More Than A Hammer: In The Digital Age, IT Stands For “Intelligent Transformation”
February 13, 2019
I remember someone telling me that “everything starts to look like a nail when you only have a hammer.” For those of us in the IT world, it would only be natural to consider these words in the context of a product. However, I saw the deeper meaning in that more than being a physical thing; what they were talking about, in reality, were the ideas and perceptions, and the way we approach solving customer problems. Specifically, the way that one normally defines a problem is directly related to the solution or solutions they have to offer. Hence, if you only have a hammer being the solution, then the customer’s problem is a nail. Seeing it any other way would mean that you can’t help that customer, so they better have a nail. In the digital age, this square peg in a round hole approach won’t cut it, not that it ever did. If you only have a hammer, you had better expand your tool chest rather than trying to confine a customer’s needs to your ability to deliver a predetermined solution. The Age Of The Multi-Vendor Environment While an organization can expand its tool chest organically – especially within the framework of its core competencies, building strategic multi-vendor partnerships provides a level of agility that creates for the end-user client a sure and streamlined pathway to digital transformation success. The multi-vendor IT Environment is happening due to the fragmentation of IT Applications and infrastructure stacks. In times of flux there become a large number of different voices advocating for their vision of how to solve problems. During this time, it’s very risky for enterprises and customers to make bets on the future of their business (or IT back-end). Even in light of the direct benefits of making a change (monetary, process, etc.) this fear and hesitation persist. To mitigate this risk on behalf of our customers, Lenovo has decided to partner with the best of breed infrastructure software vendors. In what Lenovo calls the “channel first model” we enable partners to collectively and collaboratively leverage their respective strengths to better align their capabilities with the client’s real-world needs in both the immediate and ongoing future. Through this progression of aligning partner capabilities with client priorities, we are then able to better facilitate and deliver the right outcomes at the right time. IT (Information Technology) to IT (Intelligent Transformation) By looking beyond homogeneous technologies, to proactively engage as well as extend the market reach of our strategic vendor partnerships, we are in reality providing the end-user with a heterogeneous solution that is right for them. In a hyper-converged environment, this is especially important given factors such as constrained budgets, limited human resources and the need for a flexible infrastructure whether it be in an on-premise or off-premise cloud. In the end, moving beyond the hammer to provide a complete and adaptable set of tools to our clients is not only Intelligent Transformation, but it is also the right transformation approach for the digital age. Join my team and me at Activate Digital 2019 as we will be sharing in greater detail Lenovo’s vision and capability for enabling you to realize your digital transformation objectives. Use the following link to reserve your space today!
Read More >
The Three Pillars For Digital Transformation Success
February 8, 2019
“Whether you know it or not; did you know that you are on a digital transformation journey?” That was the opening sentence in an earlier Activate Digital 2019 article by Paolo Del Nibletto titled “Do you know if you are on a Digital Transformation Journey?” The view that everyone is on a digital transformation journey is one that I share even though a Mckinsey global study found that of the 1,600 executives they surveyed just 23 percent had a definable digital strategy for their organization. What this would seem to suggest is that the 77 percent who do not have a strategy are in a holding pattern. I believe that the only difference – and it is an important difference, between the two groups of executives, is that the former have socialized a tangible framework for transformation in which they have organization buy-in and clearly defined metrics so that they can quantify both their progress and success. With the 77 percent majority, even though they indicated that they did not have a strategy in place, in reality, they are still on a digital journey because they have likely upgraded their current infrastructure. The long and the short of it is that the 23 percent are proactively transforming their business model from the inside-out, while the 77 percent are “being transformed” from the outside-in. Or to put it another way, for the 77 percent digital transformation is something that is happening to them as opposed to something they are making happen for them. Given the above, the real question should not be; are you on a digital transformation journey. You are whether you know it or not. The question you need to be asking yourself, is “how do I make it happen for my organization?” The Three Pillars Have you ever tried sitting on a stool in which one of the legs is shorter than all of the others? What was your solution? You probably used a stop-gap measure such as placing a folded piece of cardboard under the shorter leg to make it even with the other legs. However, and as I am sure you already know, this is a temporary measure at best. While it may be alright to continue to make do with the stool you have and keep replacing the folded cardboard versus replacing either the leg or stool itself when it comes to digital transformation a similar approach isn’t a good idea. Providing a longer-term solution as opposed to a temporary fix is what the Citrix Three Pillar Approach is all about. What are the three pillars? We look at the digital transformation of every organization from the standpoint of; 1. End-user/IT experience, 2. Infrastructure security, and 3. Device choice and adaptability. When we talk about end-user experience, what I am referring to is the fact that digital transformation, is not about technology alone, it is about people. It is about empowering your people through the creation of a collaborative environment to leverage intuitive digital solutions that will help them to achieve their objectives quickly and easily. What about infrastructure security? A January 3rd, 2018 ZDNet article highlights cybersecurity has a “top risk area” for business leaders. Specifically, a report that confirms why for executives and board members cybersecurity is of greater concern than economic uncertainty and regulation. Advancing your digital transformation strategy cannot happen without addressing said concerns. Finally, when it comes to “device choice,” we are no longer simply referring to having a “Bring Your Own Device” or “BYOD” policy in place. What we are talking about is the progressive “consumerization” of the work environment that encompasses a panoply of devices from smartphones, to computers and any of a range of growing tools and applications which extends to include the flexibility for your organization to select whatever public or private cloud to consume. When you join me at Activate Digital 2019, I will with my team expand on each of these areas of the three pillars as well as share with you client successes and how you can move towards making digital happen for you and your organization. As space is limited, use the following link to reserve your spot today.
Read More >
The 3 Ws Of Digital Transformation Success
February 6, 2019
Without giving away my years, I can still remember the reference to the 3 Rs in elementary school; Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. By the way, I am not the only one who notices that only one of those words begins with the letter “R” am I? Of course, you may be asking yourself what do the basic education skills from yesteryear have to do with the digital age, and more specifically enterprise virtualization? To a point Everything! People Engineering In talking about the important role that VMware plays in “harnessing the capabilities of modern technology from the edge to the core, to the cloud,” which is critical for the transformation of your business, Dell referred to us as being the leader in virtualization. Specifically, referring to us as providing “the fabric necessary to enable automation, orchestration, and cloud connection” through which we serve as the bridge between “users and their data centre.” As someone who graduated University with an Honours in Computing and Information Systems, I both appreciate and wholeheartedly agree with the above assessment. That said, I also recognize that organizations cannot transform digitally if their people are not themselves transformed. Or to put it another way, we need to focus on people engineering versus technology engineering. People Transformation The concept of people engineering is not necessarily a new or radical concept. Perhaps a more familiar term is cultural transformation. But here is the thing, you cannot accomplish anything without first understanding the end-user landscape and what drives their motivations. There are no shortages of articles and studies that talk about the need to transform your people if you hope to transform your enterprise digitally. However, the one article that stands out the most for me is a November 28th, 2018 CIO magazine article titled “Digital transformation is about people, not technology.” While the article’s assertion that “Digital is about technology, but the transformation is about people and motivating teams to change their mindset” is in and of itself noteworthy, what makes it even more remarkable is the fact that these words appear in an information technology publication. Traditionally, the people who reside in an organization’s IT realm are not necessarily known for being “people oriented.” At least that has been the case in the past. Breaking through the traditional functional silos that are an obstacle to realizing the digital promise is what VMware does by creating new and improved avenues of communication and collaboration. It is the ability to seamlessly bring people together that is at the heart of the “automation, orchestration, and cloud connection” capability I talked about earlier. It is also where the 3 Ws come into play. 3 Ws So how do you transform your people? It starts with the 3 Ws being Workforce, Workplace, and Workspace. We have already talked about the importance of transforming the Workforce, now let’s focus on Workplace and Workspace. In another just published CIO article from January 18th, 2019 “Digital workplace strategy: 10 steps to greater agility, productivity,” Senior CIO writer Clint Boulton suggests that “your digital transformation is doomed unless you empower employees to succeed in the digital era,” and a big part of that empowerment according to Boulton is to “craft a workplace that boosts engagement and agility.” What this means according to Gartner is that your greatest source of competitive advantage will be your “workforce's ability to exploit digital technologies creatively.” To enable your people to do this you must boost engagement and agility through the “consumerization” of the work environment including “computers, mobile devices and productivity, and collaboration applications and, increasingly, chatbots, virtual assistant technology, personal analytics, and immersive workspaces.” Regarding the immersive Workspaces about which Gartner spoke, it means that you need to “create smart workspaces that enhance collaborative work activities and provide space for individual concentration.” In all of these areas, VMware can help you to develop a digital strategy that will transform your organization from both a technology and people standpoint. Join me at Activate Digital 2019 where you will gain additional insights into the 3 Ws for digital transformation success. Use the following link to reserve your spot today.
Read More >
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.
Read More >
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.
Read More >
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!
Read More >
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
Read More >
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.
Read More >
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
Read More >
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
Read More >