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

Digital State of Mind

As a parent of a teenager, I have lived in digital frustration for a few years now. I found myself constantly anxious from watching my daughter being consumed by virtual communications around the clock. My husband and I tried all sorts of methods to correct this extreme “phenomenon”; unfortunately, nothing worked. While this was hardly a unique behaviour for her generation, it was daunting for me to be supportive of such an unhealthy and unproductive life-style. My mind couldn’t stop drawing parallels to “when I was growing up…”

So I have to admit that I am a late-boomer on the digital front. I prefer the pleasure of flipping pages and inhaling the aroma of a real book. I didn't have the urge to own smart devices and become connected to the Internet of things. I didn't open any social media accounts, except for LinkedIn, until I decided to use them as tools to spy on my daughter. The information I gathered from my spying was surprisingly useful. Putting data and context together, I felt like I had a better handle of my daughter’s mind and her circle of influences.

Also, to my great relief, the digital chatter was for the most part harmless. What seemed like a big waste of time to me, is to her the most productive way of connecting with her friends and getting things done. I've come to realize that being constantly wired is a necessity for her generation - a “must have” life-style. Good, bad, or ugly, it’s a trend we can’t reverse.

Once my mind was conditioned to this reality, I became more motivated to be part of her world. Her attitude toward us is now less defensive and more open. A stronger bond is forming between us.

My daughter and her friends represent our next generation of customers. Alan Trefler, founder & CEO of Pega Systems, a Boston based BPM and CRM software company, penned his insightful perspectives about preparing organizations for the new generation of customers in his book “Build for Change”. Alan brands my daughter’s generation as “Gen D” with D standing for discover, devour and demonize. Gen D doesn't like to be told what they want. They know what they want and take the initiative to engage and influence brands digitally. They make their decisions based on their direct (and often one-time) experience. They worship peer reviews. They either love you or hate you. They are not shy to share how they feel via all digital means available to them. They can be your biggest advocate or your worst PR disaster.

What can we do better to prepare ourselves for our Gen D customers of tomorrow – those who possess plenty of attitude and superior digital aptitude? Alan has practical advice around how organizations can create a “build for change platform” that is customer-centric. He explains why and how people, process and technology must all work together in a new way to avoid the ultimate “customerpocalypse”. Fundamental to Alan’s vision of digitization is the ability to change the culture of our business to be future-ready.

Alan’s philosophy is echoed by many industry experts. In “A Digital Strategy is a Data Strategy”, Neil Ward-Dutton, a high-profile IT industry analyst in Europe also wrote about the importance of culture shift as a key factor for a successful digital enterprise. R “Ray” Wang, principle analyst and founder of Constellation Research summarized seven rules for digital business and digital transformation, concluding that a digital transformation is first and foremost about a shift of minds and behaviors.

The biggest barrier to change is our own resistance. In the last couple of years, I've attended many marketing and technology conferences that have focused on the digital revolution. There is an ever-expanding and all-consuming digitized mindshare in the B2B space – a sea change happening right in front of our eyes. Yet fear, uncertainty and doubt percolate as we become more aware of the imminent changes that lie ahead. We know we must change the way we think and act. We know that adapting and innovating is the key to survive and thrive. But some of us are still procrastinating. Changing habits is hard. Taking ourselves out of our comfort zones is uncomfortable.

I was one of those cautious beings that didn't jump on the digital bandwagon right away. Today, I am on a fast-moving train enjoying an exhilarating ride and in awe of the new things that I discover every day. My change of mindset was the result of my parental and survival instincts kicking in. Progress required discipline.

I allow my mind to be a sponge. I spend an hour most days reading articles online. I often choose a subject area that I don’t know enough about. I try to tune into as many industry forums as possible so that I can learn from the experts. “Knowledge is power” – acknowledging what I don’t know gets me further every day.

I experiment with what I learn. In my capacity, I work with teams of marketing professionals in the technology industry. Many of them are my peers who were “forced” to brush up on their digital skills. Some are “new age” marketers who are passionate about search, content and omni-channel marketing. I love to brainstorm ideas with my clients and partners and help them to develop fresh and new marketing concepts that “pull” people in.

I encourage my team to be creative and autonomous. Even though digital strategy may require ownership, digital transformation is everyone’s responsibility. I’m not convinced that the introduction of the Chief Digital Officer is a good idea. I think that the role widens the divide between IT and marketing instead of fostering a more collaborative culture.

Times have changed. In the past, “built to last” was the gold standard in the world of design and engineering. Today, organizations must re-build their very foundations to anticipate constant change - change in expectations of their workforce, customers, shareholders and industry; change caused by digital disruptions; change driven by the very progression of our collective minds.

When I spoke with Alan Trefler at PegaWorld last month, I learned that before founding Pega, Alan was a world chess champion at the age of 19. Since the prize money from winning could barely cover his hotel bill during the tournament, he decided to use his key skills in chess to solve chaos in the business world. I call that a smart move. Pega has been succeeding for 31 years by helping many loyal and happy customers build for change. When it comes to predicting the digital future, I am placing my trust in a chess master.

Are you in a digital state of mind? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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

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