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New technologies and adoption trends that influence IT strategy, and the issues and opportunities they represent.

Canadian Thought Leaders Share Insights to Prepare for Digital Disruption

On February 27, more than 120 companies gathered at Activate Digital 2018 in the heart of Ontario’s technology innovation corridor. We were presented with material that explains how digital transformation will fundamentally change our businesses. The conference also allowed us to interact with Canada’s leading IT thought leaders. The event was hosted by Long View Systems and included 15 technology partners.

The technology corridor between Toronto and Waterloo is home to 15,000 tech companies, including over 2,600 start-ups. The underlying narrative of the conference encouraged businesses to seize the digital opportunities at hand or be left behind. To do so, companies must embrace digital transformation and seek partners to help reduce the time to achieve results.

John Dathan, General Manager of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Canada, believes that every company’s technology infrastructure will evolve to a hybrid mix of private and public cloud solutions with powerful compute at the edge providing intelligent services. The “edge” according to John is where companies interact with their customers and employees. As a result, compute will be everywhere, connected, and everything will be understood.

Netapp’s General Manager for Canada, Jon Mellon, explained that 20% of all revenue generated by today’s businesses is at risk of being disrupted. He added that companies that don’t make a decision (to capitalize on digital disruption), are indeed making a decision. Robin Bell, CTO of Long View Systems, further cited the need for businesses to get ahead of disruptive technologies. By 2020 2.3M high tech jobs will be created, while eliminating 1.8M jobs where repetitive work is required.

The results of digital transformation often speak for themselves. Businesses that effectively use data, outperform their peers by a wide margin. Top performing data driven companies realize the following benefits:

  • Become 6x more operationally efficient
  • Acquire 3x new customers
  • Add 2x top line growth

Rola Dagher, President of CISCO Canada, described the fundamental changes happening within the business landscape. Today, a Fortune 500 company lasts an average of 15 years, while 50 years ago, the average was 75 years. The pace of change continues to increase. Rola explained that the amount of data captured in 2017 was greater than the previous 5,000 years combined and only 0.5% of that data was being analyzed. “Data is the fuel of human progress and analytics is the engine”, she added.

The need for transformation was further supported by Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada. Kevin explained that 80% of leaders believe that their business will be disrupted. This is supported by McKinsey’s study on the future of work, which suggests that 50% of global activities are automatable by adapting current technologies. Kevin added that 1M jobs in Ontario will disappear, but worldwide, there will be 30M to 50M new tech jobs created.

At the end of the day, there was general consensus that “the time is now!” for digital transformation, but where does a company begin?

Robin Bell provided some guidance for the audience by explaining Long View’s position on the most disruptive technologies in 2018. According to Robin, companies should consider investing in the following solutions:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Intelligent applications
  • Virtual augmented/mixed reality
  • Adaptive security
  • Blockchain/distributed ledger

Kevin Peesker summarized the key takeaways for IT executives to make digital transformation real within their organizations:

  • Secure buy-in from the top of the company
  • CEO/CIO relationship is critical
  • Culture is key
  • Leverage vendors/partners

Outcomes of the conference closely mirror our conversations with CIOs across Canada. In particular, businesses are keen to monetize their digital investments and leverage the promise of AI. We look forward to ongoing discussions as CIOs implement their digital strategies.

Jeff Ishii is the Chief Technologist at the IT Media Group. He possesses a wealth of experience in management consulting, professional services and IT operations delivery for Fortune 500 companies. Jeff has been at the forefront of technology for the last 30 years by implementing creative solutions that have produced sustained business value.


Past Attendees

ADP - VP Architecture & Infrastructure

AESO - VP, Information Technology

Agnico Eagle Mines - VP, IT

Agrium - Global Mgr., IT Security

Agrium - Senior Director IT Shared Services

Aimia - SVP & Global CIO

Ainsworth Engineered - Director IT

Air Canada Vacations - Director IT

Alberta Energy Regulator - Director, Office of the CIO

Anthem Properties - VP IS

AON Risk Solutions Canada - Head of IT

Aviva Canada - VP, Architecture & Strategy

Bank of America Merrill Lynch - CTO

BC Ferry Services - VP & CIO

Bellatrix Exploration - Director, Information Technology

Bentall Kennedy - VP IT

Black Press - CTO

BlackBerry - VP Corporate IT

BMO Financial Group - Head of Services Delivery

Bombardier Aerospace - CISO

Bonavista Petroleum - Head of IT

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Global CIO

Bow Valley College - Director, IT Services

Bridgewater Bank - Head of IT

BuildDirect - VP IT

Bulk Barn - Head, IT

Burnco - CIO

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec - VP, IT Planning, Architecture, Governance, Operations

Calfrac Well Services - Head of IT

Canada Mortgage and Housing - VP, Information & Technology

Canadian Depository for Securities - CIO

Canadian Direct Insurance - CTO

Canadian Payments Association - VP & CIO

Canucks Sports - Head of IT

Capgemini - Service Delivery Director


Cardel Homes - VP MIS

Cargojet - CIO

CCS Corp. - VP IT

Centerra Gold - Director IT & Comm

CIBC - Senior Director, Infrastructure Planning & Engineering

CIBC - SVP & CIO, Retail and Business Banking Technology

CIBC Mellon - AVP, Enterprise Architecture

CIBC Mellon - SVP & CIO

Cineplex Entertainment - CTO

City of Brampton - Senior Manager, IT Architecture & Planning

City of Richmond Hill - CIO

City of Toronto - Director of Strategic Planning & Architecture

CN Rail Service - Chief Information Security Officer

Coast Capital Savings - VP Technology

Concordia University - AVP & CIO

Crescent Point Energy - Head of IT

Dairy Farmers of Ontario - Head of IT and Administration

Dale Parizeau Morris Mackenzie - VP, IT

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP - Director, Information Technology

DealerTrack Canada - Director, Technology

Defence Construction Canada - Corporate Manager, IT

Deloitte - Director, Cyber Risk

Dentons - Canada CIO

Devon Energy - Director, Integrated Business Services

Direct Cash - VP IT & Security

Dynamic Tire Corp - CIO

D+H Partnership - VP, Head of Canadian Mortgage Technology

eHealth Ontario - VP, IT Systems & Services

Encana - Director, InfoSec

Enbridge Inc. - VP, Technology and Information Services

Enerflex - CIO

Enerplus - VP. IS


Essential Energy Services - Director, IT

Expedia Cruise Ship Centers - VP IS

FGL Sports - VP, Information Technology

Fix Auto Canada - COO & SVP - CIO

FT Services - CIO

FundServ - CIO

Genus Capital Management - CTO

Genworth Financial Inc. - VP IT

Golder Associates - CTO

Gran Tierra Energy - Director IT

Grant Thornton LLP - CIO

Greenwin Inc - VP, Information Technology

Groupe Dynamite - Director, IT

GSK Canada - IT Director

GTAA - Acting CIO

H&R Block Canada - VP IT

Hewitt Equipment Ltd. - VP & CIO

Hitachi - CTO, Americas

Home Trust Company - CIO

Home Trust Company - CTO

Home Trust Company - VP & CISO

Horizon North Logistics - CIO

IBM Canada - Associate Partner, Payments Industry

Indigo Books and Music - CIO

ivari - SVP & CIO

JP Morgan Chase Canada - Executive Director, Information Risk Management

Keyera Energy - Director, Information Technology

KnowledgeOne - CIO

LaFarge Canada - Director, IT

Landmark Cinemas Canada - VP, IT

LCBO - Director, Applications Systems


Leisureworld Senior Care Corp - VP IS

Lightstream Resources - Head, Information Services

London Drugs - GM IT

Loto-Quebec - Corporate Director, InfoSec

Magna International Inc - VP & Global Leader, IT (CIO)

March Networks - VP Professional Services & CIO

McCain Foods Limited - Manager InfoSec

McInnis Cement - Director of Information Technology

Medical Pharmacies Group - VP, Information Technology

MEG Energy - Manager, Information Technology Solutions & Services

MMM Group - CIO

Montreal Police Service - CIO

Morguard Investments - CIO

Moulding & Millwork - CIO

National Bank of Canada - Information Security Officer

National Capital Commission - Chief, IT infrastructure & Support Services

NHL Players' Association - Head, Security & Technology

Northbridge Financial Corp - CIO

OEC Group Canada - Vice President, Information Technology and Client solutions

Oildex - VP, Architecture & Infrastructure

Olympia Financial Group - CIO


Ontario Pension Board - CTO

Ontario Trillium Foundation - CIO

Osum Oil Sands Corp - Manager, IS

Ottawa Police Service - CIO

Pacific Western Transportation - CIO

Packers Plus - Global IT Director

Pason Systems - Manager, Digital Communications & Corporate IT

Patient News - CTO

Peel District School Board - CIO

Pengrowth Corp - Director IS

Penn West Exploration - Snr. Manager, IT Operations

Peterson Investment Group - Head of IT

PFB Corp. - CIO

Pizza Pizza - CIO & VP, IT

Precision Drilling - VP, IT

Precision Drilling - Director, IT Infrastructure & Security

PSP Investments - Snr. Director, Internal Audit & Business Infosec

Public Works and Government Services Canada - Director, IT Security Directorate

PwC - Managing Director, Real Estate Technology Advisory

Qantas - Global CIO

Queen's University - Director, Information Technology

RBC Royal Bank - Head of Application Security, Data Protection & Security Consulting

Regal Lifestyle Communities - CIO

Revera Inc. - CIO

Revera Inc. - Security Architect

Ricoh Canada - VP,IT

RioCan Property Services - VP IT

Rogers Communications - SVP, Customer Experience IT


Russel Metals - VP,IS

Scotiabank - Head, Systems Architecture & Platform Modernization

Scotiabank - VP - International Systems Technology

Scotiabank - Director, Architecture & Engineering

Sears Canada - Divisional VP, Information Technology Services

Secure Energy Services - GM, IT

Shaw Communications - VP, Technology Operations

Shaw Communications - Director, Risk Management

SMART Technologies - Director, IS Corporate Services

Smartcentres - Director IS, IT

Societe de Transport de Montreal - Division Head - Security and Compliance

Street Capital Financial - CIO

Sun Life Financial - AVP, Data & Business Intelligence Services

Sun Life Financial - VP Application Ops & Services

Suncor Energy Inc. - Director, Application Portfolio Optimization, I&PM, Business Services

Symcor - CTO, VP Technology Services

Talisman Energy - SVP IT & Business Services

TD Bank - Enterprise Architect

Teknion - SVP, CIO

TELUS - Chief Security Architect

Tervita Corporation - VP, Information Technology

The Hudsons Bay Company - VP Technology

The Hudson's Bay Company - SVP & CIO

The Source - VP, Information Technology

TMX Group - VP, CISO

Toromont Industries - VP & CIO

Toronto District School Board - Chief Technology Officer

Toronto Hospital for Sick Children - Director of Technology

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - Chief Enterprise Architect

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - CIO

Toyota Canada - National Manager, IS

Transamerica Life Canada - CIO

Trican Well Services Ltd. - Director, Business Information Systems

Tridel Corporation - CIO

Trillium Health Partners - IT Director, Applications & Clinical Informatics

UFA Cooperative - VP & CIO

University of Calgary - Executive Director, Development Services

University of Ottawa - CIO

University of Ottawa - Senior Director IT Services & Infrastructure

University of Waterloo - Director, Technology Entrepreneurship

Vancity - VP Technology & Solutions

Viterra - Director Enterprise Technology

World Health - Director IT

Wolseley Canada - CIO & COO

Yellow Pages Group - Director - Enterprise Data Management

York Region District School Board - CIO

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