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Strategies, advice and opinions helping to define and develop the role of IT leaders and their staffs.

Why building trust is essential for leaders

Trust is extremely important because being trusting and trustworthy helps you build meaningful relationships and perform better at work (and home). Today, I want to talk about what trust is, what happens with and without it and how to increase the amount of trust in your business (and life).


Strategic Insights Report: How Digital is Changing the Face of Canadian Manufacturing

The manufacturing world is putting on a new face, and the makeover it is receiving from powerful new technologies has the potential to help Canada reaffirm its position as one of the world’s leading manufacturing nations and win back work that has migrated to low-cost countries.


Strategic Insights Report: Digital's Role in Reshaping Canadian Oil and Gas

The challenge for CIOs is that IT has long been the neglected child of the Canadian oil and gas industry, not much understood or valued by senior management and left out in the cold with respect to corporate strategy. Now CIOs must find a way of making their voices heard in order to ensure that their companies take the right steps along their digital journey, and they must change the corporate perception of IT from cost centre to cost reducer and revenue generator.


How to Make IT the New Cool

Q & A with Renée McKaskle, CIO of Hitachi Vantara

I had the opportunity to interview Renée McKaskle, CIO of Hitachi Vantara, at HitachiNEXT, the company’s global customer and partner conference. Renée joined Hitachi three years ago and has led her organization through a successful transformation by leveraging the power of data. I was curious about her journey, best practices she could offer to fellow CIOs, and advice she might provide to encourage more women to reach for the stars.


Becoming a Data-driven CIO

Q & A with Shawn Rosemarin, SVP & CTO, Global Field and Industry, Hitachi Vantara

I first met Shawn Rosemarin in 2014 at the Hitachi Product Launch World Tour where I was the emcee for its Toronto stop. At the time, Shawn was the CTO of VMware Canada, a Hitachi partner, and spoke about thought leadership and strategy. Shawn joined Hitachi in 2016 with global mandates for solutioning, technical strategy, and enterprise architecture. I had the opportunity to catch up with him recently at HitachiNEXT, the company’s global customer and partner conference. During an executive briefing, I picked his brain about industry trends, practical strategies, frameworks, and steps CIOs need to take in order to monetize their data assets. Shawn also shared what’s important for building talent.


Managing Radical Technological Change

Information technology influenced disruption is impacting most organizations today. It is helping to accelerate globalization, intensify competition and transform markets, business models, ecosystems, products, services and processes. Most leaders understand that rapid advances in technological capabilities provide revolutionary organizational performance opportunities and also introduce threats that may be existential. For many, investing in and successfully applying information technology is now a much greater priority.


The Rewards of High Tech: One Woman’s Journey

I have been extremely fortunate to have enjoyed a stimulating career in high tech sales and leadership. As a woman, the world of technology afforded me a wonderful profession and as I progressed up the ranks, I actively sought to ensure that I developed balanced teams and mentored women into what I saw was an incredibly rewarding field. I had the great fortune to work with some inspiring women along the way, but we were sorely under-represented, particularly in executive ranks. I hope to encourage more young women to take advantage of the opportunities that a career in technology can offer. It is a demanding, lucrative, and constantly evolving field. I hope that my experience and voice can help encourage the upcoming generation to pursue technology careers.


Creating Organisational Innovators: The Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Online Certificate

Technological innovation is viewed as more strategically important to organisations today than it has been in the past. Being able to change products, services and processes in response to higher levels of competition and rapidly advancing technology is a challenge for most organisations in the private, public and not for profit sectors. At the University of Waterloo, we are developing a new online certificate programme that is intended to support the development of organisations’ technology oriented innovation capability. We are looking for feedback from the CIO community on our new programme design.


The IT Hiring Challenge

Despite the many tools, approaches, philosophies, and processes available to human resources, identifying and hiring good IT people very much remains a challenge. Whether you are a candidate or a hiring manager, the overall experience continues to be lengthy and often frustrating with questionable results.

Although hiring has always been a challenge in IT, it appears to have become even more difficult due to the growing list of requirements imposed by HR and the organization. There is a significant misalignment between hiring rules and departmental hiring requirements within most companies today. This is highlighted by the size of the staffing industry. In 2015, the staffing industry in Canada had a market size of $8.5B and it is expected to rise to $8.9B in 2017.


How to Defeat the Innovation Con Game

I watch an inappropriate amount of television.

Whenever I have free time, I am in front of the TV consuming content. It’s not always streaming, as is the dominate form for my kids, but a variety of content across an array of subscription services. My love of television, established and nurtured as a child and enduring over a lifetime, creates a welcome distraction to the media consumption during my working hours.


Digital Transformation: Creating Magic in Customer Experience

Magic does exist. 

And I’m not just talking about the Vegas style extravaganza and Cirque de Soleil masterpieces. I’m including all magic; from that black & white plastic rabbit picture trick from a birthday magician for hire; to the coordinated team-on-the-street hustling each of my $20 bills with 3-card Monte. It’s all magic. 

Here is what I know:

  • Random audience members do get cut in half with rotating power saws or pierced with steel swords and live to tell about it
  • It is possible to vanish the Statue of Liberty and teleport through the Great Wall of China


A Pragmatic Approach for Securing Enterprise Data and Applications

More than a dozen senior IT executives representing financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and commercial business gathered in Toronto to discuss their experiences with Securing Data and Applications. The event was produced by The IT Media Group and was sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.  The dialogue yielded a notable set of common issues that spans industries. This article will describe the key security challenges facing IT executives, what companies are doing to solve them, and a practical approach for enhancing your security framework.


IT Talent Wars Strategic Insights

I recently had the pleasure of attending a roundtable with 13 senior IT executives to talk about “Winning the IT Talent Wars”. The event was produced by The IT Media Group and was sponsored by Salesforce. The discussion focussed on attracting and retaining top talent in today’s challenging environment. The conversations yielded surprising insights that both businesses and IT vendors would do well to heed in the war for talent. In this article, I will summarize the critical factors that define top talent and the calls to action to hire that talent and keep it.


How the Data-driven CIO Enables Digital Transformation

Some people prefer the destination, but I prefer the journey.

 Not really the journey, but the anxiety of the journey. Whether during a detour at Starbucks on the long drive to Disneyworld, reading a chapter in the biography of Walt Disney, or my eighth back-to-back viewing of Monster’s Inc., I’m wondering about the next stop, chapter or sequel and ignoring what’s right in front of me. Maybe that’s why I’m constantly tripping. The anxiety of what I’m missing or what’s next is always pushing me ahead of the now.

 I’m even anxious to get this article done. It has been in my inbox for the last three weeks, with ample time to deliver the content for editing before the publishing deadline. The knowledge of its presence keeps me alt-tabbing to my inbox to see if it has magically been completed.


The Future Revealed – How CIOs Became Extinct

While browsing a junk shop in a dodgy part of St. John’s recently, I happened across a curious object, a fist-sized orb covered in a tracery of peculiar hieroglyphics. I bought it, took it home, and was in the middle of examining it when a remarkable thing happened. The orb suddenly opened and up popped the figure of a tiny chimpanzee, dressed in scholarly robes and puffing meditatively on a pipe.

“Welcome to the Encyclopedia Galactica, ‘Planet Earth, Third Millennium’ Edition. Please state the period and subject matter you are interested in,” said the ape.

Needless to say, I was gobsmacked. Was it possible that I had stumbled upon some future reference work that had somehow found its way back through time to that musty little shop? I was determined to find out.


Approaches to Shadow IT Governance

Shadow IT used to be one of those things that CIOs tried to eradicate or at least keep in check, like some pernicious garden weed. Yes, that still happens, but now shadow IT has reached the point of acceptance in quite a few organizations and in many it is not only tolerated but encouraged.

In a recent blog (Help for CIOs in Coming Out of the IT Shadows), I wrote about the inexorable growth of shadow IT and the fact that some CIOs are embracing it as a means of helping enable business users while taking some of the pressure off the IT department. That’s a ‘good news’ story and it’s happening quite a bit these days. But where a lot of work still needs to be done is in the area of governance.


Help for CIOs in Coming Out of the IT Shadows

With the advent of Cloud computing, shadow IT has become an ever more painful thorn in the side of the IT organization. And the problem isn’t going away; it’s getting worse.

According to a recent survey of CIOs, CFOs and business decision makers in the US and Europe, conducted by Cloud services provider Canopy, spending on shadow IT will grow 20 percent this year. Half the business decision makers polled have already made a strong commitment to shadow IT, spending 5 to 15 percent of their budget on outside IT products and service providers. On average, this amounts to almost $12 million annually per firm.

Many of Canada’s leading CIOs have delved into key issues around Cloud and shadow IT at roundtables held across the country by The IT Media Group. We’ve been surprised to find that a number of CIOs are growing more comfortable with shadow IT and even using it as a means of taking some of the pressure off an already busy IT department.


CIOs as marketers? Why it’s now more critical than ever

While doing research for The IT Media Group’s Strategic Insights Report, Marketing IT to the Business: Successful CIOs Share Best Practices, I spoke to many IT executives about their approach to gaining trust, confidence and buy-in of IT initiatives and practices from the executive team and users.

There’s an even more pressing need for CIOs to successfully ‘market’ their IT organizations now than there was two years ago, when I wrote the report. Why? Two key reasons:

1. Shadow IT continues to grow at a rapid clip, bringing with it poorly integrated systems, lack of due diligence, security issues, hidden costs, long-term sustainability issues, incompatibility with IT strategy, the creation of siloed departments, and the list goes on.


Five Security Insights from our CIO Breakfast Series

Over the past 14 months, The IT Media Group has hosted a series of roundtables and Strategic Insights sessions focussed on IT security. These sessions produced a wealth of information and ideas, provided by the many CIOs, CISOs and security experts who took part.

Here are five examples of that collected wisdom:

Gaining User Buy-in: Organizations are facing multiple challenges when it comes to gaining user buy-in for good security practices. Security measures need to be as invisible as possible to end users; if workflow is impeded, users will often fail to comply with proper security procedures. Whenever possible, security should be built in at the beginning of application development, rather than being ‘bolted on’ later, resulting in extra steps on the part of users. [see video Supporting Users]


CIOs Need Alternatives

During a pressure-packed situation aboard the retrofitted USS Enterprise in Star Trek: the Motion Picture, Commander Decker explained to Admiral Kirk, “It's my duty to point out alternatives.” Allow me to do the same with you.

Sure, it’s pretty easy to maintain the status quo when you hold all the cards, when you can make all the decisions. If I were in your shoes, I would focus on command and control too – house all my applications and workloads in a data centre that I maintain personally, mostly in a traditional row by row, discipline by discipline architecture while dipping my toe in workload-specific private Clouds. I might even try appliance or converged deployments, as long as I could touch and feel them.


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

Avison Young - VP Global Enterprise Architecture & Integration

Aviva Canada - VP, Architecture & Strategy

Bank of America Merrill Lynch - CTO

BC Ferry Services - VP & CIO

Bell Business Markets - Director, Strategy & Planning

Bell Canada - National Director, Digital Transformation

Bellatrix Exploration - Director, Information Technology

Bentall Kennedy - VP IT


BFL CANADA - Director, Cybersecurity & IT Risk Management

Black Press - CTO

BlackBerry - VP Corporate IT

BMO Financial Group - Director, Technology & Operations Transformation

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 Goose - CTO

Canada Live - VP of Technology

Canada Mortgage and Housing - VP, Information & Technology

Canada Protection Plan - Head of IT

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

CBI Health Group - CIO

CCS Corp. - VP IT

CDSPI - Board Director

Centerra Gold - Director IT & Comm

CI Global Asset Management - VP of Enterprise Infrastructure $amp; Operations

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

Colliers - Head of Technology & Data

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, Risk Advisory

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 - EVP, Technology

eHealth Ontario - VP, IT Systems & Services

Encana - Director, InfoSec

Enbridge Inc. - VP, Technology and Information Services

Enerflex - CIO

Enerplus - VP. IS


Equitable Bank - CIO

Equitable Bank - CISO

Equity Financial Trust - VP, IT

Essential Energy Services - Director, IT

Expedia Cruise Ship Centers - VP IS

FGL Sports - VP, Information Technology

Finastra - SVP, Head Technology Managed Services

Fix Auto Canada - COO & SVP - CIO

Freedom Mobile - Head, Customer Applications, Experience, & Strategy

FT Services - CIO

FundServ - CIO

Genus Capital Management - CTO

Genworth Financial Inc. - VP IT

Geotab - Board Member

Golder Associates - CTO

Gran Tierra Energy - Director IT

Grant Thornton LLP - CIO

Grand River Hospital - Director, Data Governance & Analytics

Greenwin Inc - VP, Information Technology

Groupe Dynamite - Director, IT

GSK Canada - IT Director

GTAA - Acting CIO

H&R Block Canada - VP IT

Haventree Bank - VP, Technology

Hewitt Equipment Ltd. - VP & CIO

Hitachi Vantara - GVP & Global CTO

Home Trust Company - CIO

Home Trust Company - CTO

Home Trust Company - VP & CISO

Horizon North Logistics - CIO

HSB Canada - VP IT

IBM Canada - Associate Partner, Payments Industry

Indigo Books and Music - CIO

Interac Corp - Director, Platform Engineering

ivari - SVP & CIO

JP Morgan Chase Canada - Executive Director, Information Risk Management

Keyera Energy - Director, Information Technology

KFC Canada - CTO

KnowledgeOne - CIO

LaFarge Canada - Director, IT

Landmark Cinemas Canada - VP, IT


LCBO - Director, Applications Systems


Leisureworld Senior Care Corp - VP IS

Lifeguard Digital Health - Chief Security & Informatics Officer

Loblaw Companies Ltd - Senior Director, Customer Engagement Technology

London Drugs - GM IT

Loto-Quebec - Corporate Director, InfoSec

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

Manulife - Global Head of Private Markets & Real Estate Technology

March Networks - VP Professional Services & CIO

MaRS Discovery District - Managing Director, Fintech and Commerce

McCain Foods Limited - Manager InfoSec

McInnis Cement - Director of Information Technology

Medical Pharmacies Group - VP, Information Technology

MEG Energy - Manager, Information Technology Solutions & Services

Metrolinx - EVP & CIO

Minto Group - VP IT

MMM Group - CIO

Montreal Police Service - CIO

Morguard Investments - CIO

Moulding & Millwork - CIO

MullenLowe Group - Global 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

OPTrust - AVP, Enterprise Data Services

Olympia Financial Group - CIO

OMERS - EVP, Data & Technology


OMERS - SVP, Data & Advanced Analytics

Ontario Pension Board - CTO

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan - SVP, Product & Delivery

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

Pythian - CTO

Qantas - Global CIO

Queen's University - Director, Information Technology

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

RBC Royal Bank - VP, Technology Platforms & Risk Management

RBC Royal Bank - Global Cybersecurity VP

Regal Lifestyle Communities - CIO

Revera Inc. - CIO

Revera Inc. - Security Architect

Rheem Manufacturing - CISO & Enterprise Architect

Ricoh Canada - VP,IT

RioCan Property Services - VP IT

Roche - Head of IT Americas – Operations

Rogers Communications - SVP, Customer Experience IT


Russel Metals - VP,IS

Salvation Army Canada - Board Director

SCI Group - CIO

Scotiabank - Head, Systems Architecture & Platform Modernization

Scotiabank - VP - International Systems Technology

Scotiabank - Head, System Architecture & Platform Modernization

Scotiabank - Global Head, GBM Compliance & Transformation

Sears Canada - Divisional VP, Information Technology Services

Secure Energy Services - GM, IT

Shaw - Head, Customer Applications, Experience, & Strategy

Shaw Communications - VP, Technology Operations

Shaw Communications - Director, Risk Management

SMART Technologies - Director, IS Corporate Services

Smartcentres - Director IS, IT

SmartOne Solutions - President & CIO

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

Sunco Communication - COO

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 - CISO & Global Head of Infrastructure Services

Toromont Industries - VP & CIO

Toronto District School Board - Chief Technology Officer

Toronto Hospital for Sick Children - Director of Technology

Toronto Parking Authority - CIO

Toronto Police Services - CISO

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 Toronto - Director, Centre for Management & Technology

University of Waterloo - Director, Technology Entrepreneurship

Valencia Risk - Managing Director

Vancity - VP Technology & Solutions

Viterra - Director Enterprise Technology

Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company - Director of Innovation Outpost

World Health - Director IT

Wolseley Canada - CIO & COO

WSIB - Board Director

Yellow Pages Group - Director - Enterprise Data Management

York Region District School Board - CIO

York University - Board Director

Leadership Archive