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

IoT Survival Guide for CIOs

Fifteen senior IT leaders representing a dozen industries gathered at a roundtable in Toronto to tackle the thorny issues associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). The event was produced by the IT Media Group and the sponsor was Salesforce. The conversations uncovered high interest in the topic, yet most companies are not adequately preparing for IoT. This article will describe why IoT should be on your corporate agenda, the barriers preventing companies from embarking on the IoT journey, and strategies CIOs can use to thrive in the new IoT world.

The IoT Imperative

Analysts generally agree that within a few short years there will be more than 20 billion connected IoT devices. This trend will have a profound impact to businesses as more than 200,000 new applications and services are developed and deployed. Surprisingly, less then 20% of attendees had mature IoT offerings under development and only a few others had begun testing the IoT waters.

CIO’s need to have solid plans to build foundational elements required to support these new applications and services. Failure to provide a stable, secure, and flexible IoT infrastructure could drive a new wave of shadow IT as well as increase the risk that you and your company will be displaced.

Show Me the Money

All participants acknowledged the criticality of embracing IoT, but CIOs are already busy securing data and applications, executing their digital transformation strategies, and trying to win the IT talent wars. After taking care of operations, there is little time left to pay attention to IoT. CIOs are faced with the following challenges:

  • It is hard to define a sustainable business model. Company leaders expect IT to come to the table with technology solutions that deliver business value. CIOs must wade through the myriad of IoT offerings to create a value proposition that the business can understand and embrace.
  • IoT introduces significant privacy and security considerations. Technical solutions are required to ensure that devices can’t be compromised and data is kept safe. The sheer volume and variety of devices can leave CIOs wondering where to start. If left unaddressed, the business can introduce IoT technology themselves, leading to a sub-optimal IoT strategy.
  • It is difficult to add IoT innovation onto the radar of the IT department. CIOs are tasked with keeping the lights on, while IoT requires new investment in a climate where IT budgets are shrinking.
  • There are high costs to retrofit the environment to support IoT instrumentation and control. New entrants into the marketplace aren’t encumbered by a legacy organization because they can build from scratch. CIOs must consider the cost and effort required to IoT enable the existing infrastructure as new applications and services are introduced.

IoT Survival Guide

CIOs need a strategy to address the risks and opportunities introduced by the IoT. Without such a plan, the threats from competitors and new marketplace entrants could prove disastrous to your company. The following guide is provided to help you accelerate your journey to the IoT.

  • IoT requires a Chief Digital Officer or Chief Data Officer (CDO). You can leverage this role with your digital transformation initiatives. If you don’t have a CDO yet, then now is a good a time to add one to your team. This role is responsible for owning and delivering the IoT agenda, as well as liaising with the business to define IoT value and priorities. In addition, the vast amount of IoT data being generated can provide tremendous competitive advantage to a company that can analyze and classify it effectively.
  • Uncover potential business opportunities by tasking your CDO to seek out sources who can help you to understand how IoT is affecting your industry.
    • Identify vendors who are delivering IoT solutions and plan to participate in user conferences and advisory groups. Don’t be shy about engaging vendors for workshops to help you uncover opportunities that will appeal to your customers.
    • Tap into the start-up community to find out what leading edge developments are being planned for a few years down the road.
    • Engage industry analysts and attend relevant conferences to better understand the changes that IoT is expected to introduce.
  • Generate ideas from your existing workforce by adding IoT to your company innovation program. If you don’t have such a program yet, then IoT could be a good starting point. Look at formalized innovation frameworks that incent, reward, and deliver the best ideas. This will ensure that your innovation agenda becomes an ongoing source of ideas instead of a one-time event.
  • Leave the heavy lifting of securing IoT applications and data to your CISO. The following checklist should be added to your security team’s mandate:
    • Ensure that data ownership and privacy governance is communicated to developers and end-users as new applications are created. Be aware that personal views about privacy will continue to evolve. A generation that is used to sharing everything will have vastly different attitudes about privacy than previous generations.
    • Sift through the emerging IoT security standards and continuously define your organization’s guidelines for their use.
    • Work with the network team to secure the IoT environment and/or create a dedicated network to segregate the IoT traffic.
    • Ensure that there are procedures to secure and clear data stored on the various sensors, collectors, and servers that are part of the IoT processing chain.
  • To avoid the legacy barriers, consider creating a separate team that is responsible for designing and implementing IoT unique solutions. This will require you to implement a budget and develop measurement criteria to evaluate the return on your IoT investments. This is a good way to build your IoT lab environment, as well as to fund the implementation of frameworks and infrastructure that will be used to develop and operate your IoT services.

CIOs shouldn’t ignore the fundamental changes that are being introduced as the volume of IoT devices rapidly grows. Companies can’t afford to sit on the sidelines while new entrants and competitors take advantage of the wealth of data and new opportunities that billions of interconnected devices create. Savvy CIOs will somehow find the time and budget to capitalize on the IoT imperative.


Jeff Ishii is a senior technology executive with a wealth of experience in management consulting, professional services and IT operations delivery for Fortune 500 companies. He 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

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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