look forward to talking with you more about security in the digital age at our Long View ACTIVATEDIGITAL 2018 Conference on February 27th in Guelph.
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Hyper-convergence In The Digital Age

February 9, 2018
CIO’s need to deliver enabling capabilities that drive value and bottom-line outcomes. If I were, to sum up, what digital transformation means and why it is important this single statement tells the story. In a world where most vendors focus on technology and talk about whose memory and hard drives are bigger, Nutanix focuses on our clients achieving what I call a “cohesiveness” in diverse platform management. What this means is that attaining a high level of adaptable hyper-convergence in a multi-cloud, multi-architecture environment enables IT departments to deal with the inevitable changes in workload requirements quickly and for the most part seamlessly through a single point control management system. Of course, customers today are more sophisticated and have greater access to knowledge, meaning that they understand the diverse and sometimes fluid nature of the architectures through which data flows both within and outside of the enterprise, and how being able to manage it to drive competitive advantage and bottom-line results are the key to success. This understanding is perhaps one of the main reasons why we continue to onboard a record number of logos each quarter, with significant growth in our footprint with large enterprise accounts. It also speaks to the importance of Nutanix’s vendor alliances with organizations such as Dell EMC, Lenovo, and IBM, who have played and will continue to play an instrumental role in our Canadian success story. In the end, helping our clients to manage their diverse infrastructures to maximum efficiency is what we do best. The Nutanix team will be at Long View’s ACTIVATEDIGITAL 2018 Conference on February 27th in Guelph where we will have the opportunity to share with you in greater detail how you can harness the power of hyper-convergence in the digital age.  
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Business Transformation Before Digital Transformation

February 7, 2018
  I was recently asked to sum up in a single statement what Commvault’s approach was for transforming IT in the digital age. When viewed from a purely technical perspective, one might consider it a daunting if not an impossible task to compress what Commvault CEO Bob Hammer called the explosion of different types of applications, data, and IT infrastructures into a single and succinct thought. Let’s face it, given the panoply of technological advancements that are taxing the bandwidth of our ability to comprehend their full impact, harnessing the promises of the digital age through a technology-centric lens alone is like trying to catch the wind. Within this context, the merger of these elements into a single response is simply this; we must focus on business transformation before digital transformation. In other words, "digital transformation” and the technologies it entails is the “how” or the nuts and bolts, while “business transformation” is the "why" and is where you add the greatest value and build trust as a knowledge source for your client. In this regard, the process of engagement should start with two basic questions; what is it you want to accomplish and what is driving your need for change? It is through this conversational process in which you move beyond the digital hype that you will achieve an understanding of what is required to build a single, holistic data management strategy that is right for your organization. In an article, I wrote this past October titled the 5 Fundamentals to Control your Data & Derive Value from it, you will find the foundational principles for launching a holistic strategy that will enable you to gain insights and value from your data in disparate environments. Besides encouraging you to read this article, I would also invite you to join our Commvault team at Long View’s ACTIVATEDIGITAL 2018 Conference on February 27th in Guelph to talk about your businesses’ transformation in the digital age including the strategy that will work best for your organization.
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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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