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New & Notable

The latest news about The IT Media Group. What's happening in our world: new clients, new relationships and new initiatives.

CIOs share insights around gearing up for digital transformation

Data and applications are fundamentally changing business models and operational processes, while creating new customer experiences. As pivotal players in the critically important digital transformation of our businesses, CIOs must find ways to harness innovation and help their organizations find quicker and better ways to create, sell and deliver their products and services.

With this goal in mind, 17 IT executives from the Toronto area gathered on December 9 for another of The IT Media’s Group’s highly regarded Master Series Roundtables, this one entitled “CIO Essentials to Digital Transformation”. This very interactive discussion was moderated by Jeff Ishii, ITMG’s Chief Technologist, and sponsored by Salesforce, represented at the table by Chris Makkreel, Head of Solution Engineering.


Digital Transformation & Data Security National Briefing

Toronto – November 24, 2016 – More than a dozen private and public sector organizations attended a highly engaging security briefing while lunching on contemporary Canadian cuisine at Canoe restaurant. The event was sponsored by Hitachi Data Systems and Above Security to provide knowledge sharing and continuous education related to data protection and digital transformation.

Toronto was the sixth of eight stops in the cross-country briefing tour. Paul Lewis, Chief Technology Officer of Hitachi Canada, provided a roadmap of the customer journey to digital transformation, including strategies that organizations need to be aware of in order to transform successfully. Also presenting was Steve Croucher, Country Manager of Above Security. Steve described the value of a company’s data and the frameworks to consider when securing it.


John Comacchio, SVP and CIO of Teknion Joins The IT Media Group’s Advisory Board

Toronto – Nov 14, 2016 – We are pleased to announce the latest addition to our Advisory Board, John Comacchio , Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Teknion Corporation.

As SVP and CIO, John is responsible for providing enterprise-wide technology vision, leadership and management, and for the planning, development and implementation of information technology initiatives. He is a member of the Leadership Team and the Executive Committee at Teknion.

Prior to joining Teknion Corporation, John held senior leadership positions at KPMG Consulting Inc., US Interactive and Nissan Canada Inc.

John is a member of the IDC CIO Research Review Board, Masergy Customer Advisory Board, OKTA CIO Advisory Board, and the Institute of Corporate Directors.

John holds a Master of Business Administration, granted by the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario.


Toronto IT Execs Put IoT Under the Microscope

There’s a lot of talk about the Internet of Things (IoT) these days, but how are companies preparing for it, what are the IoT issues that concern them, and where are they when it comes to putting IoT data to work for the organization? These and several other important questions were discussed at the CIO Master Series Roundtable, IoT in a Customer-centric World, held September 22, 2016 in Toronto, and attended by 16 IT executives from a variety of public- and private-sector organizations in the Greater Toronto Area.

The private session was organized by leading Canadian IT events producer The IT Media Group and moderated by its VP Executive Programs, John Pickett. Sponsor for the roundtable was Salesforce, represented at the table by Chris Makkreel, Head of Solution Engineering.

The conversation delved into such areas as: security concerns related to IoT due to its Internet origins, the unregulated and often unknown intelligence built into many of these devices, and the lack of good security practices on the part of employees, especially millennials; the importance of vendors in moving towards a more mature IoT environment; the information-management challenges posed by the enormous amounts of data generated by IoT devices; and the need for organizations to be front and centre on IoT technologies if they are to remain competitive.


CIO Roundtables Explore The Internet of Things

A number of Canada's top IT executives will be meeting in Toronto and Vancouver this September to discuss how the Internet of Things (IoT) is fundamentally changing our world to one in which physical objects are becoming digital objects and "everything" is connected.

These events are a part of The IT Media Group's CIO Master Series Roundtables, one of the most successful programs for IT executives in Canada, bringing together scores of CIOs from across the country to engage in thoughtful private discussions around the top issues facing enterprise IT.

The sponsor for both roundtables is Salesforce.

The Toronto session is slated for September 22, 2016 and the Vancouver session is scheduled for September 29.  Both sessions will run from 8:00 to 10:30am and will include a full breakfast. Interested IT and security executives can enquire using the ITMG registration link or by contacting ITMG directly. CIO Master Series Roundtables are no-charge for qualified attendees.

In these roundtables we’ll discuss how the IoT is shaping the future of business and enterprise IT, and we’ll explore the requirements of an infrastructure to enable and support Internet of Things applications.


IT Execs Tame the Elements at Inaugural Hitachi Golf Classic

The winds howled and the storm clouds threatened but at the end of the day it was the golfers that prevailed at the first annual Hitachi Golf Classic, held last week at the spectacular Coppinwood Golf Club in Claremont, Ontario, designed by renowned course architect Tom Fazio.

Teeing it up were 112 IT executives, including hosts from Hitachi Data Systems Canada, Hitachi Ltd. Canada, Hitachi Consulting, Pentaho, OXya and representatives from several firms in Hitachi’s robust partner ecosystem, and a large number of clients and prospects from a wide variety of industries (e.g. financial services, communications, retail and manufacturing) and the public sector. Avnet, Benchmark, Brocade, ESI, HighVail, Intel, OnX and ThinkOn sponsored activities such as the BBQ lunch and halfway house. The event was organized by Apexx Global. 

In keeping with its standing as one of the Best Workplaces in Canada, Hitachi successfully orchestrated the work of a large supporting cast to ensure that the event went off without a hitch.


Toronto CIOs Explore Talent Issues

With aging legacy systems that need maintaining, disruptive technologies that require new skill sets, and a young workforce that values personal satisfaction over long-term security, the challenges have never been greater when it comes to keeping IT departments adequately stocked with skilled employees. To help meet these challenges, The IT Media Group hosted another of its highly popular CIO Master Series roundtables on April 28, 2016 in Toronto, this one entitled “Winning the IT Talent Wars”.

More than a dozen Toronto-area IT executives from a wide range of private- and public-sector organizations participated in the invitation-only session. John Pickett, IT Media Group VP Executive Programs, moderated the discussion, while Chris Makkreel, Head of Solution Engineering, represented event sponsor Salesforce.

The conversation covered such topics as finding and developing people with a blend of technical and soft skills, understanding employees and giving them feedback, the impact of managers on employees, the importance of training and mentoring, creating a culture in which it is okay to fail, the pros and cons of telecommuting, clarity and consistency in messaging, and the use of contract versus full-time employees.


The care and feeding of millennials was a topic that got an especially thorough airing. While lamenting the fact that it’s hard to keep millennials around – they don’t mind changing jobs – most roundtable participants agreed that they can be a great boon to the organization. They’re fearless and when you unleash them they can do some wonderful things. But they will resist if you try to mold them; you need to find ways to capitalize on their strengths.


Calgary CIOs Share Downturn Coping Strategies

Nowhere has Canada’s lagging economic performance had more of an impact on IT than in the oil patch, where the huge decline in oil prices has led to the slashing of technology budgets. On April 7, 2016, The IT Media Group travelled to Calgary to host the CIO Master Series roundtable “CIO Priorities to Survive and Thrive in Lean Times”, which explored the strategies Alberta IT leaders are taking to minimize the effects of this substantial cost-cutting.

Thirteen IT executives, most of them from the oil and gas sector, had a seat at the table for the highly interactive session. John Pickett, IT Media Group VP Executive Programs, moderated the discussion, while Chris Makkreel, Head of Solution Engineering, represented event sponsor Salesforce.

Participants discussed a variety of ways they are dealing with lean times, including improving the quality of information management, and using Business Intelligence, especially as it relates to SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition), to identify areas where the business can save money without the need for significant investment.

Other strategies included: decommissioning high-priced applications in favour of moderately priced solutions that will do the basic job, albeit with less functionality; implementing better long-term IT investment strategies through improved governance; cutting back on solutions that require expensive support personnel; and moving away from the cyclical boom-bust IT investment approach that has long been the norm in the oil and gas business.

Whereas oil patch IT organizations have been fairly resistant to general downturns in the Canadian economy, it was evident that this oil-related downturn has hit them hard, the result being rigorous rationalization of IT resources and the abandonment of many millions of dollars worth of IT investments – money that will not be recovered.

The roundtable members agreed, however, that this is but a temporary setback, and that boom times will inevitably return, bringing with them extremely healthy budgets for IT. The challenge, though, will be to learn from this painful and costly episode and to figure out ways to ensure more sustainable and evenly budgeted IT investment in the future. 


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