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CALGARY TELUS CONVENTION CENTRE AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HUB

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Expensive restaurants in Canada

March 2018 • CANADA EDITION

CITY FOCUS

TORONTO

THE

TECH

T R A N S F O R M AT I O N OF

G R E AT- W E S T L I F E C O

The future of customer-centric insurance We talk to Philip Armstrong, CIO of Great-West Lifeco, on how the company aims to keep one element securely in the centre of it all – the customer


The source of value

Procurement executives across the globe continue to see the potential they can unlock throughout the supply chain. They understand that business today is about engaging, collaborating, adapting instantly to evolving needs, and finding new sources of value. Getting that value, however, can prove a challenge.


FOREWORD WELCOME TO THE Canada edition of Business Chief. For over a century, Great-West Lifeco has been providing insurance services that enrich the lives of Canadians. As the company embraces the future, through a major technology transformation, Great-West Lifeco respects the past. We flew out to downtown Toronto to speak with Global CIO Philip Armstrong, as he talks about the changing shape of financial technology. Sticking with technology transformation, SAP and Cisco guide us through how businesses can dig through vast quantities of data and use it to their advantage. Turning to people management, Michelle Boucher from Colonial Life looks at how businesses can adapt their workplace environment to encourage creativity and motivate employees. In sustainability news, GM Global Manager of Renewable Energy, Rob Threlkeld, tells us why now is the most exciting time to work in sustainability. Elsewhere, Fanshawe College is investing in innovation in IT and its strategically minded CIO explains why he college of the future needs to be run as much on vision as fixed processes. We sincerely hope you enjoy the issue, and as always, please tweet your feedback to @Business_Chief

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AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HUB TECHNOLOGY

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Why getting data infrastructure right is vital for modern businesses 4

March 2018

Reframing company culture for better workplace diversity


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

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RENEWABLE ENERGY ENERGY RENEWABLE RENEWABLE IS AFFECTING AFFECTINGENERGY IS IS AFFECTINGWE DO EVERYTHING EVERYTHING EVERYTHING WE WE DO DO

CITY FOCUS

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Great-West Lifeco Inc Technology


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Fanshawe College Supply Chain

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Aecon Group Inc Technology

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Dicom Transportation Group Canada Inc Technology

Diagnostic Services of Manitoba Healthcare

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AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HUB

Writ ten by OLIVIA MINNOCK

Calgary Convention Centre’s CEO Clark Grue talks to Business Chief about the ever-changing convention business, and why Calgary is top of the list for many wishing to host an interactive, international event


L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y

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L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y CEO CLARK GRUE lauds Calgary’s Convention Centre as a community hub, and is one of the city’s strongest advocates. From a social point of view and from a community point of view, it’s very much part of the fabric of Calgary,” he explains – but why Calgary? And more importantly, how has the TELUS Convention Centre, one of the first to be purpose-built in Canada, contributed to the fast-growing city and become a top event location for businesses around the world?

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Following a lengthy search for the right candidate, Grue took on the role in 2016. His vast experience in business meant he’d been on “the other side” of event planning. Following stints at Calgary’s British Trade Office and Calgary Economic Development, Grue then allowed his entrepreneurial streak to shine through, starting Rainmaker Global Business Development which “build offices around the world to help businesses move into new markets globally” with locations in Toronto, London and New York. For Grue,


the move to the Convention Centre was “a fascinating opportunity to combine my love of our city and love of connecting it to the world through the convention business”. How has this experience benefitted him since taking over the huge task a year and a half ago? One of his first tastes of large-scale events was when Rainmaker took over London’s Canada Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square in 2009. “We got fully involved in pulling off a huge event for the first five years,”

“A FASCINATING OPPORTUNITY TO COMBINE MY LOVE OF OUR CITY AND LOVE OF CONNECTING IT TO THE WORLD THROUGH THE CONVENTION OF CONNECTING BUSINESSES” CLARK GRUE CEO on the Calgary Convention Centre Grue explains, adding that the event then spread to New York and became the largest Canada day event outside Canada. It was here that Grue learned the events industry is one that involves juggling many tasks, with a high potential for things to go wrong, and that the right people are essential. “There were a number of interesting angles on that event – we had to cope with a number of issues. Security levels have to be right with 100,000 people going through the square in 2013 with bands all day, street hockey, vendors… it was a complex ecosystem,” Grue 13


L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y concludes, but one he came to love and recalls in his dealings with clients at the centre. “As we deal with planners and organisers, who have so many balls in the air, we need to create an amazing experience for their guests and delegates. Our role in doing this is to develop the experience.” Calgary Convention Centre: building an experience Planning a convention is a lot more than just offering a roof overhead, and according to Grue this has especially changed within the past few years. “It’s much more than just, ‘rent our space’ – it’s about helping them create cool, safe, engaging spaces. It’s about interaction with technology and people. With smartphones, people are so connected all the time now. How do you create cool spaces where they can be connected, using their devices or not? It’s about how we activate an event, as well as the look and feel of our facility. It used to be just about getting a whole bunch of people in a space, putting a speaker in front of them and everyone took notes and fell asleep. Now it’s about creating vibrant learning opportunities at these conferences.” The centre’s strategic downtown 14

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location is a key aspect of its importance, coupled with its integration into Calgary’s unique network of raised walkways. “It’s strategically placed with close proximity to all the shops and restaurants. In 2000, we expanded the centre with a fresher, more vibrant, light-filled convention facility right across the street, which is now connected with a walkway and tunnel.” Adapting and updating Such an historic centre at the heart of the city was quite

FINANCE

The facts and figures Clark Grue mentions three ways in which the centre contributes economically to Calgary – but what are the facts and figures behind this? We took a look at the centre’s 2016 financial reports to find out. The centre reported overall spending of $35.1mn “as a direct result of hosting events that drew non=resident delegates”. It divides this into $21.5mn total delegate spending, $8.9mn total exhibitor spending and $4.6mn total event production spending. This came from a total of 279 events involving 163,935 delegates, 19,848 of whom were non-residential delegates. The centre estimates this spending to have contributed around $29mn to Calgary’s GDP: $17mn directly, $7mn indirectly and $5mn worth of induced spending. This has supported an estimated 441 jobs and around $4.5mn in tax revenue, according to the centre.


CCTC hosted YWHISPER Fundraising Gala an undertaking for a new CEO. Grue puts his success down in part to the most old-fashioned piece of the puzzle there is – the people. “I’ve shaken the organisation up a little bit,” he concedes, emphasising his main responsibility is to the volunteer board of directors, as the centre is owned by the city of Calgary. A key change Grue has made has been creating new job titles, including a Vice President of Acceleration “which is really about accelerating the activity in new and creative ways”, as well as a Vice President of Experience – “how we create the experiences and manage them so our clients

and delegates love this place”. Grue came in as the new boss of a 40-year institution. “You’ve got some people who have been here a long time, and then in rolls this cowboy who’s got different ideas and turns a few things on their ear… What’s been great about that sort of disruption at the leadership level is there’s so much strength in the new people that have come in, as well as those who have been around for 25 years.” Hiring and retaining people who understand and support his vision is important to Grue. “Often in hiring it’s gut instinct as to what’s going to fit and make the culture of the organisation work 15


“CALGARY’S PLACE IN CANADA IS BEING THE CENTRE WHERE BUSINESSES CAN START, GROW AND GO INTERNATIONAL” CLARK GRUE CEO of the Calgary Convention Centre

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L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y – if you don’t get the culture right, the organisation won’t achieve much.” Indeed, working with people is also the most enjoyable part of Grue’s role, in particularly witnessing “the loyalty and passion for what they do”, he enthuses. “A convention centre is made up of lots of moving parts, from professionals who run administration, sales teams, events planners, custodial and maintenance staff, engineers...” Grue emphasises the mosaic of perspectives that forms the organisation. “It’s fascinating to see that work so well. I’ve loved that.”

changing so much, so that part is important for us to understand.” The centre is also excited to host the IEEE Engineering Conference 2018, which hadn’t been intended for Calgary at all. Originally set to be hosted in South Korea, it was moved to Calgary following international tensions. “It was a huge move. I was proud they saw Canada and Calgary as a safe place to bring that conference, and that people would like to come here. They know they’ll have good support and stable services.” This April, around 2,500 engineers will descend upon the city.

An international host The centre has hosted some huge international events since Grue’s arrival, and two in particular spring to mind. The Gala Awards for the International Live Events Association (ILEA) moves around the world every year, and 2017 was Calgary’s turn. “It was a time of pride; it was brilliant to see groups from all over the world.” Calgary has also become home to Otafest, a growing anime convention. “It’s a strange collision of young people in costumes and technology – you get to see that generation and how they like to come together. It’s

Mr Calgary Grue describes the 135-year-old city of Calgary as a youthful melting pot, and with the Twitter handle @ MrCalgaryCanada (which he claims is an official title), is its biggest advocate. “A lot of people have moved here from Canada and abroad to get ahead, set down roots and become engaged with the community. That makes it a special place. Calgary is a business town, very entrepreneurial. Our location is a real draw for people coming from Europe – they love the idea of coming to Calgary then hitting the Rocky Mountains an hour away. The differentiator with 17


CCTC hosted event for the Juno Gala Dinner Calgary is the experience you can have – everything’s available from theatre, sports, outdoor activity, a bar scene, shopping… We can create a very special value proposition for conference planners, depending on the experience they want to have.” Indeed, Amazon considered Calgary for its second headquarters earlier this year and while the city proved unsuccessful, Grue feels it will still be put on the map in a big way. “I’m glad we went after the Amazon project and I think Amazon would have done very well here, but we are still at a growing stage,” he reflects, adding 18

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it’s not advisable to try to become the next Toronto or New York. “Calgary is unique. I love all Canadian cities, all have their own special culture and way they do life. Calgary’s place in Canada is being the centre where businesses can start, grow and go international.” The centre of the city Not only is Calgary a beneficial location for the centre, but both centre and city enjoy a symbiotic relationship. “The centre doesn’t just get used for international events; it gets used regularly by the local business community and by


L E A D E R S H I P & S T R AT E G Y community groups. Lots of fundraisers, charity events, graduations and weddings happen here – it really is a community hub for Calgary.” The centre creates three levels of economic impact, according to Grue. From the money being directly spent on and in the centre, to indirect value – “it spills its economic interest onto the street, where people can spill out and go to restaurants and bars” – and not forgetting the induced economic impact that lasts long after chairs have been folded away. “Bringing people together creates economic impact

CALGARY The city of Calgary has an estimated population of 1.16mn. It is the largest city in Alberta and third largest in Canada. The city’s metropolitan area has a population of 1.37mn and is the fifth largest metro area in Canada.

THE CENTRE The Calgary Telus Convention Centre includes theatre-style capacity for 4,000 people. Grue mentions that the ideal “sweet spot” for the centre are events of around 500-2,000 people. The centre has 122,000 sq ft of dedicated convention space including 47,000 sq ft of exhibit space, five pre-function rooms and 36 meeting rooms.

that is of course difficult to track, but people are connecting and creating new ideas and business.” The centre also enjoys mutually beneficial relationships with hospitality partners it has built up over the years, without which it could not boast such a quality experience for visitors. “We have a long-standing relationship with the Marriott Hotel, which handles our catering. As we know, a big part of going to a conference is food: well prepared, hot and timely. They do a remarkable job alongside us to make all this happen. On the other side of the street we have the Hyatt at our new building, so both are connected to us and have been excellent partners – as have the other local hotels.” Aside from 2,500 engineers in April, what does the future hold for centre and city? “The meetings and conventions industry is such an economic engine for cities nowadays,” says Grue. “Everywhere in the world there are great facilities engaging with this industry. Calgary needs to continue to grow that. The meetings and conventions industry in the US alone is worth $330bn per year… it’s a large industry that we believe we can lead the way in.” 19


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WHY GETTING DATA INFRASTRUCTURE RIGHT IS VITAL FOR MODERN BUSINESSES Stuart Hodge speaks to experts from SAP, Cisco and Warwick Analytics to outline how quality, effective data infrastructure can help optimise a company’s business processes… Writ ten by STUART HODGE


TECHNOLOGY ONE OF THE most important hires for companies across most sectors these days is that of the data scientist. As data analysis and technology strategy expert Q Ethan McCallum observes on his website, there is no point in hiring a data scientist until you have the correct data infrastructure in place. Doing so would be akin to hiring Lewis Hamilton for a racing team, but providing him with a car liable to break down before the finish line. “To invest in such a data infrastructure is to invest in the longterm success of your firm’s data science activities,” Q McCallum notes. The principal challenges with data come mainly from the volume, the plurality of sources and types, and the discrepancies in how it is gathered, processed and ultimately used. Sven Denecken, Head of Product Management and Co-Innovation for SAP’s S/4HANA business suite, embraces the challenge of navigating the ever-changing tides when it comes to data. “As a product manager, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I want to use that technology. I want to use that data. I want to use those concepts, but my job is to bring it all together with an actual business process. Big 24

March 2018

“You cannot know exactly what your customers want tomorrow, but you want to predict it as much as you can” SVEN DENECKEN Head of Product Management and Co-Innovation for SAP’s S/4HANA

data is more important than ever and the technology is there to compute it in vast amounts and with great speed. The more you can virtualise and put into in-memory speed computing, the better you will be able to adapt your business processes. You cannot know exactly what your customers want tomorrow, but you want to predict it as much as you can.” That’s how companies can ensure proper enterprise resource planning, and that is what the SAP S/4HANA suite does: a real-time


enterprise resource management suite for digital business built on the company’s advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA, deployable in the cloud or on-premise. Denecken, not unexpectedly, describes it as “the best enterprise resource planning software on the cloud” barring none, and he was happy to break down what he sees as the prerequisites for any company to succeed when it comes to structuring and interpreting data. “I would argue infrastructure as a

service, security, and the availability of the data are three key ingredients you need to start with,” he asserts. Whether talking about unstructured, structured or semi-structured data, Denecken is adamant these different types need to be combined if a company hopes to optimise its business processes. Everyone talks about big data. “I’m actually more a fan of the right data. Big data’s the starting point. It’s a commodity. The right data is bringing you a competitive advantage. 25


TECHNOLOGY

“The trick is to analyse 100% of the right data in the right way” DAN SOMERS CEO Warwick Analytics

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“We need to realise that data itself is the new gold. It’s a case of the more data the better, in whatever shape or form: unstructured, structured, or semi-structured; we need to collect much more. The key question is how a company deals with it. For example, text messages, audio, semi-structured data, are much less voluminous… I want to make sure that we process this in the right way. This is where process knowledge and data knowledge need to come together.” This is also where a lot of companies tend to fall down, according to Dan Somers, CEO of predictive analytics firm Warwick Analytics. “Less than 1% of data is analysed. This in itself is bad, but there are also a lot of types of data which are not very informative. The trick is to analyse 100% of the right data in the right way. Mostly, people are just deploying analytics for visualisation. Unstructured and text data are very poorly analysed and form the majority of data today. Much of the time there’s a ‘so what’ at the end of analysis because people are asking the wrong question. “One example is analysing voice of customer data for topics and sentiment whereas the better

analysis is to validate (remove trolls and statistically validate across all customers removing skews) and then isolate the topics and sentiment which drive customer churn and/or loyalty, as these are the things that predictively make the difference. “Start with the right question and analyse the right data,” Somers advises. “Then, once you start from there, find the tools that can help, don’t always just do what the data science team is capable of. It must fit the business and be flexible enough to be updated and ‘live’ as things inevitably evolve, rather than bogging the data science team down in curation.” Being able to do all of these things requires a strong and robust network, or at least one which is attuned to a business’s own requirements and needs. That is very much the ‘domain’ of David Goff, who is Head of Enterprise Network for UK and Ireland for world networking leader Cisco. “What my team is there to do, and what Enterprise Network is there to do, is to find ways that we can drastically simplify the network or actually make the network intuitive,” he explains. “To make it intuitive – that means to be able to see, 27


to think, and to act itself, without manual intervention requires data. “Then it’s about how we use visibility of data to be able to inform the network and to ensure that the network is something that adapts and has the rigidity that business needs to be able to capture transitions on IAP, cloud and mobility.” But from a network point of view, it’s less about looking within the data itself and more about how its transportation can be facilitated. All of the factors outlined so far need to be considered when it comes to how to structure data, but what 28

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also needs to be remembered is that technology is constantly evolving and that the playing field is always subject to disruption and change. Goff says he expects “ongoing innovation, creating ecosystems” and Denecken agrees that there is further room for disruption in the data space – in fact, he expects it, saying that anyone who manages to marry “the combination of big data, AI and business processes” will be on to a winner in that regard. He acknowledges that more and more processes are going to become streamlined


TECHNOLOGY “I’m not going to hire a consultant to dig at that for a year – but I will rely on certain market data to sense it, and then based on that sensing, drive my business processes or my automation” DAVID GOFF Head of Enterprise Network for Cisco in UK and Ireland

or automated thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning. “There will be always niches where experts and very bright people will find an even better way or will fill in holes,” he adds. “Already today, what we can do with process robotic automation disrupts many business processes. So, would I, today, invest into a short service centre company to outsource labour tasks? Personally, I wouldn’t. I think those tasks will be automated first. “On the other side, a lot of opportunities will be created. There’s a lot of discussion about things like

access to big data, access with algorithms to make it more intelligent etc., but the closer you get to the business process, the more you will own that piece of the data. The further you go away, the more you will rely on third-party resources. Maybe also to pre-empt it, to pre-condition it, to pre-extract certain data. If I want to know what my customer base is doing, I’m not going to hire a consultant to dig at that for a year – but I will rely on certain market data to sense it, and then based on that sensing, drive my business processes or my automation.” 29


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PEOPLE

Reframing company culture for better workplace diversity Michelle Boucher, Vice President, Global Talent Management at Colonial Life advises how creativity can be fostered in the workplace

Writ ten by MICHELLE BOUCHER


PEOPLE

Google spent $265mn on a datadriven diversity programme 83% of Vodafone employees say flexible working has helped improve productivity

Boston Consulting Group’s stunning New York office

MOST OF US would agree the greater the diversity of minds in business, the greater the diversity of perspectives, talents and creative solutions. However, progress of achieving workplace diversity has been surprisingly sluggish. For example, Google’s data-driven diversity program cost $265mn to implement, but still failed to significantly change the composition of its workforce. Such results imply money isn’t everything when it comes 34

March 2018

to implementing diversity initiatives. However, with the right internal strategies and robust planning, there are steps any organisation can take to help its business embrace diversity.

REASSESS TRADITIONAL WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENTS From interview processes to decision making, most of our workplace environments are built around eye contact, noisy group work and


generally overstimulating settings. But traditional workplace environments and routines may not be for everyone. By adapting your workplace to cater to a diverse array of age groups, personalities and work styles, you can drive better efficiency and performance. For example, consider offering the option of open office spaces versus quieter, private working space for your employees, so they can pick an environment where they’ll be most

‘It’s valuable to move the culture of your business away from being dominated by how many hours employees work in the office’

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PEOPLE 5 tips on how to improve your creative space… • Allow employees to have a choice of which environment they will be productive in, for example between an open workspace and a quieter, private working space. • Remember the workspace needn’t be the office and if your organisation offers flexible working, employees can choose their own space, with work from home options proving popular. • If necessary, make use of virtual technology allowing users to remain in an environment they find comfortable, especially for interviews. • Subtly encourage collaboration by making sure your office space has ample space to connect and chat, even if this may be in a break area. • P rioritise organising employee affinity groups; communities within corporations that encourage people with similar experiences and backgrounds to connect. Adobe’s Lehi offices boast an indoor climbing wall and is part of Adobe’s wellness initiative 36

March 2018


productive. Individuals with autism or hyper-sensitive personalities may need different workplace accommodations, such as changes to lighting or headphones to prevent auditory overstimulation. Team meetings and brainstorms are central to many workplace routines, but not everyone excels in these conditions. In fact, research by Harvard shows some employees worry about other team members’ views and when they perceive others have more expertise, their performance declines. This is especially challenging for introverted or less confident individuals. Encouraging a subtle collaborative environment can prevent employees from feeling forced into sharing ideas and concerns. Simple ways to do this include integrating mentoring into everyday practices and modelling collaborative behaviour from the top down.

CONSIDER INDIVIDUAL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES What if we created tailored roles to really benefit from each employee’s unique talents and contributions?

‘Could your interviews be conducted virtually? Some candidates may interview better in surroundings that are familiar to them’

Some in the business world are already beginning to think this way: A PricewaterhouseCoopers 2030 report entitled ‘Workforce of the future’ discusses the benefits of workplaces that focus on individual talents to compete in the race to give consumers what they want. Business leaders can tap into this by developing non-traditional roles that maximise individual strengths and are less reliant on linear thinking. For example, recent ground-breaking research from Johan Wiklund revealed many individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are great at solving certain types of complex issues in isolation because they become hyper-focused on a problem capturing their attention. The research also discovered many 37


PEOPLE individuals with ADHD enjoy improvisation, so high-pressure pitches and shifting strategy may be less emotionally and cognitively taxing for these workers. If nurtured in the right way, these skills are extremely effective in business. While it’s fine to set individual tasks, ensure non-traditional roles still include a collaborative element. Encourage teams to share ideas and feedback on other workplace projects with each other to ensure everyone feels part of a team and no one becomes too isolated.

PROMOTE FLEXIBILITY AND TRANSPARENCY In a global workplace survey by Vodafone entitled ‘Flexible: friend or foe?’, 83% of respondents said adopting flexible working had helped improved productivity and 61% said it helped increase company profits. That’s why it’s valuable to move the culture of your business away from being dominated by how many hours employees work in the office. You can do this by writing flexible policies with work-from-home options and encouraging employees to use that time. Not only does this show 38

March 2018

Instagram’s Silicon Valley office

willingness to support individual needs, it’s a good way to alleviate the additional stress that comes with commuting or having to work overtime. Help people understand the nuances of their jobs, too. We want to celebrate employees’ unique offerings and diverse perspectives, but we also want them to understand how their individual routines, what they do and why they do it, contribute to overall business success.


About Colonial Life

‘Encouraging a subtle collaborative environment can prevent employees from feeling forced into sharing ideas and concerns’

CHALLENGE TRADITIONAL RECRUITING PROCESSES Employee Benefit News reports it costs employers 33% of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement if the worker leaves the company, so recruiting and retaining the right person for your business is vital. However, the behaviour of some individuals may run counter to common notions of what makes a good employee. This doesn’t mean solid communication skills, being a team player, emotional

Colonial Life is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, dental, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrolment technology and personal service support more than 86,000 businesses and organisations, representing 3.7mn of America’s workers and their families

intelligence and the ability to network aren’t all important skills to have in a workplace. But focusing only on traditional criteria may systematically screen out individuals with unique special talents. Think about ways you can adapt your hiring policies to encourage diversity. Could your interviews be conducted virtually? Some candidates may interview better in surroundings that are familiar to them. Or would it be better not to hold a traditional interview at all? 39


PEOPLE CREATIVE SPACES AROUND THE WORLD… What makes a creative space? Good design from the outset certainly helps. Fortune has mentioned some of its favourite offices around the world and these include…

Hyland Software

Adobe Systems – the company’s Lehi office features a rock-climbing wall so employees can take a break but stay motivated to make it to the top. The adaptation is part of Adobe’s wellness initiative and the idea was put forward by staff themselves. Autodesk – the company’s California office features a green space with deckchairs and hammocks so employees can take a well-earned rest or nap. This is part of a sleek, fresh design. Hyland Software – the company’s offices feature an onsite barber offering a relaxing wet shave in a comfortable chair. Boston Consulting Group – the company’s New York offices have 40

March 2018

Zappos office a photo wall which employees can decorate with their own snaps. This touch of personality encourages employees to “own the space” but remains in keeping with the sleek wooden design. Zappos.com – the Zappos Family office is bright and airy with an eclectic mix of styles and playful features, including a ball pit and stuffed camel.


‘By adapting your workplace to cater to a diverse array of age groups, personalities and work styles, you can drive better efficiency and performance’

Autodesk’s San Francisco office Adapting how the interview process is structured was a key action taken by Willis Towers Watson in its bid to attract colleagues on the autism spectrum. Company research revealed a work trial or test can often be a better way to assess someone’s suitability for a role.

CREATE CONNECTIONS While diversity is about celebrating and leveraging differences, no one wants to feel so unique they’re isolated from peers and adrift in the workplace. Prioritise organising employee resource and affinity groups – communities

within corporations that encourage people with similar experiences and backgrounds to connect. By providing such avenues for networking, socialising and mentoring, you demonstrate that diverse individuals are not only finding success within the company, they’re willing to help others succeed as well. With tools like these at their disposal, employees are far more likely to feel part of a diverse yet inclusive workforce. After all, what really matters is your workforce feels secure in an accepting work environment, allowing them – and your business – to thrive. 41


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General Motors’ Global Manager of Renewables Rob Threlkeld says right now is the most exciting time to work in sustainability – Business Chief finds out why Written by STUART HODGE


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or a company like General Motors (GM), sustainability is now a vital cog in its global operations. With businesses now working towards objectives set out in the Paris Agreement on Climate Action, there is now not just an incentive, but an imperative to work towards the goals delineated in the strategy, which aims for a global low-carbon economy by 2050. Companies have been aware of the need to take a more ecological outlook for a number of years now, well before the agreement was submitted to the UN. A byproduct of this has been an exponential increase in the pace of innovation we’ve seen 46

March 2018

General Motors World Headquarters

in the renewables space across all industries. It’s particularly true for GM, which has signed up to the RE100 agreement, outlining how the world’s most influential companies are committed to 100% renewable power. That pace of innovation is something that is only set to continue, says Rob Threlkeld, Global Manager of Renewables at GM. He believes it will only get quicker as time goes on. “You’ve definitely seen it rapidly


“From a company standpoint, we’re always looking for the most economic source of generation that we can procure and sometimes getting it to our facilities can be a challenge” – Rob Threlkeld, Global Manager of Renewables at GM

- Detroit, MI, USA

increase in the last five years,” he says, “especially with smart meters and other applications that allow you to choose when you use certain types of electricity – whether it’s green or not – and what the costs actually are. “It’s also in the transportation sector. Five years ago, there was not a lot of talk around autonomous vehicles. Electrification was starting to just start to come around. We only had the (Chevrolet) Volt at that

time. We’ve now got the Volt and the (Chevrolet) Bolt. But you can see this massive switch to where autonomous vehicles are definitely part of a future with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion components. You’ve seen this technology revolution in both the utility and transportation sectors. You’re going to see more change in those sectors in the next five years than we’ve seen in the last 50-100 years.” 47


BREAKING DOWN GM’S FOUR-PILLAR RENEWABLES STRATEGY… ENERGY EFFICIENCY GM knows that reducing its overall energy consumption, as a company, has a direct correlation to its renewable energy percentages. Whether it’s something as routine as switching out lights to LEDs, GM looks at how it can optimise its energy management systems around its production and manufacturing sites, in particular, to become energy efficient.

SOURCING RENEWABLES Finding out the cheapest and most efficient means by which renewable energy sources can be secured is vital to any company, particularly a global enterprise like GM. The main two methods GM uses to do this is through power purchase agreements or onsite generation.

ADDRESSING VARIANCE AND INTERMITTENCY On the automotive side, this can mean looking at what the company is doing in terms of its advanced transport operations, whether it's battery storage, electric vehicles, fuel cells, etc. On a more general basis it refers to what the company is doing to address the intermittency of renewables on the grid by innovating when it comes to, for example, using new storage technologies or electrification efforts.

IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES The final pillar is essentially how GM really leverages policy and scale to look at green tariffs, opportunities with utilities, and working with regional transmission operators. The company always looks to address the technology transformation that's going on in a way that has a “broader value” to the communities it builds manufacturing facilities on, as well as consumers.

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S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y ENERGY DEMAND Despite these disruptive changes in mentality and attitude, there are still plenty of concerns around where these efforts are ultimately headed. In the US, which remains GM’s primary base of operations, a recent report from the Wind Energy Foundation identified a serious gap between corporate America’s near-term demand for renewable energy and the electricity grid’s ability to meet that demand. Threlkeld says the issues cited in the report are simply part of the natural progression of change. “I think it’s just part of the evolution of the process,” he says. “Going back five years, as we looked at how corporations such as GM could scale up the use of renewables, it was more around what the companies really need to do in this space to engage with each other. The next logical step was: how do we gauge the utilities, which are really the natural potential owners of the renewable energy assets? That’s where we started to take off as we looked at green tariffs in the US and what utilities were starting to offer. “The last component in this natural progression is the issue of moving this

low-cost electricity. From a company standpoint, we’re always looking for the most economic source of generation that we can procure and sometimes getting it to our facilities can be a challenge. How do we now engage relevant stakeholders – the regional transmission operators or the independent system operators in this process – as technology drives the future both in utilities and transport? It has to be in a way that ultimately benefits all the customers. We don’t want to do unnecessary upgrades should technology supersede our work.”

ELECTRIC CARS AND THE FUTURE OF TRANSPORTATION While GM has grown to much more than just an automotive enterprise, it makes sense to scrutinise the sustainability of the company’s vehicular operations. The technological transformation of cars into electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and fuel cells has completely changed the way the organisation now looks at its automotive strategy. “Where we used to be more worried about the price of a litre of gasoline, it’s now focused on the cost of electricity, 49


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y and when the consumer actually utilises that electricity,” says Threlkeld. “You can see transformation with a lot of our efforts in energy efficiency and renewables in support of our manufacturing side of the operation that now impacts the product side. From a competitive standpoint, they’re really linked together in a way they weren’t before, even a few years ago. “Last October, we announced 20 new electric vehicles between now and 2023 as we march towards that all-electric future. The ‘zero emissions’ component is an important part of our product messaging and sets a competitive opportunity for us to look at how we viewed manufacturing in the past during our previous sustainability efforts. We’ve always focused the company in that direction. We’ve now got it both on the manufacturing and the product side when you look at the mobility component associated with the future of transportation.”

EFFECTIVE STRATEGISATION AND A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE GM’s four pillar sustainability strategy is fairly straightforward in terms of the goals it sets out and its implementation, but every 50

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decision the company makes is thoroughly considered and well thought out. Threlkeld says it is therefore important to stay on top of what’s happening with regards sustainability and renewables more widely. “I think it’s very important to strategise,” he affirms. “As a person who has always been educated by what’s going on in the industry, I like to read a lot of different articles on what the industry is doing. I need to feel the pulse of some of these technological changes and how they have an impact on the broader efforts in electrification, whether it’s transportation or renewables. It’s really about gaining that knowledge and then being able to strategise


GM’S RENEWABLE GOALS… • ALL FACILITIES TO BE POWERED BY 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY • ALL FACILITIES TO BE 100% LANDFILL FREE • ACHIEVE 20% REDUCTION IN ENERGY INTENSITY BY 2020 • ACHIEVE 20% REDUCTION IN CARBON INTENSITY BY 2020 • ACHIEVE 15% REDUCTION IN WATER INTENSITY BY 2020

HOW ARE THE EFFORTS GOING? “I think it's progressing well,” answers Threlkeld. “I just recently signed two 100-megawatt wind power purchase agreements to supply 100% of our load for seven of our manufacturing facilities in Ohio and Indiana. Those two were some of our largest deals to date and will actually get us to 20% of our electricity being matched with renewable energy by the end of 2018.”


S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

around all the changes taking place. Another change that Threlkeld has seen is a move away from simply considering the environmental, operational and potential PR consequences of any decisions regarding renewables, to a situation now where sustainability efforts are as much motivated by financial considerations as the other factors. “In every project we do, we look at it from the financial perspective and obviously pull all the additional intangible benefits, 52

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environmental attributes, the right things for the company to do in our efforts towards sustainability. Everything we’re looking at is purely driven by the financials now.� The renewables space, like any other, has its daily ups and downs as demand increases and decreases, despite the generally increasing need for it, and it works similarly on a month-to-month or year-toyear trend. Threlkeld feels that the process of learning when the peaks and troughs happen is an important


“I think battery storage is definitely going to be a disruptor in this space, as well as blockchain and artificial intelligence” – Rob Threlkeld, Global Manager of Renewables at GM

component of integrating the proper generation sources at the lowest cost possible. He is also aware that, when it comes to technology, it’s an ever-changing landscape, and is in no doubt as to where the next disruption may be coming from. “I think battery storage is definitely going to be a disruptor in this space, as well as blockchain and artificial intelligence,” asserts Threlkeld. “How do you leverage all the technology and what is going on in the systems, whether it’s the grid or an individual

solar array or your home? How do those all integrate together to move the system in a much smarter way so it could deploy generation assets when needed as well as reducing generation assets when not needed, such as charging electric vehicles when the grid is actually requesting you to do so. With those questions in mind, I think artificial intelligence, blockchain, and those efforts are going to be key for us going forward to really leverage this technological transformation.” 53


TORO

CITY FOCUS


ONTO BUSINESS CHIEF takes a look at the increasing importance of Toronto as a leading global financial center and the impact Donald Trump’s tax plan could have moving forward

Writ ten by STUART HODGE


CITY FOCUS

TORONTO IS PEOPLE SOMETIMES FORGET that Toronto is the fifth largest city in North America and the world’s seventh largest financial centre, but its importance to the Canadian economy should not be understated. Around 10% of Canada’s GDP is generated by Toronto alone and the city’s financial industry is a key driver of the country’s economy, generating 56

March 2018

$13bn and supporting employment for nearly half a million people. The city is now a bona fide international centre for business and finance and is considered the financial capital of Canada, since the five largest financial institutions of Canada, collectively known as the ‘Big Five’, have national offices in Toronto. Writing in The Globe and Mail,


‘IN KPMG’S COMPETITIVE ALTERNATIVES 2016 REPORT TORONTO RANKED FOURTH LOWEST IN TERMS OF TYPICAL BUSINESS COSTS’

BIG NEWS... Jennifer Reynolds, President & CEO of Toronto Financial Services Alliance, observed: “Financial services represent 8.5% of metro Toronto employment, up 25% since 2006, and 14% of the city’s GDP. Toronto’s strong pool of talent in financial services, almost 400,000 directly and indirectly employed professionals, coupled with the region’s significant

pool of technology talent, has also fostered growth in the city’s fintech ecosystem. This valuable pool of talent is also increasingly bringing foreign financial institutions to Toronto. “There’s the impact the sector has had on the growth and prosperity of Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs comprise 99.7% of all businesses in Canada and

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CITY FOCUS

‘ALL THAT REMAINS FOR TORONTO TO FULFIL ITS POTENTIAL FROM A FINANCIAL STANDPOINT IS TO PERHAPS INCREASE THE GLOBAL APPEAL OF THE CITY AS AN ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE’ 58

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are in many respects the backbone of the Canadian economy. Much of Canada’s reputation as a global leader in innovation is attributed to the opportunity that SMEs have to prosper. What is frequently lost in the narrative is the key role financial institutions play in the successful exploitation of the opportunities that Canadian SMEs represent. “The financial sector extended $243bn in credit to SMEs last year, up 25% since 2011, primarily in the form of loans for working capital and capital investments. SMEs also raised $21bn in capital on the TSX venture exchange in 2016 providing larger equity investments for companies later in their development. Insurance, payments processing, risk management and trade services and expertise are also critical financial services that support SMEs. Without these services, a modern, dynamic and resilient economy is impossible. “All of these elements have increased the prominence of Canada’s financial sector and Toronto’s ranking as a leading global financial center. The question is why is this strength not better appreciated internationally? In the context of this recent score card

for the financial sector, combined with the open and stable social and political environment in Canada, there is a unique window to attract capital, business and talent to the sector, and especially to Toronto.” An additional reason for this success is down to the cost advantages of operating in the Ontario capital. In KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives 2016 report (cited in Toronto Financial Services Alliance), which ranked 51 cities with a metropolitan population of at least 2mn, Toronto ranked fourth lowest, and first lowest among the major financial centers, in terms of typical business costs (labor, facilities, utilities, taxes, etc.) for financial services operations. Corporate income tax rates are competitive, as are employee healthcare costs, and according to KPMG’s Special Report: Focus on Tax (2016), Toronto has the lowest total tax cost amongst major international cities. All that remains for Toronto to fulfill its potential from a financial standpoint is to perhaps increase the global appeal of the city as an economic powerhouse, and there can now be no denying that it is a big player on the global stage. 59


CITY FOCUS

COULD TRUMP’S TAX BILL CREATE PROBLEMS? IN PRESIDENT TRUMP’S tax bill which was passed by the US Senate in December, the corporate tax rate was slashed from 35% to 21% and this somewhat negates the tax advantage that Canada has previously held over its southern neighbour, although the Canadian rate still stands at 15%. As well as that, there is a provision which allows companies to fully 60

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expense their business investments until 2022, which could be real draw for companies looking to relocate. The North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations are at an increasingly fraught stage as well, and the University of Calgary’s Jack Mintz, talking to The Star, says the two staples which have driven strong Canadian growth (i.e.


‘PEOPLE SOMETIMES FORGET THAT TORONTO IS THE FIFTH LARGEST CITY IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE WORLD’S SEVENTH LARGEST FINANCIAL CENTRE’

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CITY FOCUS Toronto is Canada’s business and financial capital, with the Toronto region contributing to 18% of Canada’s total GDP In 2017 Toronto was among the top five most liveable cities, global fintech centres and safest cities in the world Toronto covers around 630 sq km, with the wider Toronto region spanning 5,903 sq km Toronto’s population is 2.8mn while the entire region houses 6.2mn people in total

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CITY FOCUS a lower corporate tax rate, and free trade) both look to be in jeopardy. “Foreign companies that operate in North America are now going to look at ‘do I invest in Canada, with a small population, small market, to serve the North American market, or do I go to the United States?’” he said. “When they look at Canada they now see similar tax rates and similar burdens – and then they look at regulations in Canada, which are increasing as the US is reducing theirs.” The US economy cannot sustain the planned cuts without adding a whopping $1.5trn to the national deficit and, according to Kevin Milligan, professor of economics at the University of British Columbia, the tax reform is “potentially not sustainable”. He told Global News that that the US government would have to either ‘”trim spending or raise taxes back up in order to contain the fiscal bleeding”. There is a strong incentive for companies to return to the US with the new tax plan, but with such a drastic tax change being difficult to predict, it remains to be seen how it will fully affect Toronto – and Canada as a whole – on a long-term basis. 63


Top 10

EXPENSIVE RESTAURANTS IN CANADA Written by SAM MUSGUIN-ROWE


Looking to seal the deal with clients who expect only the best? From caviar pizzas to $1,000 steaks, you can find it all at Canada’s illustrious eateries


TOP 10

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Toqué! (Montreal) With an alluring pledge to “make the last bite just as memorable as the first”, Toqué! celebrates 25 years in business this year, and is the standard-bearer for all that is great about Montreal’s food scene. Its sevencourse tasting menu “with or without foie gras” is a $110 affair lasting upward of three hours, though with food of this quality you won’t want to leave.


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Eden (Banff) As a restauranteur, maître d’ and sommelier, Chad Greaves can be relied upon to take care of every little detail. It comes as no surprise, then, that Eden – lavished with awards since opening in 2003 – is lauded for its delicately crafted French cuisine, with a focus on local ingredients. For $140 guests are treated to oyster, prawn, goose and bison, finishing off with a spicy chocolate dessert. 67


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Alo (Toronto) A contemporary French restaurant and cocktail bar that sits atop a heritage building in downtown Toronto, Alo’s cuisine is a celebration of quality, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant is clearly doing something right since eager diners are often left waiting months, sometimes years, to successfully snare a table. The tasting menu, which costs $125, is totally blind, so to find out what’s in store guests will just have to join the queue.


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George (Toronto) Headed up by 2014 Canadian Culinary Champion and Gold Plate Chef, Lorenzo Loseto, George’s (or, rather, Lorenzo’s) 10-course tasting menu costs $130. Specifics are scant, although this is largely because each signature dinner is customwritten – based on a guest’s likes, dislikes and allergies, as well as seasonal availability.

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Gotham (Vancouver) A masterful blend of surf and turf, Gotham Steakhouse’s menu reads as a carnivorous delight. Guests should opt for the momentous $130 seafood tower followed by the tender and juicy $135 tomahawk steak. The restaurant also boasts an extensive wine list and is famed as “one of Vancouver’s few remaining art deco buildings”.


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Blue + Blue (Vancouver) Provided steak is ordered closer to blue than black, this steakhouse “with a contemporary twist� will no doubt deliver. In fact, Blue + Blue sells more beef than any other restaurant in Vancouver. So very proud of its steaks, the restaurant displays them in the centre of the dining room. Guests with a big appetite can opt for the 65-day aged 38oz porterhouse, priced at $120, while an even hungrier companion might choose the $145 48oz tomahawk.

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The Chase (Toronto) The Chase offers patrons a true taste of the ocean. Although there is also no shortage of inviting landbased and vegetarian options, this Toronto eatery has been made famous by its ‘Diamond Platter’, uniting Fogo Island snow crab, Nova Scotian lobster, prawns, shrimp, Dungeness crab, tuna, poached shellfish and oysters. Guests will be put out $185 by the decadent dish, but those who finish it all will have duly earned your sea legs.


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Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto (Toronto) Owner and chef, Masaki Hashimoto, landed in Toronto some three decades ago and has been serving up a loving taste of Japan for his hungry (and wealthy) patrons ever since. Following each eight-course ‘Kaiseki Dinner’ (“a cornucopia of gastronomical treats including tempura, cooked seasonal fish and even A5 Wagyu in some cases”, costing $245), there is a complimentary tea ceremony, to shed light on Japanese culture.

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Steveston Pizza Co. (Richmond) A non-descript pizza shop in a non-descript building, Steveston actually has a slew of awards to its name and, most deliciously, sells one of the most expensive pizzas on the planet. A “medley of tiger prawns, lobster ratatouille, smoked steelhead, Russian Osetra caviar, snowed with Italian white truffles”, the Seenay 12-inch pie costs a lofty $690. Not a seafood fan? There’s always the $13 Margherita.


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Jacob’s & Co. Steakhouse (Toronto) At first glance it might look like a misprint, but an 18oz slab of Kobe ribeye (or, to give it its full title: A5 Kobe Black Tajima-Hyogo Prefecture, Japan) really does cost $805. This swanky, wooddecked steakhouse is full of exorbitant – though extraordinarily tasty – cuts. These range from a humble $35 6oz Canadian tenderloin up to the 18oz Kobe, via such beefy delights as the whopping $345 25oz AAco Westholme Wagyu-Queensland T-bone.

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Click to watch an introduction to Great-West Lifeco

EMBRACING FUTURE RESPECTING PAST THE

THE


Great-West Lifeco’s digital transformation

Great-West Lifeco’s Canadian companies are undergoing one of the most significant transformations in their 100-plus year history. As it looks to the future, the company aims to keep one element securely in the centre of it all – the customer Written by Dale Benton | Produced by Glen White


G R E AT- W E S T L I F E C O

F

or any organisation, of any size, undergoing an extensive digital transformation is no small feat. For Great-West Lifeco Inc. (Lifeco) and its Canadian-based companies, which have been providing insurance, benefit and financial solutions to Canadians for more than a century, the challenge centres upon maintaining a promise the company has made since it was founded. “As a company, we’ve long offered a promise to our customers – to improve their well-being, to keep their personal information safe, and to be there when they need us most,” says Philip Armstrong, Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer (CIO). “Our digital transformation is all about building upon this promise. We’re strengthening how we protect customer data and investing in new digital solutions that will provide convenient service for our customers anytime, anywhere.” As Global CIO, Armstrong’s role is crucial in the delivery of this transformation. Lifeco has carefully selected technology partners

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like Cisco, SAP, IBM, Microsoft, FireEye, Zscaler and IPSoft to completely transform its entire technology ecosystem. Armstrong feels strongly that the role of the Global CIO has also significantly evolved alongside this journey. “Traditionally, I think that companies first created a business strategy and then looked at how technology could underpin and support that strategy,” he says. “Today, with technology moving so fast, technology is a key driver in determining business strategy. The CIO is now expected to actively partner in the business transformation process, from design to execution.” Lifeco is a global provider of financial services, comprised of a number of companies that operate predominantly in Canada, Europe, and the US. Armstrong is tasked with overseeing a number of regional CIOs together with motivated technologists located around the globe. “We have approximately 3,400 technologists within our core technology teams,” he says, “and


CANADA

Philip Armstrong Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer Philip joined Great-West Lifeco in January of 2016 and is currently responsible for all technology strategy, delivery, infrastructure, procurement and operations, with a focus on technology architecture, cyber security, digital transformation, hybrid-cloud enablement, employee productivity, big data analytics, A.I. and robotic process automation. Reporting to the CEO, Philip is a member of the Lifeco Executive Management Committee. Philip has 38 years of progressive global technology experience, as a CIO, senior technology executive, and technology consulting strategist. Prior to joining GreatWest Lifeco, Philip held global roles as the Chief Digital Technology Officer for Sun Life Financial and the Chief Technology Officer for Manulife Financial/John Hancock. Philip holds a Bachelor of Administrative Studies (BAS) from York University and a B/TEC from Leeds University (Keighley college). Philip serves as a Board Member for the TBM Council, and an advisor on the Trusted Advisory Board (TAB)

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G R E AT- W E S T L I F E C O

“WITH TECHNOLOGY MOVING SO FAST, IT’S BEEN CRITICAL THAT TECHNOLOGY BECOMES A KEY DRIVER OF OUR BUSINESS STRATEGY” – Philip Armstrong, Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer

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we’ve recently aligned them closely with our different business groups; this blurs the lines between what would traditionally be a technical or a business role. This alignment helps us be more agile and outcome based. It allows our business to better leverage technology to meet the future needs of our customers.” The changing face of technology Technology has always been Armstrong’s first passion. He began his career working on the frontlines of technology in England in 1979, before the personal computer arrived on people’s desks. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming the CIO of a leading Toronto based financial services company at the age of 29. Since then, his technology career has provided him opportunities to visit and work in 48 different countries. Armstrong has seen first-hand how technology has evolved over several decades and how each new wave of advancement has influenced business models. He

argues that one of the most significant changes has been how we now perceive technology’s potential. “In the early days, I watched as technical solutions were positioned with rampant overselling, which led to unrealistically high expectations and the inevitable disappointment of broken promises,” he says. “Today’s technology platforms are so powerful that their potential is often ahead of what most companies need. There’s never been a more exciting time to work in the technology field and turn that potential into a reality.” Armstrong joined Lifeco as Global CIO in 2016 to advance the company in how they could leverage technology across their group of companies. “It’s about changing how we apply technology to provide modern timely services for our customers,” he says. “We believe strongly in putting the customer at the centre of what we do, and that translates into the decisions that we make around what technologies and services we intend to roll out.” Lifeco’s Canadian companies

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Applications have moved to modern cloud platforms.

Users have moved to modern mobile networks.

Security has been stuck in the past. Until now.


Zscaler brings you

securely into the cloud era Zscaler helps leading organizations like Great-West Life securely migrate from the old world of IT to the new world of cloud and mobility. Hub & Spoke Internet gateway

Direct to Cloud

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Transform securely to the cloud with Zscaler if you want to • Improve security while eliminating the cost and complexity of appliances • Deliver a fast user experience with secure local internet breakouts • Secure SD-WAN deployments and minimize MPLS costs • Securely connect users to apps over the internet without remote access VPNs

Today, more traffic is going to the internet than our data center, so we decided to use local internet breakouts and let them flow securely through Zscaler.

Learn more at zscaler.com © 2018 Zscaler, Inc. Zscaler is a trademark or registered trademark of Zscaler Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the properties of their owners.

Frederik Janssen Global Head of IT Infrastructure Siemens


“WE SEE TECHNOLOGY AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ENHANCE THESE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS THAT ARE SO KEY TO OUR SUCCESS” – Philip Armstrong, Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer

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have served Canadians for more than a century, and Armstrong says their transformation is really about positioning them for the future. “We’re embracing the future, while respecting our past. We have a proud heritage of helping Canadians with services and expert financial advice. We’re looking to use the power of technology to find new ways to improve the financial, physical and mental well-being of our customers.”

24,300 Number of Employees at Great-West Lifeco worldwide

Evolving customer needs Armstrong believes that while customer expectations of technology have risen, many aspects of the financial services industry have been slow to respond. “The modern customer wants immediate access to their financial information augmented with timely advice that empowers them to make better decisions,” says Armstrong. “Advice-based insurance and wealth management business models within Canada have approached technology cautiously, fearing it would provide an unnecessary barrier that gets in the way of what is a very personal relationship between financial planners, advisors and the customer.” But according to Armstrong, Lifeco isn’t shying away from this challenge, and instead, views it as a strategic opportunity. “We’re listening very closely to both our customers and financial advisors. We see emerging technology as an opportunity to significantly enhance these personal relationships that are so important to our overall success.”

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What’s the difference between intelligence and knowledge? It’s about enabling you to use information, not just have it.

Protecting personally identifiable information (PII) that Finance and Insurance organizations are entrusted with. This is the FireEye story.


The Difference

We’re in the business of keeping promises, where we put the customer at the center of everything we do. Unfortunately today, you can’t do that without sophisticated protection and intelligence.

FireEye gives us a distinctive competitive edge where we can feel confident about delivering on our promises. —PHILIP ARMSTRONG EVP & Global CIO Great-West Lifeco

© 2018 FireEye, Inc. All rights reserved.


G R E AT- W E S T L I F E C O

The company is listening intently to its customers, identifying their pain points and building a technology ecosystem that can rapidly respond and adapt to the customers’ wants and needs. “It’s a modernisation process that starts from front to back,” says Armstrong. “You have to examine how your customers are interacting with you, and many of ours do so through intermediaries. We have

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to equip financial advisors and our distributors with digital solutions that enable them to be more productive, more informed, and more connected, so they can provide exceptional service to their customers.” “Where it makes sense, we’re helping advisors and clients by providing customers with new digital self-service capabilities. Within our own business operations, process automation, machine learning,


CANADA

“WE’RE LOOKING TO EMPOWER OUR

EMPLOYEES TO BE MORE MOBILE AND PRODUCTIVE, SO THEY CAN FOCUS ON OUR CUSTOMERS AND PROVIDE THE EXCELLENT SERVICE THAT SETS US APART” – Philip Armstrong, Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer

data analytics and AI technologies are helping to streamline and reduce business processing costs, enhance responsiveness, and increase employee productivity.” Rising customer expectations and the industry’s competitive landscape are also reshaping the way Lifeco approaches systems and solutions delivery. “Our technology development process was much more inward looking, today it’s a more organic process that has to be closely aligned with what customers want, need and expect. ”

Armstrong points to how Agile development methodologies and ways of working are becoming the preferred way at Lifeco, bringing together crossfunctional, full-stack teams that are able to deliver quickly. To him, this is often the biggest cultural change. “It’s no longer good enough to work on requirements, develop code, wait six months, and then present the result – the traditional waterfall approach. There needs to be shorter, sharper sprints, allowing us to reduce execution risk and respond to opportunities in the marketplace as they happen.”

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Artificial Intelligence: Re-inventing the Customer Experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is creating new paths to provide a better customer experience across industries. Many Canadian businesses, organizations and researchers are piloting AI technologies – fo for everything from interactive insurance claims processing, to advanced medical diagnostics, to personalized service. AI in customer experience in particular is generating a high degree of enthusiasm as companies consider how this technology can be used to assist and augment their overburdened human workforces.

Amelia is the only AI ready to transform entire processes at scale, from intelligent front office conversations to smart back office execution ex

Delivering this kind of elevated human-like digital experience is imperative because customers are demanding it. Research from Accenture -- noting that 52% of consumers said they have switched providers due to poor cu customer service -- found that human interaction is a critical component for customer satisfaction, and recommends providing “human elements” across digital channels.

100 King Street West, Suite 5710 First Canadian Place Toronto, Ontario M5X 1C7

P: +1 647-255-6700 E: amelia@ipsoft.com W: www.ipsoft.com


Companies must be diligent in selecting the AI tech that will deliver those elements and the best experience for their various audiences and communities. An effective AI solution needs to be scalable to handle high inquiry and transaction volumes, self-learning so it can improve services it delivers over time, conversationally interactive so it can connect with end-users, collaborative to work with human agents and employees, and intelligent to detect users’ sentiments and emotions and provide support in an empathetic way. Amelia can communicate with customers 24/7 in the proper context and through multiple channels like laptops, mobile phones and even virtual home assistants (like Alexa or Google Home). Recognizing these trends, Great-West Life Insurance Company is looking to leverage IPsoft’s Amelia to enhance its customer-facing platforms with cognitive AI technology.

“We recognize the great potential that AI technology like Amelia can deliver to our customers,” said Philip Armstrong, Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer at Great-West Lifeco. “Customer satisfaction is our highest priority, and Amelia will provide enhanced levels of accuracy and efficiency for our customers.” Amelia is more advanced than chatbots, which provide only static pre-programmed responses to customer queries that often do little to enhance overall customer satisfaction. Amelia elevates customer interactions to the cu point where users feel as if they’re talking to a human that cares about their needs. She provides human-like intimacy and interaction at scale that helps companies build long-term customer bu relationships, while at the same time keeping costs in check. Great-West LifeCo will be able to take advantage of best practices from other IPsoft clients, even those outside its industry. For example, SEB, the leading Nordic corporate bank, is utilizing Amelia for account password resets, pa

step-by-step assistance with credit and debit cards, and banking location services with its customers. Amelia has reached a 90% accuracy rate in understanding and completing tasks, and co correctly hands-off queries to her human co-workers when necessary. At IPsoft, we believe in AI’s ability to transform business and transform our lives. Our customers are achieving real-life business benefits from their Amelia investments while delivering an exceptional customer experience. Companies like Great-West Lifeco are pioneering the use of cognitive AI in customer service and driving the industry toward a new digital future.

For more information about Amelia, visit www.ipsoft.com/amelia


RIGHT NOW, YOUR BUSINESS CAN GO IN A MILLION DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS. AND ONE OF THEM IS RIGHT.

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T:297 mm

The art of the possible Armstrong emphasized the importance of aligning Lifeco’s strategic business plan and technology vision. “I consider myself to be living in the future, my job is to envision what could be and then partner with my business colleagues to define the art of the possible,” he says. “We have a clear business vision, but marrying that vision with emerging technologies often drives new possibilities that weren’t previously considered.” “Working this way requires a major cultural change, operating model re-alignments and a more flexible organisation structure. This has been a major part of our transformation journey. It’s vitally important to know where you’re going and having everyone aligned towards that goal. That congruence of vision, action and technology is how you start to move from where you are today, to your destination in the future.” A transformational journey For Lifeco’s Canadian companies

this latest transformation represents one of the biggest turning points in their illustrious history. They’re working to reinvent the organization’s core technologies and business processes, many of which have been successfully operated for decades. With every major component of technology now in a state of flux, being replaced, modernized, moved to the cloud, or retired; surely this creates a higher level of operational risk? “I think it’s far riskier not to change,” says Armstrong. “Indeed, we are acutely aware of how well these transformation activities and risks need to be managed, but we’re also aware of our industry’s future direction. We know its advancement will be largely fuelled by technology innovation. We’re not going to wait for the industry to change, we want to be proactive and drive this change.” “I don’t know of a larger technologybased transformation happening within financial services across Canada right now. Our digital and business transformation will differentiate our company

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KEY PARTNERS

“Early in our planning, we realised that if we are going to transform our digital capabilities we would need a strong technology foundation. So the first thing we needed to address was our core Canadian network, and to do this we developed a strong partnership with Cisco.” “Cisco designed and built an intelligent state-of-the-art, leaf-andspine, software-defined network that provides us with secure access, increased responsiveness, robust stability and scalability. This now provides us with a clear competitive edge to support all of our digital aspirations.”

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“Partnering with Microsoft has provided our employees with the latest in office productivity and collaboration tools, such as Office 365 and the Azure cloud. We’re transforming our campuses through wireless access, enabling desktopto-desktop communication tools through Skype, and activating digital collaboration spaces equipped with Microsoft Surface Hubs.” “Supporting employee mobility and enhanced connectivity gives us the freedom to work where, when and how we want, increasing productivity and collaboration.”


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“We’ve been working closely with IBM to completely modernize our data centre and to support a hybrid-cloud environment. We’ve rethought how we store information, how we retrieve information, how we configure our servers, to ensure our infrastructure is secure, fast and efficient. We’re also modernizing our mainframes, allowing for rapid data access. IBM is providing and partnering with us on our data intelligence technology stack, another fast moving area within our company.”

“We have a very close relationship with SAP, which provide us with a variety of quality platforms and services. SAP platforms power our corporate financial systems, augmented with products such as Insurance Analyzer, HR solutions, and in-memory computing capabilities like HANA. Our cloud-based development stack also includes tools like Hybris. With changing regulations such as GDPR and IFRS, having a large global partner like SAP has proven to be invaluable.”

Click to hear about Great-West Lifeco’s partners of choice


INTUITIVE. INTUITIVE. Digital transformation is creating new customer experiences, transforming business

Digital transformation is creating new customer experiences, transforming business models, and empowering workforce innovation. Infrastructures of yesterday struggle to models, and empowering workforce innovation. Infrastructures of yesterday struggle to support the needs of today’s innovative businesses. support the needs of today’s innovative businesses.

Cisco is proud to have partnered with Great-West Life to deliver a software-defined foundation powering transformation and ensuring theofsuccess of their nextfoundation powering theirtheir transformation and ensuring the success their nextgeneration endeavours. generation endeavours.

Great-West Life benefits from a highly secure, flexible, data-driven infrastructure and th clients and policyholders benefit from entirely new technology-enabled user experience delivered anywhere and at anyat time. delivered anywhere and any time.

Great-West Life and Cisco together are pushing the boundaries of how financial service

areare delivered in Canada. delivered in Canada.

©2018 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.


CANADA

$1.2trn

Consolidated assets under administration

heir es

es

and position us to remain competitive going forward.” A vital part of Lifeco’s strategy has been to establish strong partnerships with leading global technology providers including Cisco, Microsoft, IBM and SAP. Through these strategic partnerships, Lifeco has been able to leverage their partners’ R&D capacity and gain access to some of technology’s biggest and brightest talent pools. “We work closely with our large

technology partners, spending time to understand their solutions and roadmaps, and then applying suites of integrated technology to business challenges and opportunities. This avoids spending most of our time trying to integrate disparate technology solutions, forcing them to work together.” “For us, this is an efficient model where we leverage the expertise offered by these large technology partners, and they’ve been fantastic to work with.”

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Great-West Lifeco and the importance of cyber security

“We take cyber security very seriously. I’m a great believer in a defence and depth strategy, where you have multiple layers of protection technology that overlap. Cyber criminals are getting more sophisticated, and you have to respond with more sophisticated defences.” “Our primary partner in cyber security is FireEye, we’re currently using their endpoint detection and remediation technologies. We’re also a valued subscriber of their threat intelligence feeds, iSight services, and we use their consulting organization, Mandiant, quite extensively. FireEye is passionate about cyber protection, and we’ve been delighted with the strength of our partnership and

SECURED DATA the results we’ve seen so far.” “But it’s not good enough just to dig a moat around your data centre and protect your employees’ devices anymore. You have to extend your cyber security fabric and protection out to the intelligent edge of your network, out to the cloud and the internet. We’re using cloud-enabled cyber protection companies, like Zscaler and their sophisticated sandboxing technology, to extend our defences well outside the data centre to the intelligent edge. Zscaler was the first to move into this space in a big way, and we have a strong relationship with this talented team. Cyber is such a complicated, fast moving space that you have to choose your partners carefully - and we have.”


CANADA

The buzz of technological change Armstrong acknowledges that this year, the financial services technology industry will be awash with technology buzzwords and jargon, coupled with an unprecedented amount of disruption and transformation. Artificial intelligence, conversational AI, machine learning, cloud, bots, blockchain, and big data analytics, are all major trends across the industry. What is Lifeco doing with these technologies to ensure that they are truly advancing their business priorities, and not falling for the marketing hype? “A large part of my job is to position cloud, artificial intelligence, conversational AI, machine learning and process automation technologies within our organization in a practical way that delivers real value,” says Armstrong. “We have lofty ambitions and strive to leverage these technologies to serve more customers, across the channel of their choice, using any device, at any time, and in the language of their choice.”

Armstrong says that the only way to incrementally deliver towards this goal is to invest in process automation, digital technologies and artificial intelligence. Lifeco has already started to integrate robotic process automation into its operational work environment. Another important strategy is the introduction and integration of IPSoft’s conversational AI platform, which Lifeco is piloting. IPSoft offers one of the most comprehensive conversational AI platforms on the market today with the ability to communicate with customers in multiple languages, across multiple

30+ Million customer relationships

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This is not a cloud. This is the IBM Cloud. This is a car protected from storms by an insurance company that knows the weather down to the square block. This is a diamond tracked on a Blockchain—protected against fraud, theft and trafficking. This is a financial transaction secure from hacks and threats others can’t see. This is the IBM Cloud. Built for all of your applications. AI ready. Secure to the core. The IBM Cloud is the cloud for smarter business. ibm.com/cloud

IBM and its logo, ibm.com and Watson are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. See current list at ibm.com/trademark. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. ©International Business Machines Corp. 2018. P32787


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channels, while evolving and adapting Armstrong. “We’re working to create from each customer interaction. a truly digital workplace that supports Armstrong also believes that AI enhanced mobility, connectivity, will be critical in helping financial productivity and collaboration services companies, like Lifeco, across the company. We’re looking extract value from large datasets. to empower our employees with “I think you’ll start to see artificial simple yet powerful tools, so they can intelligence being applied in situations focus on our customers and provide where the quantity of the excellent service data is so vast that that sets us apart.” it overwhelms the Armstrong concedes human capabilities that simply deploying of our analysts,” he technology for employees says. “In these cases, isn’t always enough, Year founded AI will empower often, this is when the our employees to real work begins. spot trends, solve “We structure problems, and make agreements with our decisions faster.” strategic partners where they directly assist with the Empowering Employees implementation of the technologies Lifeco prides itself on placing the they provide. They help to educate customer at the centre of their strategic our employees, facilitate training decisions, but Armstrong is quick to and co-own our adoption goals. The call out that it is employees who bring productivity gains we’re seeking will this promise to life each and every day. only come from intelligent usage “Customers are at the centre of and full adoption of the new tools.” what we do, but our employees are Modernizing the employee the foundation of our success,” says experience extends further as

1847

CANADA LIFE

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G R E AT- W E S T L I F E C O

“WE CAN’T WAIT TO START SHARING THE FRUITS OF OUR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION WITH CANADIANS” – Philip Armstrong, Executive Vice-President and Global Chief Information Officer

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evidenced by Lifeco’s new physical office designs. Some of Lifeco’s iconic buildings have stood for nearly a century and are a testament to the company’s heritage. In what Armstrong described as a metaphor for Lifeco’s transformation, these buildings are also undergoing a significant transformation. Inside you see fresh, modern office interiors that offer flexible, open and collaborative work environments. Armstrong points to improved collaboration and team responsiveness as a direct result of the new environments and wireless enabled workspaces. “Enhancing both our physical and digital work environments brings our global workforce together, allowing us to collaborate more effectively and deliver faster,” he says. “New cloud-based collaboration tools and digitally-enabled meeting rooms connect people from different

offices and across the globe, as if they’re working side-by-side.” Respecting the past, embracing the future Technological transformation will never truly end; it will remain a continuously evolving journey. Armstrong believes that for Lifeco, 2017 was a foundational year, and 2018 will yield more visible results. “In 2017, we brought in what I’d like to describe as core technology building blocks,” he says. “Now that we have those in place, we can start arranging and connecting them in new and exciting ways that have never been done before. That’s when our customers and employees will start to see a bit of a quantum leap. We can’t wait to start sharing the fruits of our digital transformation efforts with Canadians.”

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A 1967 Ford Falcon Rebuilt for Fanshawe’s 50th Anniversary


ENGAGING A COMMUNITY THROUGH EDUCATION The college of the future needs to be run as much on vision as fixed processes. Innovation through IT is helping to shape this future at Fanshawe College, explains its strategically-minded CIO Written by John O’Hanlon Produced by Glen White


FA N S H A W E C O L L E G E

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anshawe College, or to give it its full title, Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology, has just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Established at London, Ontario in 1967 as the successor to the Ontario Vocational Centre, it has since grown to become one of Canada’s largest further education institutions, with additional campuses at Simcoe, St. Thomas and Woodstock. It enrols close to 45,000 full-time, part-time and online students each year, not only from Canada and south-western Ontario, but from some 80 other countries around the world, and offers more than 200 degree, diploma, certificate, graduate certificate and apprenticeship programmes. Subjects available include applied arts, business, healthcare, human services, hospitality and technology, and Fanshawe also provides re-skilling and skill upgrading opportunities for mature learners sponsored by business and industry or by government. Since 2013, Peter Gilbert been Chief Information Officer (CIO) of this hugely important regional college,

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adding a second key role to his portfolio in February 2017 – that of Chief Infrastructure Officer. So, he’s a double CIO: “Over the last couple of years the opportunity arose to expand the purely IT work more into the actual running and building of our facilities, and it became clear that many of the challenges facing an IT department are shared by a facilities department.” Smart facilities, he explains, depend so heavily on IT these days that the old demarcations are disappearing. As an example, he cites parking. Anyone visiting a large campus anywhere in the world will know what a pain it is to drive around looking for a space – and the cost in wasted time and missed appointments can be significant. Fanshawe has more than 3,000 parking spaces for students and staff, all on the flat, and of course there are never enough of them at peak times. “We’re now starting to look at smart parking solutions that would direct people to available parking, rather than having to drive round and round,” says Gilbert. Part of the solution would be for many more people to use public transport, but


TECHNOLOGY

Peter Gilbert CIO

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TECHNOLOGY

“We’re taking the best project management practice from both facilities and IT” – Peter Gilbert, CIO

for those who need to use a car, not having to use up time and fuel looking for a parking place would help achieve the college’s carbon reduction goals. Gilbert is considering introducing a card-based entry system, which would also facilitate payment. Another example is that of physical security. Issuing and tracking keys is a poor way to ensure that buildings are secured: a centrally controlled smart card system is much more robust, and would allow the campus or a section of it to be locked down fast in an emergency. “We’re taking the best project management practice from both facilities and IT. Project management was born in the construction industry, and they’re very good at it, but over the years

IT has adapted that and become good at that as well. But construction projects often end when a building is handed over whereas IT extends right into operation and maintenance.” Tracking and reporting on its physical assets while at the same time being able to respond in a timely manner to service requests from facilities managers in all parts of the campus has been made a lot easier by IT initiatives at Fanshawe. In particular, partnering with real estate services provider JLL Technology Solutions, it implemented ARCHIBUS facilities management software to support all its facilities operations. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution was deployed within the JLL Cloud environment within just three months.

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Gilbert is enthusiastic about the opportunities for IT and innovation to make a difference to the student experience too. With an increasing number of students on campus, it’s important to automate as many of the paper-based enrolment processes as possible, he says. And once the students are admitted, they quickly learn that Fanshawe will help unlock their potential in ways they had not expected. “Innovation is at our core, and we’re always looking for ways to

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push the envelope. We introduced iPads into learning several years ago, which really unlocked the potential of students that come to us with fewer academic qualifications, or who had additional challenges such as autism.” iPads have been around a while now, but young people are increasingly buying drones, which are readily available. In anticipation of new laws surrounding usage, Fanshawe introduced a drone course and encouraged students to


TECHNOLOGY

Fanshawe at the 2018 Food and Wine Show

become certified operators. It was a far-sighted decision: “We’re seeing regulation coming in, and I think we’re well positioned to help train people in the proper use of that technology.” Drones are an engaging, and far from being just fun technology. Gilbert believes one of the benefits of the college system lies in its use of employer groups to help advise curriculum development. “Technology is creeping into every aspect of the world, and getting employers to help

us design the next generation of courses leads to a two-way learning process. Sometimes our students will enlighten the employer, other times the employer will enlighten the student that they employ. I think a lot of our future innovation will come from the innovation that’s happening in the many businesses we serve with our graduates.” This virtuous circle is epitomised in the close relationship Fanshawe has with the construction industry. The

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TECHNOLOGY

Students and staff taking part in a United Way fundraising event featuring remote controlled cars

London Home Builders’ Association (LHBA) is a case in point, providing a lot of feedback to college building programs. “They also create research opportunities for our students as well,” he adds. “One of our goals is that every student who goes through Fanshawe should have at least one applied research experience as part of their time here. Construction firms always have projects under development that need tweaking before they become the new mainstream product, and our students are more than happy to assist in

some of that applied research.” The Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI) is Fanshawe College’s Research Office and Industry Innovation Centre (IIC). CRI links industry, business and community partners with Fanshawe student and faculty researchers to develop research and innovation projects and programmes, and serves as the College’s liaison to external funders. Gilbert is excited about the concept of an ‘Innovation Village’ that would be much more than a fancy name for a community hub. “It’s built on the

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“One of our goals is that every student who goes through Fanshawe should have at least one applied research experience as part of their time here” – Peter Gilbert, CIO

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TECHNOLOGY

View of Fanshawe new downtown building

African proverb that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. It’s the antithesis of the old teaching model where a student comes in, takes a course and leaves. What we’re trying to work towards is a ‘village’, part physical and part virtual, where the student can encounter professors and also people from different professions, some of them retired perhaps, who want to mentor and indeed learn from new students.” He sketches a campfire scene round which young people learn from the people who have done the job or lived the experience in the

past; sharing experiences, but also reaching out to others from different disciplines. “You might introduce somebody into the village that has financial background to a group that’s talking about architecture questions or a marketing person to come in and help take ideas out into the community, or socialise them. It takes more than just a few professors to make a difference for a person. It’s the whole experience, involving a variety of people and materials that they could experiment with,” says Gilbert.

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EMPOWERING

EMPLOYEES

THROUGH

TECHNOLOGY Written by Nell Walker Produced by Glen White


ADAM TEMPLETON, DIRECTOR OF IT AT AECON GROUP, EXPLAINS HOW THE BUSINESS DOES EVERYTHING IN ITS POWER TO SUPPORT ITS EMPLOYEES WITH TECHNOLOGY ON AND OFF THE CONSTRUCTION SITE


AECON GROUP

D

igitalisation is inevitable. IT is improving all the time across all industries, and while some are trapped in legacy systems and oldfashioned ways of thinking, no sector is exempt from the march of progress. Construction can often be one such sector where digitalisation is a little slower or more limited, but Aecon is aiming to buck the trend by making its business more high-tech and user-friendly. The success Aecon enjoys in this area is partly due to the way it treats customers, employees, and the inclusion of forward thinking, talented staff, such as its Director of IT Adam Templeton. Templeton joined Aecon straight out of higher education seven years ago, beginning in Client Services and working his way up to his leadership role – a chance afforded to him by virtue of Aecon’s dedication to staff enrichment. “Aecon has programs in place to retain talent,” he explains – the business has an integrated development program under the banner Aecon University. “It allows employees to decide what

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type of development and growth opportunities they’d like to achieve, and the company will work with you to get there. I was part of a new Aecontailored leadership cohort entitled the Future Leaders Program.” Templeton says this educational experience enables employees to develop a better understanding of the business, the sector, and the particular subject on which they wish to focus. “At the time it was invaluable. Gaining experience from different business units allowed me to understand what their challenges and pain points were. I was then able to bring that knowledge back to the technology group and drive real change in IT, providing tremendous value to the business.” As a result of Aecon’s investment into the care of its employees, it enjoys a very low turnover of staff, and regularly analyses skills gaps to work out what the business needs more of. One requirement that never changes is


TECHNOLOGY

“We’ve looked at driving business value internally; how do we improve the way we work? How do we improve the way we are seen externally to our business clients? How can we provide value to them using technology?” – Adam Templeton, Director of IT

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TECHNOLOGY

Aecon’s focus on safety. Everything Aecon does – with regard to IT or otherwise – concentrates on the safety and security of its employees as a core value. “Our people and getting them home safely to their families is our number one priority. From a business perspective, we don’t win business if we have a poor safety record,” says Templeton. As a result, Aecon has implemented technology to support this value. “Generally, in the construction industry, it can be difficult to track safety certifications or competencies,” Templeton explains. “Rather than asking employees to recomplete certifications as they move to different roles or employers, we use a tool called Success Factors that tracks the safety records of all employees, ensuring managers do not need to put certain employees through the safety regiment all over again.” This ensures workers do not waste time unnecessary doubling up on training, instead earning their certification in a timely manner so foremen can be assured of an employee’s suitability. For

Templeton, technology at Aecon is all about making construction environments a better, safer, and more efficient place to be. “It’s exciting to me, especially from a technology point of view. We’ve looked at driving business value internally. How do we improve the way we work? How do we improve the way we are seen externally to our business clients? How can we provide value to them using technology? “There are areas in which we can track underground fibre using augmented reality, or use 360-degree cameras in our utility vehicles to start tracking the degradation of utility poles on the side of the road without the actual employee having to analyse it. There are tracking and inspection within the utility tools and software that we’re looking at, and that drives straight down to the bottom line – not just to Aecon, but to our customer.” This level of digitalisation is just one example of Aecon pushing value beyond its own business units and caring for workers. On-site, staff enjoy all the advantages of IT, connecting them to equipment and vehicles for

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a firmer grasp of hazard control, with operations being managed from within a cockpit in Fort McMurray. Part of Aecon’s successful embracing of technological advancements is the partnerships it has made with the experts. The business is using SAP Fiori in-house, with third party expertise from RTS and Sodales, and iOS is being used to keep workers connected. Ultimately, Templeton thanks those on-site for guiding these IT choices. With up to 5,000 connected devices deployed in the field utilizing three telecoms providers, expense management is also a major concern. Aecon has partnered with Montreal-based Cimpl to address this particular challenge. “They actually analyze the invoices on a month to month, calculating any surcharges or any differences in payment to our rate cards and basically giving us back credits based on that. They’ve helped us in managing down to the penny all of our telco expenses, and driving huge savings for us.” “We also partner within the


“We also partner within the business units, because we’re not the experts. The employees in the field are those experts and they will identify a challenge” – Adam Templeton, Director of IT business units, because we’re not always the experts. The employees in the field are much more hands on and sometimes in a better position to identify a challenge. Sometimes they will go the extra mile and say, ‘Hey Adam, we found this new tool – can we do a pilot of it?’ “The team will then work directly with that business unit to do a dry run. Another challenge within our industry is that each business unit can be unique, so it can be difficult to standardise the entirety of our process across one platform.”

To overcome this issue, Aecon works to create a bespoke service which suits the task at hand, driving better communication companywide and always referring back to the core values. While Aecon may not be embarking on an allencompassing transformation, it is always working on the improvement of ever-evolving issues. “I wouldn’t say we’ve completed a full digital transformation,” says Templeton. “We have functional and technical developers in-house, and we have business process leaders

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TECHNOLOGY

“We are trying to move fast. We are trying to be closer to that leading edge” – Adam Templeton, Director of IT

within each business unit. Whereas in the past, we were relying solely on a third party to provide that level of support and development for us.” Aecon continues to steadily improve its operations, always making enhancements using the Aecon Centre of Excellence – or ACE Group – to blaze a trail. With partners and third-party contributors, the business treats its relationships as a hybrid way of working, because “it’s important that from a business perspective, clients are still seeing Aecon,” says Templeton. In the future, Aecon will continue to take ownership of its technological operations whilst being bolstered by carefully-chosen vendors, ensuring that safety remains a priority. This extends to cyber security, something that will become ever more important as technology advances; Templeton is determined

that Aecon does not go the way of many companies currently suffering the effects of security breaches. “Cyber security is something that has been a main area of focus for Aecon. We’ve introduced a security team to work with our internal and external partners to ensure it remains a priority,” he says. Breaking away from legacy systems that can often slow down the industry will also remain a passion for Templeton and his team: “We are trying to move fast. We are trying to be closer to that leading edge,” he concludes. “The next step is taking the leap into focusing on business outcomes and business value as part of the technology strategy. As opposed to saying ‘How does technology drive that outcome?’, we’re now saying, ‘what is the challenge? How do we fix that?’”


Quebec and Ontarioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

DELIVERY SERVICE REVOLUTION

Written by Fran Roberts Produced by Glen White


With over 100 locations across Canada and the U.S., Dicom Transportation Group has the largest and fastest private shipping network in North America. Currently celebrating its golden anniversary, the company is turning to technology to boost efficiency and drive productivity


F

ounded in 1968 after Canada Post went on strike, Dicom took advantage of this situation to establish itself as a leading player in the parcel delivery sector. The business then expanded into less than truckload (LTL) services, but what has been key to the company’s ongoing success and longevity? “We have a great group of people working at Dicom. I think the other big thing is our customised solutions,” observes Kirk Serjeantson, CIO. “We really go out of our way to give the customer something different than what the bigger organisations or some of our competitors would give, just because they’re not as flexible in how they approach business. The other is the proud Canadian reputation that we’ve built over the last 50 years.” Exponential expansion One of the majors that has contributed to Dicom’s success is the combination of services that the company offers to its clients. “Typically, what other companies do is they have a strong parcel background like we did, and then they go to less than truckload, they open up separate facilities with

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separate technology,” Serjeantson states. “They almost create a separate company. Instead, what we did was we made sure that our technology and our real estate were all one, so that all the parcel and LTL product is in the same building, managed by the same team, and then it’s managed by the same technology as well.” From there, Dicom expanded into


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logistics, servicing large international companies to help deliver their freight across Canada. “That grew fairly exponentially, just on the quality of service and the innovation we were providing. Then we got into truckload, and ultimately in 2014 we were purchased by Wind Point Partners, where we expanded into the US to take that model that was successful

in Canada. Our service expanded more doing final mile deliveries as well as other logistical and truckload services,” explains Serjeantson. A smart platform With a combined area of nearly 20mn sq km, Canada and the US is a formidable service area for any business. “Technology plays a big role,

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Kirk Serjeantson CIO

Kirk Serjeantson joined Dicom as Chief Information Officer in September 2014 after spending the majority of his career in the transportation IT field. Prior to Dicom, he held several CIO and IT leadership positions including Director of Technology Development at Purolator. Prior to Purolator, Serjeantson was the National Operations Systems Manager at Loomis Courier Service. as visibility on parcels and making sure we know where everything is at the right time is crucial. Partner integration is also big, because obviously you can’t cover every point in Canada all the time, or the US, so we make sure that if we partner with someone, our systems are communicating with each other very succinctly and

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effectively,” advises Serjeantson. “We have what we call our smart4 platform. This has been the focus of our technology for the last couple of years. It’s broken into four components – a new shipping system, which is smart4 shipping, a new tracking system known as smart4 tracking, smart4 mobility


TECHNOLOGY

“THE QUOTE THAT I TELL EVERYONE IS THAT THE BATTLE FOR TRANSPORTATION WOULD BE LOST AND WON ON THE FIELD OF TECHNOLOGY. I JUST THINK IT’S GOING TO BE, IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW CHEAP YOU ARE” – Kirk Serjeantson, CIO

is a new mobile program, and smart4 integration is our integration platform that connects everything together, including our customers.” Operating efficiently Technology is revolutionising industries across the globe and transportation is no different. “The quote that I tell everyone is that the battle for transportation would be lost and won on the field of technology. I just think it’s going to be, it doesn’t matter how cheap you are. People are going to want a certain level of service, and technology might drive some cost savings that can be

passed back to the customer. I think it’ll be that sort of loop of ‘here’s the value I’m giving you, oh, and I can work on my cost better because I’m more efficient’,” Serjeantson states. “We’re using internet of things and gamification which are working together. We’ve got telematics in our trucks, which connect into our backend. We’ve got information from our backend connecting to that, and we’ve got driver inputs coming from mobile devices. All this is working together to make our operations more efficient, as well as to inspire the drivers to work a little harder through incentive programmes.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Higher productivity doing,” comments Serjeantson. As a holder of four patents, technology “If you sign an account with a and innovation are clearly company, and it is three floors at the core of Dicom’s up and you’ve got to wait operations. “We’re for an elevator, why getting into wearables should that costing now, and we model be the same released our first as someone where was founded in smartwatch for you go and drop a both the driver and package off on the for our customers first floor very quickly? this year, as well as It helps us gauge the some pretty innovative drivers, and it helps the customer apps to help them drivers, too. They know how manage their data a bit better. The quickly they’re moving. They’re ownerwearable tech is one of our patents. operators, so they want to get in and Giving the driver a watch, we can get out. Now we can track better how cover the steps, we can understand they are facilitating their deliveries what type of deliveries they are so that it’s profitable for them.”

1968

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WITH MORE THAN 105 LOCATIONS, DICOM TRANSPORTATION GROUP HAS THE LARGEST AND FASTEST PRIVATE SHIPPING NETWORK IN QUEBEC AND ONTARIO

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Watch utilisation also makes the operation more efficient for clients. “They can store their signature on that watch so when the driver comes in, it connects to the driver’s phone, it says the driver’s here, he’s got five packages. Instead of walking across the room, I can look over to the driver that I’ve been working with for years and go, ‘yep, there’s five packages.’”

Serjeantson explains. “They can just tap their watch, it’ll send their signature to the driver and the driver can leave. Both the customer and driver’s productivity are much higher.” Later this year, Dicom will also release a smartphone app where clients can store a signature and tap to send to the driver when their delivery arrives.

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“WE’RE NOT SO BIG THAT IT’S HARD TO TURN THE SHIP, BUT WE’RE NOT SO SMALL THAT WE CAN’T INVEST IN COOL TECHNOLOGY, WE’RE IN THAT SWEET SPOT” – Kirk Serjeantson, CIO

Driving excitement Having been in business for half a century, Dicom certainly shows no signs of slowing down. “We’re going to expand our footprint in the US and Canada – keep growing and taking those services and putting them in more places,” Serjeantson states. “I think also tighter integration with some of our partners to ensure that even if we don’t have a Dicom truck, per se, in

an area, we’re partnered with someone who can get that freight there with the same level of quality that we do. “We’re going to continue to innovate. We’re not so big that it’s hard to turn the ship, but we’re not so small that we can’t invest in cool technology. We’re in that sweet spot. We’re going to continue to create new and exciting solutions with the hope that we can drive excitement in the industry.”

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VALUE-BASED HEALTHCARE THROUGH STRATEGIC PROCUREMENT By driving efficiency in its supply chain, utilising data analytics, and truly understanding its services, Service New Brunswick is delivering value-based, high-quality goods and services to the healthcare system for the province of New Brunswick, Canada Written by Laura Mullan Produced by Denitra Price


SERVICE NEW BRUNSWICK

Ann Dolan Executive Director of Strategic Procurement, for Service New Brunswick Health services

Ann is an experienced healthcare supply chain leader, an executive with over 27 years health procurement experience across shared services and group purchasing sectors. Ann has a deep understanding and knowledge of public procurement. She is known for her integrity, dedication and energy she brings to every project

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P

rocurement can be a challenging discipline. There’s an increasing pressure to reduce costs and achieve savings, the continuous challenge of sustaining supplier relationships, and the need to keep up-to-date, accurate data. However, when tasked with purchasing the goods and services for an entire province’s healthcare services, the pressure increases tenfold. With more than 27 years of experience in the sector under her belt, this is the job that’s in the capable hands of Ann Dolan, Executive Director of Strategic Procurement for Service New Brunswick Health Services. Providing the procurement of goods and services within healthcare for the Canadian province, Service New Brunswick is a crown corporation that has transformed its strategic procurement function in recent years. Value-based procurement The corporation (previously FacilicorpNB) was instructed by the government to achieve savings of $20 million. Of this amount, between CA$14 and CA$16mn was to come from supply chain initiatives in the healthcare sector. “It was a real challenge,” admits Dolan. “For us, it was important to understand the needs of the client - the clinician or physician – and so we asked them ‘what is it that you need in your practice to treat a patient?’” Dolan says. “We asked them ‘what are some of the things you’re doing now that you don’t want to lose sight of? What are some of the improvements you’d like to see?’

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“Only when you understand the business of the client, can you start to understand their needs, their wants, and why they ask for certain things,” she adds. “Our category management methodology really helped us with this but, more importantly, I think in procurement you have to be curious. You have to ask a lot of questions, understand what the product or service does, and you have to know if it provides value to the clients or not.”

“SOMETIMES IT CAN BE HARD BUT ONE OF THE MAIN THINGS THAT KEEP US MOTIVATED IS THAT WE KNOW THAT FOR EVERYTHING THAT WE DO, THERE’S A PATIENT AT THE END OF THAT TRANSACTION”

Data analytics Like many organisations, Service New Brunswick tapped into the potential of data analytics to help with its cost-saving measures. The shared services group creatively used Microsoft Excel, its Access database, and its current financial systems, to extract and analyse data about its procurement strategy. To this end, Service New Brunswick could then clearly see what its clients were buying, which regions had the best contracts, and whether it

– Ann Dolan, Executive Director of Strategic Procurement for Service New Brunswick Health Services

could get products at the same price province-wide. “When you have the data, the story tells itself,” notes Dolan. “You don’t have to be the persuader. Then we essentially looked at the low hanging fruit and asked ourselves ‘can we extend this cost-effective contract? Can we commit a certain volume to get a better deal from our suppliers?’ “Then we brought in a consultant to help us make further savings,” she says. “This helped us move towards a competitive procurement process that we hoped would show not only savings, but efficiencies, changes

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in practice that would have a better value for the patients of the province.” Providing meaningful healthcare Although it was a mammoth task, Dolan and her team successfully achieved these savings by taking a market-driven approach to procurement. But when Service New Brunswick is responsible for the goods and services needed to support the healthcare of around 750,000 people, how did the group balance the need to drive efficiency

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with the need to provide meaningful, high-quality products and services? “That’s the million-dollar-question,” Dolan says. “I think the way we achieve that is through our market research. It’s important that we’re aware of our operations from a public accountability perspective, from the perspective of the client, from the perspective of the supplier, and from the perspective of the patient.” Operational transformation In 2015, the government announced that it would merge four shared service


“WHEN YOU HAVE THE DATA, THE STORY TELLS ITSELF” – Ann Dolan, Executive Director of Strategic Procurement for Service New Brunswick Health Services.

entities to create one larger shared services organization that would provide high quality, safe, and efficient services throughout the province. This meant that non-health related shared services such as accounts payable, payroll, copying services, procurement, information technology, human resources for internal government, shared services for healthcare, laundry, supply chain, clinical engineering, and the provincial entity that manages customer services centres to the public would be merged. However, despite this

transformation, the corporation’s meaningful ethos remains to this day. Over the past three years, Service New Brunswick has seen further changes to how it does business. It implemented a category management methodology, separating the strategic part of procurement from the transactional part. “The reason for that move was that it allowed us to align ourselves with how the clients are organised. That way, we could have people dedicated to that portfolio, where they could really get to understand the business and

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needs of the client,” explains Dolan. “We’ve just conducted our strategic planning session as an organisation and our 2022 vision is ‘excellence in service delivery,’” notes Dolan. “Essentially, this means that our mission is to provide high quality, innovative services for customers with a focus on value for all New Brunswickers.” Developing supplier relationships To achieve its ambitious aim, Service New Brunswick has worked diligently to sustain its supplier relationships. The group has migrated from the traditional yet restricted request for proposal (RFP) process to the more flexible negotiated request for proposal process. Through this system, suppliers may put forward Best and Final Offers (known as BAFO) whereby suppliers can bounce ideas back and forth. This provides suppliers the chance to present what could be a forwardthinking proposal to the corporation. “We are moving towards another evolution of procurement, whereby it

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Full team training day on Strategic Procurement

is more value-based and less focused on price,” observes Dolan. “We have developed strong relationships with our suppliers - companies such as Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson and Baxter. These are global, international companies and they really benefit from working with us because we’re able to pilot things and we can do this fairly quickly. Then our suppliers can use that template and apply it to other customers and clients in other provinces or countries. In that way,

I think we’re progressive because sometimes the relationships that we’ve built allow us to be on the leading edge of new technology and healthcare practices.” Adapting to challenges Working closely with suppliers is not only about forging long-lasting relationships, it’s also about preparing for potential crises. In today’s everchanging climate, natural disasters are increasing in devastation and

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frequency and this can play havoc with governmental supply chains. “The last one that affected our supply chain was Hurricane Maria which devastated Puerto Rico,” remembers Dolan. “Four or five of our large suppliers had manufacturing plants there and so suddenly this posed a major issue to the supply chain. Therefore, we have to be ready

to address any natural disasters that may happen and which, I think, are going to become more and more frequent. We have to be able to utilise the data and analytics effectively. We need team members who have good interpersonal skills who can talk to people, get to the heart of the problem very quickly, and who can find a solution.”

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“WE ARE MOVING TOWARDS ANOTHER EVOLUTION OF PROCUREMENT, WHEREBY IT IS MORE VALUE-BASED AND LESS FOCUSED ON PRICE” – Ann Dolan, Executive Director of Strategic Procurement for Service New Brunswick Health Services. By driving efficiency in its supply chain, utilising data analytics, and truly understanding the meaning behind its products and services, Service New Brunswick has dealt with its supply chain transformation in its stride. In doing so, it continues to deliver value-based, high-quality healthcare goods and services for the province of New Brunswick. “In all this change, we have to find balance,” reflects Dolan. “Sometimes it can be hard but one of the main

things that keeps us motivated is that we know that for everything that we do, there’s a patient at the end of that transaction. That patient could be one of our family members or one of our friends. Our core mission is to provide high quality, innovative services for customers with a focus on value for all New Brunswickers. So, when someone says, ‘thank you very much’, that’s what keeps us going during the hard times – knowing that we’re helping New Brunswickers.”

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Business Chief - Canada March 2018  
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