cloud CIO is comfortable in both business and IT worlds p.10
from ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’ with cloud p.21
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Features 4 Editorial 12 Spotlight Research feature Big Data: coming to a location (very) near you, but not tomorrow 14 New in Social Perspective and invective from the IT in Canada Forum 30 ITMD Resources Canadian SaaS providers a first glimpse
6 Cover Story: Cloud in 2012: coming to the fork in the road Departments
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Cloud-Big Data Sitting in the press chair, one is treated to a rarified perspective on cloud. Promoted by a plethora of PR and promising a cost effective, ready-to-implement means to remove all complexity from IT delivery, cloud almost sounds too good to be true. Except that it isn’t – or is it? Against this campaign backdrop, IT in Canada has worked in this issue of our magazine to offer an alternative view that is based on the real life experience of Canadian businesses found in survey research conducted by our research arm, IT Market Dynamics, and in cloud case studies with institutions such as the University of Waterloo, Postmedia Networks and Toronto-based ISV BPS Resolver. This issue marks our third annual look at cloud. Since IT in Canada’s inaugural print edition in May of 2010, we have transitioned through discussion of business triggers and business cases, to deployment status in Canada, and now to the impact of cloud adoption on specific groups and the implications of this for the organization as a whole. Our latest focus reflects the advance towards cloud that the Canadian user community has made, but is born out of recognition that cloud may not as simple as it sounds. As with any disruptive technology, successful adoption is dependent on a clear statement of goals and on mustering the requisite knowledge and expertise to make it work. So what are Canadian organizations hoping to achieve with cloud? Turns out, it depends – on the size of the user – though as our research feature, “Cloud 2012,” indicates, all types of businesses look forward to increased agility. A related question that is now possible given our greater experience with cloud is, what resources will businesses rely on to achieve these goals? On this point, ITMD has developed an intriguing analysis of a concern that continues to dog the industry – the impact of cloud self-service models on the IT department. Research author Michael O’Neil concludes from this analysis not only that IT remains the keeper of the cloud keys, but that the much vaunted LOB independence in sourcing compute capability that cloud promises has the potential to create new silos of information which in turn will require the standardization and security support that only IT can offer. Lack of partnership on cloud, he explains, creates a cyclical pattern of dependence, a “muddy path” that ultimately defeats efforts to increase agility. As for IT, our Management Technospective examines the evolving role of the CIO and staff in some detail, as both “broker” of cloud services and “innovator” who is enabled by the outsource model to develop profile as an important contributor to organizational agility. In its exploration of Big Data, ITMD has taken a similar approach aimed at ferreting out the relationship between hype and fact, which has produced a greater example of market expectations running ahead of market reality. Many Canadian businesses may now be eager to unlock market potential through Big Data analytics. But as our spotlight feature on the subject shows, very few organizations have the strategy or skill required to manage its complexity, and few SMBs in particular, the willingness to source the third party expertise they need to make use of it. So for most users, this cutting edge technology appears to offer more future than current opportunity. As is our wont, the team at IT in Canada has wrapped research insights with Technospectives that address some of the key industry questions. In this issue, Stephan Dubowski has investigated efforts to build network capabilities that can manage the data and traffic tsunami that cloud will undoubtedly bring, while Chris Rogers has outlined the challenge and progress that has been made on cloud governance and trust. At the end of the magazine, you will find a new feature which offers a sampling of our latest project on the fastest growing segment in cloud today – a directory of Canadian SaaS providers. Happy reading!
Mary Allen Editor, IT in Canada 4 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
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By Michael O’Neil
Coming to the fork in the road If it seems like we hear about cloud every time we read about IT – that’s because we do. It was fair to call 2011 “the year of cloud,” and it will likely be fair to call 2012 “the year of cloud again/more/continued.” What we hear is changing, though. In 2010 and into 2011, cloud was mostly about future potential – a way of reducing CAPEX and OPEX for infrastructure that hadn’t already been optimized through virtualization. As 2011 progressed, the discussion evolved, from “what can cloud do?” to “how can we do it?” We’re still not at a point where we can answer that question with a set of standard, templated approaches. However, as the horizon becomes clearer, we’re starting to hear new questions – “what happens when we ‘do’ cloud?” – and hearing more voices in the dialogue, as non-IT management becomes more confident in its ability to use the cloud to address business issues without getting engaged in IT-led development processes and priority queues. Where are we on this journey, and what forks in the road can we foresee? To answer this question, IT Market Dynamics – Canada’s most widely-read research firm – commissioned a survey of 322 non-IT managers, representing small, mid-sized and large Canadian public and private sector organizations. In some cases, we asked the same questions we used with more than 650 IT-focused Canadian respondents in 2011, and in others, we asked about issues where the unique business management 6 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
We keep hearing about the potential of cloud. Where, exactly, does it apply in the view of the Canadian business community? And which paths lead to business agility, and which to a muddier track? to one extent or another today, with an additional 16% planning to start using cloud within the year, and almost 60% reporting no current plans to use the cloud. Viewed through ITMD’s Canadian Cloud Index, which provides a “temperature reading” on cloud usage (ranging from 0° to 100°), this equates to a 20.2° “temperature” reading for cloud in Canada, as viewed by business management.
view helps advance our understanding of the current state of Canadian cloud. Here’s what we learned…
Cloud isn’t always visible to the business user When we asked our non-IT management respondents about their organization’s cloud computing status, we found 26% reporting that their organizations use cloud
Figure 1: Cloud: where is it today?
Figure 1. Cloud: where is it today? Figure 1. Cloud: where is it today? Cloud is the centrepoint of IT
Canadian Cloud Index I d
Seamlessly combine cloud and traditional IT traditional IT
Begun using cloud to supplement traditional IT
9% 16% 18%
Planning to start using cloud in 6 12 Planning to start using cloud in 6‐12 months
No plans to use cloud within the next year
Weighted total, non‐IT respondents (20.2°) Weighted total, IT respondents (35.6°) W i ht d t t l IT d t (35 6°) N=322 (non‐IT, surveyed 1Q12) and 652 (IT, surveyed 2011) Canadian organizations Source: IT Market Dynamics, 2011‐2012
Research Feature This is not necessarily the “final answer” with respect to cloud usage within Canadian organizations, though. In 2011, ITMD asked this same question of 652 Canadian IT managers, who provided a different perspective. While business and IT managers have similar understandings of the extent to which cloud represents the centrepoint of IT activity, and of plans to begin using cloud within the next 6-12 months, there is an interesting divergence of perspective in the other categories: IT managers are much more likely than IT business managers to report that cloud is being used as a seamless component of the current infrastructure, and much less likely to report no current cloud plans – and as a result, report a Canadian “cloud temperature” (shown in red on the thermometer) of 35.6°. It seems plausible that the discrepancy is real – that IT managers are already using cloud to an extent that is not fully understood by their line-ofbusiness (LOB) colleagues. If so, IT might prove to be more of a cloud resource than LOB management current appreciates.
Key cloud benefits Where cloud is a visible option for non-IT managers – in organizations of all sizes – expectations of benefits from the cloud are shaped by the desire to achieve progress against a wide variety of corporate painpoints. The idea that business managers can be inclined to view cloud as a “silver bullet” is supported at least in part by the findings represented in Figure 2; the data indicates that what is expected from cloud depends very much on what is available today. Take the responses of our small business respondents as an example. To a unique degree, they see cloud as a way to obtain some of the capabilities that they can’t currently afford to deploy – capabilities that will reduce the gap between their operations and larger competitors. Respondents at large organizations, on the other hand, are not as concerned with new capabilities as they are with making their employees more productive. These enterprise respondents expect to obtain substantial overall benefits by enabling incremental productivity gains for each of their staff members. The one area where both groups (and mid-sized organizations as well) agree is around the idea that cloud enables business agility: this is the sec-
Figure Figure 2. Key benefits of cloud 2. Key of cloud Figure 2: Key benefits benefits of cloud What do you think the main benefit of cloud will be to organizations like yours? Please select the best one or two answers from the following options 60%
50% 40% 30%
Make the Introduce Make IT staff Make our Deliver better business more capabilities that p more productive p business staff management g agile would have been more productive insight/control cost/time prohibitive
Mid sized Mid‐sized
Weighted total Weighted total
N=135 non‐IT managers representing Canadian organizations using/implementing cloud, drawn from a total sample of 322. Up to two responses accepted per respondent. Source: IT Market Dynamics, 2012
Figure 3. The impact of cloud flexibility Figure 3: The impact of cloud flexibility on online activities l business b on online business activities What impact will the ability to “ramp up/ramp down” cloud‐based activities have on online marketing, online sales, and online customer engagement?
Online sales Online sales
Online customer engagement 0%
Greatly increase Greatly increase
10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Somewhat increase Somewhat increase
Have no impact Have no impact
N=135��non‐IT managers representing Canadian organizations using/implementing cloud, drawn from a total sample of 322. Source: IT Market Dynamics, 2012
ond or third-highest ranked answer across all e-size segments.
The impact of cloud on business behaviour One of the key business benefits of cloud is the ability to easily “ramp up” and “ramp down” IT-dependent activities – and one of the key business questions associated with cloud is, what impact will this have
on online marketing, online sales, and online customer engagement? We asked this question of our business management respondents, and found (as shown in Figure 3) that cloud capabilities are likely to have the greatest near-term impact on online customer engagement. Nearly one-quarter of our respondents believe that cloud will “greatly increase” their level of online customer engagement, and two-thirds say that May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 7
Research Feature Figure 4. The impact of cloud on the
Figure 4. The impact of cloud on the /b l h IT/business management relationship /b Figure 4: The impact of cloud on l the IT/business h IT/business management relationship management relationship
100% 90% 100% 80% 90% 70% 80% 60% 70% 50% 60% 40% 50% 30% 40% 20% 30% 10% 20% 0% 10%
43% 3% 43% 3%
35% 58% 58%
35% 21% 21% 44% 44%
Cloud will reduce the dependence of business units Cloud will reduce the on IT dependence of business units on IT Cloud will have no real impact on on the IT/business the IT/business Cloud will have no real impact relationship on on the IT/business the IT/business relationship Cloud will increase the dependence of business units Cloud will increase the on IT on IT dependence of business units on IT on IT
N=135 non‐IT managers representing Canadian organizations using/implementing cloud, drawn from a total sample of 322. N=135 non‐IT managers representing Canadian organizations Source: IT Market Dynamics, 2012 using/implementing cloud, drawn from a total sample of 322. Source: IT Market Dynamics, 2012
cloud will have some degree of positive impact on online engagement activities. Online marketing is also likely to benefit from business unit access to cloud-based capabilities. Online sales are likely to be less widely deployed (at least in the near term) in the cloud; ITMD believes that this is because sales requires integration of multiple internal systems, while customer engagement and marketing can – at least in some instances – be “spun up” as standalone initiatives.
The impact of cloud on the IT/ business relationship Discussions of how business units can use cloud ultimately lead to a parallel discussion of “how will cloud affect the current relationship between IT and the business user community?” As Figure 4 illustrates, at an overall level, there is a belief that cloud will enable LOB management to be more independent of IT: a weighted total of 44% of business respondents agree that “With cloud, business units will have more autonomy; cloud will reduce the impact of IT on the business unit.” Mid-sized organizations are especially focused on cloud as a means of reducing IT dependence, with 58% of respondents reporting that this is the likely outcome of cloud. Is this the likely result of the cloud journey – a muddy path in which business units begin to “do their own thing,” creating siloed 8 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
systems and information as they proceed? This is certainly one possible path, but not the only one. When we look at the large enterprise responses to this question, we see that within organizations with 500 or more employees, the most common response to this question (44%) is that cloud will actually increase business unit dependence on IT, with 35% of respondents believing that cloud results in more autonomy for business units in the IT/business relationship. Here, we see the other fork in the cloud journey: the ability for IT and LOB management to work together to realize the agility benefits of the cloud.
Concluding thoughts: the fork in the road The data shown here draws an intriguing portrait of the current state of cloud in the Canadian business community. Findings in Figure 2 regarding cloud business benefits show that non-IT managers see cloud as a new way of obtaining support for some of their most important operational goals, and Figure 3 demonstrates that business management believes that the flexibility inherent in the cloud model will better enable them to engage with customers. In Figure 4, we learn that business management – especially within SMBs – sees cloud as a way to reduce their reliance on IT, allowing them to establish independent control over their business systems.
However, Figure 1 – reflecting nearly 1,000 surveys, conducted over a 12 month period – indicates that cloud is already used more widely than business management appreciates, meaning that the IT department has developed more experience (and expertise) than these business managers understand or imagine. If IT is to retain its current level of relevance in the cloudcentric future, it will be essential that IT professionals align the skills that they have developed with the business objectives that their LOB colleagues will pursue with cloud (especially in the area of customer engagement), and demonstrate value as facilitators for these initiatives. Ultimately, the stakes here are high for both IT and the businesses that IT serves. Where IT is not successful in staying connected with cloud initiatives, we will likely see the emergence of “islands of automation,” as business units address specific requirements without reference to IT concerns such as data standardization, security, and system integration and interoperability. This will create a future need for remedial activity in these areas, for the kinds of projects that consume substantial resources without delivering “new new” capabilities to the organization… which in turn, will frustrate business users, and start anew the cycle of independent LOB pursuit of systems capability. There is an alternative, though. Where IT can stay engaged by helping to support business users – who the data shows, will use the cloud at some point, often without IT’s blessing – it may retain enough visibility and influence to connect these new initiatives to organization-wide IT standards. In this scenario, we can envision IT and LOB management working together to obtain the new levels of business agility promised by the cloud. At present, these two paths are not yet fully developed, but it is clear that they will diverge soon. ITMD urges readers to pursue alignment before the cloud journey progresses to the coming fork in the road – to avoid the “muddy path,” and focus on the IT/business connections that we believe will be the key to ensuring that agility is cloud’s greatest impact on your business.
By Mary Allen
Cloud tutelage and the evolution of IT S
ince its appearance in commercial mode a few years back, cloud has been viewed more as gathering tempest than nurturing spray by certain segments of the IT industry. Uncertainty is handmaiden to the emergence of any disruptive technology, but in the case of cloud, dislocation has matched the scope of change this new computing paradigm represents, leaving many to wonder about their place in an evolving ecosystem. The deluge has hit the channel, for example, as resellers have scrambled to add some element of cloud to their portfolios, and cloud providers, in their turn, wrestled with how best to utilize the client connections and expertise that partners can offer. But it is the IT department that has registered the the most displacement anxiety as cloud has threatened on two fronts – as yet one more form of outsourcing, and as an alternative delivery model for an increasingly self-reliant user community that it has traditionally been IT’s raison d’être to service.
With increasing adoption of cloud in all its complexity, however, has come a good deal more confidence in the continued value of IT in the delivery of computing resources. Greg Parks, infrastructure architect for the University of Waterloo’s Housing & Residences, who has overseen the department’s transition to private cloud, envisions a time when it will be impossible to justify investment in traditional on-site IT infrastructure, given the cost savings to be won through use of public cloud. But in Parks’ view, cloud adoption only increases the need for IT troubleshooting skills: “outside cloud, it’s all on your network so it’s very simple to diagnose where the issue is. When you move to something that’s not in your data centre, or to stuff that you may not even own, it’s different. You still need IT people.” At the same time, experience with cloud is translating into broader recognition that the role of the IT manager and his/her team will change to adapt to new cloud realities – ultimately in a way that will enhance rather than threaten the profile of
IT within the organization. Parks believes, for example, that cloud will demand more people and more business skills of the procurement specialist because “If you are going to let other people run services for you, you had better be good at managing the relationship – you have to know the person at the other end of the phone really well so that if you need to take your data elsewhere, you will be able to plan for that.” The new cloud specialist will also require knowledge of the industry, the services that are available in the market and have “a better pulse on how things are actually run to support the business.” The notion that cloud will integrate IT more directly in business process and decision making was reinforced by Marie Wieck, GM for the application and integration middleware business unit in IBM Software, at IBM’s recent Impact conference. According to Wieck, “You can launch technology in the cloud, but you still have to understand what the business and the policy implications are. In the dis-
May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 9
tEChNospECtivE MaNagEMENt cussion on BYOD in the mobile space, for example, [you need to establish] what you want in terms of data loss notifications, and whether you are you doing opt ins or opt outs... there are an awful lot of things for which you need to have some level of skill. People often feel they know it all because they’ve got [a device], but there’s more to it than that in terms of understanding the implications from data policy, security and customer responsiveness perspectives. So even if you ‘outsource’ the technology to a service provider or to the cloud, you need to know enough about the implications to your business to make sure you have the right policy and even the right service levels in place with providers.” In Wieck’s vision, recognizing the business implications of cloud migration and the decisions that fall from it are a critical contribution that is made by IT, which is either able or will need to develop skills to understand policy and SLAs. According to Stuart Charlton, executive IT advisor to the Canadian Pacific CIO on the railway’s cloud and other strategies, managing service and performance levels in cloud can present new challenges. In his opinion, the role of the CIO (managing the information assets and technology of the company) does not change, though the activities do since cloud is just the “next evolution of outsourcing”: “Instead of doing large grained, massive deals where it’s ‘close your eyes, write a cheque,’ it’s more fine grained and the metrics are more revealing in terms of where your performance is and where it’s not. So I think it lifts the veil. Some companies that do outsourcing really well, sometimes do more IT management rather than less with outsourcing. With cloud, you still have to manage it, but it’s very fine grained and it’s very shrink wrapped.” In addition, Charlton added, IT managers will have to leverage a broader base of outsourcing partners than in the past – SaaS as well as IaaS providers – and they will have to move much faster. Since cloud “changes the pace of capability to deliver,” CIOs will have to be more delivery focused as competitors will also be able to move more quickly. Charlton believes “CIOs are going to be relentlessly delivery focused. It’s going to be about pushing new opportunities at a much quicker rate.”
Author, blogger and lecturer Nicholas Carr
“Cloud tRansFoRms It FRom a ‘maIntaIneR oF InteRnal systems’ to a ‘bRokeR’ tHat Can negotIate betWeen busIness needs and seRvICes tHat aRe souRCed FRom vaRIous plaCes.” — nicholas Carr For Robert LeBlanc, IBM SVP of middleware software, these new opportunities will be the outcome and will help reshape the CIO as cloud evolves. According to LeBlanc, “CIOs are always trying to add more business value through innovation around processes, data and making the people in the organization more productive. But to add more value, they can’t spend all their time building out the infrastructure... Imagine if you could give your key people new capabilities to bring things online much faster, so they could do three or four projects a year instead of one... If you could free up the time of your best and brightest people to enable them to be more innovative, then you accelerate IT, new applications and new ideas. IT becomes a driver of opportunity rather than as a cost centre, which is the way a lot of people treat it today.” Summing up the discussion, and adding his own unique, socially oriented perspective, noted author and utility computing expert Nicholas Carr explained to IT in Canada that though the “overall headcount in IT departments is going to shrink” as cloud takes on some of the routine maintenance tasks that historically have consumed 70% of IT budgets, the jobs that will be lost are likely to be technical functions, “freeing IT, in theory at least, to focus on the business.” Cloud, Carr noted, transforms IT from “a maintainer of internal systems” to a “broker” that can negotiate between busi-
ness needs and services that can be sourced from various places. “It seems to me to be a very important role,” he claimed, “to have someone who can see both sides of the equation... and that implies that IT will become more integrated into the business itself.” And while there are “certain technological jobs such as app creation that might hold steady or even grow within corporations,” Carr believes that the best CIO skills to develop are business perspective and a broad view of how cloud capabilities are changing – “it’s about being comfortable in both worlds.”
soCial rEsourCEs oN it iN CaNaDa for a detailed view of new roles in the cloud era and where they are likely to be found, including Cloud integration specialist, technology broker, user-experience specialist, information insight enabler, Collaboration and social Media guru, service Architect, and the transformation of business Analyst, business Architect, information Architect, it strategist – as well as the roles that are likely to diminish – see The next Enterprise CIO, an it in Canada forum blog posted by Mark Kovarski, itMD peer lead, soloMoN (social, location-based, mobile and networked systems) at http://bit.ly/NcNtuy
10 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
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By IT Market Dynamics staff
coming to a location (very) near you, but not tomorrow
n researching cutting edge issues like Big Data, it is important to be clear with survey respondents so that they are not confused by the topic under investigation. Recognizing this, IT Market Dynamics – the research arm of IT in Canada – began the Big Data portion of a recent survey with a detailed question: “I’d like to talk to you about… [use of] the massive amounts of unstructured data – like video, pictures, social media feeds, etc. – that accumulate within and around a business – something that is often called ‘Big Data.’ Does your organization currently have a strategy to manage unstructured ‘Big Data’ from video, pictures, or similar sources to create new capabilities within your organization?” Despite our attempt to bring clarity to the issue, our results, shown in Figure 1, suggest that there is still confusion about what Big Data is. A survey of nearly 500 respondents – 322 non-IT business people, and 166 subscribers to IT in Canada/eWEEK Canada – found that more than one-quarter of respondents believe that their organizations currently have a Big Data strategy in place. IT respondents tended to be more “realistic” (i.e., answered affirmatively less often) than their line of business counterparts, but even so, IT Market Dynamics believes that understanding of Big Data has not yet caught up to its market potential. This may be an issue for suppliers and IT managers promoting new Big Data capabilities, as they will have to invest time in explaining how and why these approaches are truly “new,” rather than merely an extension of activities that line of business management believes are already in place. One possible way to frame these discussions is to reference the tools used in Big Data implementations. In a presentation at Mesh 12 in Toronto in May, Duncan McCall, CEO and co-founder of location profiling firm PlaceIQ, responded to a question about infrastructure by saying that his firm uses “all the usual open source Big Data tools.” Elaborating, McCall listed off his core Big Data products: “We use all the stuff you’d imagine – we use a geospatial database called Postgres, we have a NoSQL flat file infrastructure, we use Hadoop, we use CouchDB, we use MATLAB.” These tools allow PlaceIQ to work with 12 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
There’s a lot of smoke around Big Data – but how far off is the actual fire?
Big Data – or as McCall describes it, “we essentially ingest, normalize, score, store and then analyze lots and lots of data.” It may behoove Big Data specialists within IT departments or their suppliers to include references to tools of this sort and their application early in Big Data discussions, to differentiate “true” Big Data from complex but more traditional data-intensive applications.
What’s the benefit of Big Data?
Drilling down, we asked the 100 non-IT business managers who reported that their organizations have Big Data strategies to describe the potential uses of Big Data within their organizations. Respondents were able to select one or more applications from a long list, from which we display three important areas in Figure 2. The use of Big Data to power new types of analytics is one of the core concepts driving the technology, so it isn’t surprising to see analytics top our list of Big Data uses. The second item, involving use of Big
Figure 1. Have a Big Data strategy?
Figure 1: Have a Big Data strategy? 100% 90%
80% 70% 60% 50% 40%
30% 20% 10% 0%
Mid sized Mid‐sized
Weighted total Weighted total
Results reflect the average from a 1Q12 survey of non‐IT managers (N=322) and IT‐focused eWEEK Canada/IT in Canada subscribers (N=166). Source: IT Market Dynamics, 2011‐2012
Spotlight on Data to fuel innovative methods of connecting with customers and prospects – such as through “hyperlocal” advertising and services – is also a key tenet of Big Data thinking. The third concept is very much like the second, but refers to a “further future,” in which multiple Big Data repositories are linked in real time to deliver new kinds of services. While all of these items are within the theoretical reach of a Big Data initiative, ITMD believes that practical barriers to adoption and implementation – including an inability of all but the most specialized of firms to focus so tightly on these objectives that they are attainable in the near term – will have the effect of keeping Big Data’s benefits theoretical for most Canadian businesses for the next several years. This view is shared by some of the leading providers of Big Data services as well. As Duncan McCall of PlaceIQ said at Mesh 12, “We’ve got these location-aware devices, we’ve got Twitter, we’ve got Yelp… All these merchants – they’re going to love this stuff! They’re going to use phones, they’re going to build up their Goldmine [CRM] profiles… your average small business… could start to manage their user base like a CRM. They can say, ‘I can see who my best customers are, I can see where they check in, I can see where they go to competitors – I can do hyper-local advertising.’ And theoretically, that stuff’s fantastic.” As McCall pointed out in his Mesh presentation, though, this theoretical perspective needs to be tempered by real-world understanding of how small business works: “I think the [Big Data] industry thought, ‘this is great, we’re going to just somehow transition all these small businesses to this insanely complex world of managing all these profiles’.” The issue, as McCall pointed out, is that “these small businesses focus on their business… they focus on making the best product they can. They’re not constantly thinking about how they can digitally market themselves.” Given that Canadian SMBs tend to adopt new technology at a relatively slow pace, ITMD agrees with McCall’s view, and expects that outside of very large enterprises, Big Data will either be provided by implementation specialists drawing on specialized suppliers like PlaceIQ, or will struggle to attain a foothold within most organizations for the next 4-6 years.
Clearly, Big Data has big implications from an IT management perspective: it requires, to repeat McCall’s description, that an organization “ingest normalize, Duncan score, store and then analyze lots and lots of data.” To McCall understand how Canadian organizations will approach this challenge, ITMD asked the 100 respondents who report having a Big Data strategy about their management plans, offering four possible responses to the question, “While there is tremendous potential associated with Big Data, there are not a lot of organizations that have experience with managing this kind of resource. Which of the following do you think is the most likely management direction for your organization over the next 12 months?” As Figure 3 illustrates, most non-IT business respondents believe that Big Data management can be achieved through use of internal resources; only 4% intend to rely primarily on cloud/third party options, just 12% foresee a role for consultants in structuring a technology approach, and another 15% believe that a combination of cloud-based storage and internal management will address their organizations’ needs. This seems to ITMD to represent a naïve take on technologies as new as those used in Big Data management. In most cases, Canadian business adoption of leading-edge solutions is constrained largely by an inability to find the skilled individuals needed to work with the technology. In many cases, these scarce resources are hired by services vendors such as consultants and systems integrators, who provide access to their skills within the context of broader management contracts. ITMD believes that business managers who want to pursue the benefits of Big Data will need to be more realistic about the sources of support for these strategies. In our opinion, the most successful near-term approach to the business application of Big Data will entail involving internal IT executives as sourcing and management partners. Business managers who require internal “soup to nuts” support for Big Data will likely have to wait until at least the latter half of this decade to launch initiatives capitalizing on Big Data’s potential.
Figure 2. Primary use of Big Data Figure 2: Primary h use of h Big Data within the organization within the organization
Figure 3. Near term approaches to Big Figure 3: NearData management term approaches to Big Data management
Primary use of big data Primary use of big data
We will apply analytics to big data to determine We will apply analytics to big data to determine trends in our market
Managing and analyzing vast data resources
We will rely primarily yp y on cloud services and third party management of big data assets 4%
We will manage our We will manage our big data assets internally 69%
We will use a consultant to help us establish and execute on a big data strategy 12%
We will build engagement strategies around big data We will build engagement strategies around big data to better connect us with customers and prospects
We will integrate big data with other sources ‐ We will integrate big data with other sources via via a a mash‐up ‐ to create a richer experience for customers, partners, and/or employees 0%
5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%
N=100 non‐IT business managers reporting use off Big Data, selected from a total sample of 322. Source: IT Market Dynamics, 1Q12
We will use cloud based asset storage and internal staff management 15% N=100 non‐IT business managers reporting use off Big Data, selected from a total sample of 322. Source: IT Market Dynamics, 1Q12
May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 13
New in Social
Perspective and invective
from the IT in Canada Forum The IT in Canada IT Forum is Canada’s most active source of IT-focused social content. Here’s a sampling of what’s new/active, as of June 5th, 3:50 p.m.
The Pending Facebook IPO’s Achilles Heel Initial post: Posted: 2 weeks, 5 days ago... Started by: James Burchill... Forum: IT Bulletin: Insights for SMBs... Views: 565... Replies: 4
14 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
Facebook is aiming to go public and wants to do it in a huge way - with a valuation bigger than any previous American tech company. Ever. In fact, Facebook’s valuation puts it ahead of many well-established technology companies like Hewlett-Packard and would put it in the top 5 most valuable tech businesses in North America. But Facebook has a big problem that it’s failed to address, but that it carefully leaves out of its PR and public statements. Facebook isn’t very good at delivering quality, quantifiable advertising to its primary means of income (advertisers). This was highlighted this week when General Motors dropped its Facebook advertising campaign (about $10 million
worth), though the company will continue its other social media efforts and (non-paid) advertising on Facebook (another $30 million annually). In other words: GM, the world’s second-largest automaker by volume, is dropping the Facebook advertising it pays Facebook for directly, but keeping its more grass roots advertising that Facebook doesn’t get paid for. GM isn’t alone either. Other companies are doing the same. Facebook says, in its initial public offering (IPO) filings, that 82% of its income is from direct advertising like what GM just pulled from the site. That’s a big chunk of its value, I’d say, so when big players stop writing checks, FB should become worried. Like most others who’ve pulled out of paid ads on Facebook in the past few months, GM cited a lack of measurable success for its paid ad campaigns on the social networking site. The key word there is ‘measurable.’ Likely, these campaigns have more success than many other advertising venues might have. With newspapers and magazines, for instance, there is no way to measure the number of readers who look through that publication, see the ad, and do something positive for the advertiser (buy a product, look into it, talk to their friends about it, etc). In online advertising, the opposite is true: you can usually know almost everything users are doing when they see your ads - from ignoring them to clicking through or even doing searches based on the material. Yet with Facebook, you get none of that. From the advertiser’s perspective, FB gives almost no information regarding how users are interacting with your ads. They tell you how many saw it and you can get rough
New in Social demographics as well, but that’s about all. This is a huge flaw in the soon-to-bepublic social networking site’s setup and one that is very quickly going to come back to haunt it. In fact, that haunting may already be happening as big names like GM step away from the platform as a paid advertising venue. The problem is compounded by another issue: user distrust and lack of loyalty. According to CNBC, polls show that Facebook users rarely click on ads (about 57% totally ignore them, with most of the rest only occasionally clicking). All told, only 4% said they ‘often’ click on ads. Pretty dismal numbers.
• And now the stock is off $11 of the opening price. Many Facebook employees have tied up options that will be underwater (potentially) when they vest. And that spells doom for a company like FB that employs young engineers for not a lot of salary. www.google.ca/finance?client=ob&q= NASDAQ:FB
The Reimagination of nearly everything Initial post: Posted: 3 days, 3 hours ago... Started by: Mark Kovarski Forum... SoLoMoN: Social, Local, Mobile, Networked… Views: 211… Replies: 0
Replies: • Well, the IPO has come and the results are pretty interesting. The stock didn’t quadruple overnight - in fact, it went up a bit upon launch, settled back down to where it started, and then yesterday it went down by about 11%. Many are calling this an unsuccessful IPO, but I beg to differ. From a company’s perspective, the purpose of an IPO is to raise money. From the initial shareholders’ perspective, it is to monetize their investments, giving them an exit strategy if they so choose. The Facebook IPO did this beautifully - the market seems to be saying that the share price was maximized, giving the company the most money possible. Initial shareholders have a way to monetize all or part of their investments (not sure if their shareholder agreement requires them to wait 2 - 6 months before they can do so, but the IPO certainly puts them closer to be able to monetize.) The only people who are being hurt are the subsequent shareholders. Sure, it would be nice if the stock kept going up in value. But the IPO did what an IPO is supposed to do - raise money for the listing company and initial shareholders. And Facebook did so. Lots of money.
• Ok, I take it back. Looks like there was something smelly going on during the roadshow and IPO initial launch stages, regarding information dissemination (or lack thereof). Sigh...
At last week’s All Things Digital (D10) conference, Mary Meeker, a partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, released the latest Internet trend report. Mary Meeker has been spearheading Internet trend tracking for years now. This year’s update shows that Internet growth remains robust. But the real news is the growth in smart devices, tablets, and e-readers adoption which looks like a trend that is only going to accelerate in the years to come. Other trends include increasing and proper value being placed against online advertising, with the emerging area of mobile and app advertising now taking hold as the one to watch. The mobile Internet is rising as desktop is falling. We are currently in the midst of the reimagination of nearly everything and her slides provide convincing evidence.
A few of the reports highlights include; • 2.3B Global Internet Users in 2011, driven by emerging markets • 1.1B Global mobile 3G subscribers, 37% Growth Q4 • iPhone adoption ramp even faster than expected • Android’s adoption faster than iPhone. • 29% of US adults own a tablet, from 2% less than three years ago. • Global Mobile Traffic Growing Rapidly to 10% of Internet Traffic • Mobile @ 8% of USA eCommerce & Helping Accelerate Growth • Mobile Monetization Growing Rapidly (71% Apps, 29% Ads)
If you want to check out the IT Forum yourself, you can find it at www.itforumexchange. com (or simply by clicking on the Forums link at the top any page on IT in Canada, www.itincanada.ca). While you’re there, why don’t you register (it’s free) and join the debate?
• iTunes App Store Driving 46MM+* Downloads per Day Mary’s message is clear and it’s one of caution: if you are someone that is holding on to the past, your days might be just numbered.
The full report can be found here: www.kpcb.com/insights/ internet-trends-2012
May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 15
By Mary allen
ClouD oN ClouD: a saas seaRCH FoR Iaas
Canadian isV moves from u.s. dedicated hosting to cross border cloud to locate the right infrastructure solution. BPS Resolver is a Toronto-based ISV that provides software to help mid to large size public companies manage risk and ensure corporate governance and compliance. The 14-year-old company applies a workflowdriven approach to monitoring, risk assessment, controls testing, remediating problems, performing audits and preparing documentation for oversight and regulatory bodies. To further simplify this process for customers, the company began to deliver these capabilities via SaaS eight years ago, and now offers the GRC Cloud, a web-based application for collaborative management of all GRC (governance, risk, compliance) requirements. BPS views itself first and foremost as a software developer. “We focus on developing our applications,” BPS COO James Patterson explained, “We didn’t want to build or run data centres – or even co-locate into a data centre where we had our own equipment
James patterson, Coo, bPs resolver
that we had to worry about.” BPS chose the outsource route instead, contracting with a number of infrastructure providers before settling in with hosting and managed services provider CentriLogic.
sourcing the right solution Initially, BPS rented physical servers from a large U.S.-based provider that offered attractive lease rates for dedicated hardware.
Patterson found, however, that after the passing of the U.S. Patriot Act, the company “was under a lot of pressure from clients to find a Canadian hosting option.” While not unhappy with service from the U.S. provider, BPS nevertheless bowed to client concerns around the data location, and sought out a hoster operating within Canadian borders. The company’s first relationship with a Canadian-based provider also involved lease of dedicated infrastructure. But this kind of arrangement proved restrictive: BPS first leased five servers for a three year period, and found that to scale, it would need to lease another server for another three year term. For Patterson, “this didn’t make sense. What did I care about the physical hardware? What I cared about were virtual machines.” To avoid “physical lock-in to particular pieces of hardware,” Patterson began to seek Continued on page 22
16 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
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Microsoft Private Cloud Solutions May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 17
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Projected revenues, in U.S. dollars, for private cloud enterprise servers by 2015.1
Percent of senior executives who say they are using or plan to use some kind of private cloud.2
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Percent growth projected for systems management software for cloud in 2012.3
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Estimated datacentre construction costs, in U.S. dollars, that DenizBank avoided by going with a Microsoft Private Cloud.
“Supporting our current load without Microsoft private cloud technology would have cost us another $600,000—an impractical increase.”
Number of Microsoft System Center 2012 consoles needed to manage private and public cloud applications.
Number of hypervisors managed by System Center 2012.
MICROSOFT PRIVATE CLOUD
- Greg Parks, Infrastructure Architect, University of Waterloo
Number of minutes Infosys needs to get solution developers up and running with a Microsoft Private Cloud, improved from two days.
ALL ABOUT YOUR APPS Applications are the lifeblood of your business. The ability to deploy new applications faster and keep them up and running more reliably is the central mission of IT as a competitive differentiator. The Microsoft Private Cloud lets you deliver applications on a self-service basis, across private and public cloud environments, and spot and x problems before they impact your business.
Additional licensing cost, in U.S. dollars, for adding more virtual machines to a server in a Microsoft Private Cloud.
Flip to the back page to see rst-hand how you can benet from Microsoft Private Cloud.
Source: IDC, “Worldwide Enterprise Server Cloud Computing 2011-2015 Forecast,” doc #228916, June 2011 Source: KPMG International, “Clarity in the Cloud,” November 2011 3 Source: IDC, “Competing in the Cloud: 8 Things To Watch in 2012,” doc #232137, December 2011 1
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5/10/12 11:48 AM
By Mary Allen
Machine management the key to cloud
The U of Waterloo IT is moving from ‘reactive’ to ‘proactive’ with adoption of next generation management tools. The University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario is well known for its delivery of comprehensive, co-operative training in computer science. Less well known is the university’s own use of advanced technology solutions to support the programming and administrative needs of staff and students. A good example of the university’s cutting edge approach may be found in the early deployment of private cloud services by the Department of Housing and Residences. According to Greg Parks, infrastructure architect, University of Waterloo Housing & Residences, the IT team’s goal in cloud deployment was to transition from a “reactive” to a “proactive” position: “if something went down, we got the phone call saying this is broken. We had some aging infrastructure, and things were not good – developers were running the servers; they were not using source control, and were making changes on the fly in production.” To provide a “better” alternative, Parks and his group considered investing in new hardware; however this was an expensive option that also presented an “operational headache” due to procurement and provisioning requirements.
Opting for cloud To address resource issues (both staff and compute) the IT team embarked instead on a cloud journey back in 2008 with the implementation of Microsoft’s virtualization
Greg Parks, infrastructure architect, University of Waterloo Housing & Residences
solution, the original Hyper-V for Windows Server, and System Centre, which provided capabilities such as operations monitoring and shortened backup times. In Parks’ estimate, the Microsoft solution was preferred because it was affordable (free with the Windows license that the department was investing in anyways) and because it was likely that Microsoft would invest appropriately to develop solution capabilities over time. Also, as a Microsoft shop running SharePoint and SQL Server, the IT team opted for Systems Centre because, Parks explained, “the toolset fit really well with the rest of our infrastructure.” When asked by a technology partner last year if they wanted to “get in on the ground floor with System Centre 2012,” via a pre-release version of the product, Parks and his team “jumped on the opportunity.”
Machine Manager pilot
Currently, the Housing & Residence department is supported by seven production servers running Hyper-V, a two-node management cluster, and four physical servers that act as a QA or test environment, with storage provided by HP and NetApp. In Parks’ view, the department’s IT environment has moved from virtualization to cloud with the implementation of “the next generation of management tools” that System Centre 2012 represents. Hilary Zaborski, private cloud marketing manager at Microsoft Canada, lists capabilities such as the automation of routine IT tasks (through Orchestrator), a self-service delivery model for users (through the App Controller), and enhanced management for iOS and Android platforms to enable BYOD work policies as new features in the latest version of Systems Centre. Initially, the University of Waterloo team focused on the Virtual Machine Manager capabilities in the System Centre 2012 suite, spinning up a new instance of that piece of the platform for management of a few boxes in an offline proof of concept. According to Parks, migration to the new version of Systems Centre was relatively simple, as Microsoft offers an easy upgrade path when customers migrate to new product versions.
Benefits Based on the results of this pilot, the IT team decided to roll out the solution to the rest of the server environment because the new version proved easier to use, and had a number of additional feature sets. New options included self service, resourcing and organizational (done in clouds) capabilities. Parks noted: “the way to organize things in cloud was a great feature, I found, that helped you assign resources and plan a little May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 21
Case studies BPS, continued from page 16
“if something went down, we got the phone call saying this is broken. We had some aging infrastructure, and things were not good – developers were running the servers; they were not using source control, and were making changes on the fly in production.” — Greg Parks
U of Waterloo, continued from 21
better.” And using operations monitoring, the group has been able to put routines in place to automatically spin up resources in situations where applications might begin to reach the limit of their capacity – helping Parks achieve the proactive stance that served as the initial driver for cloud back in 2008. Parks was impressed with other capabilities in the new version of Systems Centre: “the enhanced self-service feature seemed like a great idea that would save us from having to do the all work all the time.” Ultimately, the team would like to take advantage of additional Systems Centre capabilities – App Controller, for example, to enable other staff to provision their application requirements. Over the next six to eight months, the team expects to test all other tool sets in the suite for eventual deployment in the department’s production environment. This commitment speaks to the performance and reliability improvements that the IT team was able to realize with System Centre v 12, and to savings that are one of the key advantages of cloud: through its virtualization project, the department saved an estimated CDN$600,000 over the potential cost for expansion of traditional IT. 22 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
out IaaS solutions which by that time had become more fully articulated commercial offerings. Patterson’s goal was to find IaaS that would allow the company to run and scale its solution without consideration for numbers of servers. BPS found its supplier in CentriLogic, a provider of managed hosting and cloud services with data centres on both sides of the border, that was able to provide a single point of contact and uniform set-up from which BPS could address the needs of both Canadian and American clients. In addition, Patterson noted, CentriLogic “also offered a lot more options around how we could tailor or customize our cloud solution.” In contrast to the “cookie cutter approach” to IaaS service provision taken by some of large providers that packages services in small, medium or large increments, Patterson was attracted to CentriLogic’s willingness to allow greater configuration of the actual machine specs. For example, CentriLogic allowed BPS to choose how many processors, how much RAM and how much physical drive space would be allocated to individual machines, a “mix and match” approach to configuration that offers greater flexibility to meet specific client needs. BPS Resolver’s arrangement with CentriLogic entailed contract for “RAM hours.”
their research: “each business has unique needs and what you might get out of the large providers might not fit your needs.” A longtime provider of SaaS, BPS had the requisite knowledge and experience with SLAs to negotiate terms with CentriLogic that aligned with its own offering. Essentially, BPS has the same service terms that it offers its own customers – 99.99% uptime – and CentriLogic has the internal and external redundancy needed to give the company confidence in its own ability to deliver BPS solutions. “Because it is a shared environment,” Patterson noted, “at times there can be some resource competition. And though you might be up, speed can possibly fluctuate.” While BPS has been affected on a couple of occasions by what another client is doing, these instances are typically very short (10 minutes) and have never involved downtime. Since BPS Resolver’s core value prop is software delivery, these kinds of issues can be critical; however, the uses clients put BPS applications to afford some leeway. Patterson explained, “our applications themselves are not so mission critical to our end user clients that they can’t withstand a slowdown of 10-15 minutes,” adding that it is very difficult to pinpoint the source of this kind of issue or address it in a meaningful way: “it can be so many things that sometimes you end up chasing ghosts.”
Operating cloud on cloud
BPS migration to CentriLogic was not problematic, but simply a time consuming exercise that comes with the ISV territory. According to Patterson, “it’s not just drag and drop, move it from here to there and you’re done. The environment needed to be rebuilt at CentriLogic and the code needed to be ported and tested, and then the data needed to be physically moved over.” Moving involved dark periods so that data was not updated in one location while the rest was moved to another, and there were several dry runs before the actual cut over for clients took place. Start to finish, the technical implementation process consumed a couple of months – though with sourcing a provider, due diligence and contract negotiation taken into account, the whole project consumed closer to eight months. Due diligence is key, though. Patterson advises companies considering cloud to do
Access to IaaS through CentriLogic has “really allowed us to focus on what was important to our business, which is developing software,” Patterson claimed. By outsourcing the bigger hardware and physical concerns to CentriLogic, BPS was able to get away with “the bare minimum of what we need to be concerned about in our hosting environment.” Less maintenance and a portal for easier management of IaaS infrastructure translated into greater productivity overall. Cloud also offered the flexibility and scalability that BPS was unable to find in dedicated hosting – the company’s relatively gradual spin up of additional virtual servers was not possible in a traditional hosting set up without additional procurement. With cloud, BPS has found it easy to scale, even for a short periods of time, and like many consumers has appreciated the cost saving associated with use of shared infrastructure resources.
We see IT relationships differently
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By Stefan Dubowski
on Networking and Communications
Cloud performance shift into high speed New network technologies aim to ensure that cloud services live up to IT decision makers’ expectations.
sk a technology professional to explain why his or her organization hasn’t exactly embraced cloud computing, and you might hear that security is the concern. But judging from interviews with cloud-minded network-technology companies, you might also realize – once you dive into the issue – that connectivity may be the bigger problem. Yes, ensuring data safety remains an important consideration in cloud adoption. But lately the discussion has turned to a number of network related questions: How can I be sure that my users will be able to access the data when they need it? How quickly will the data stream from the cloud provider’s facilities to my users’ workstations? And if the connection breaks, how quickly will the cloud provider fix it? Does the provider even have the wherewithal to repair the network? Alcatel-Lucent recently found in a global study that most IT decision makers point to “performance” (stability, latency and avail-
24 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
ability) as the number-one bugbear for the cloud, ahead of security, cost and ease of use. Of course, performance relates to a number of things – server capability, for one. Slow servers could result in speed-ofaccess issues. But network architecture is the bigger concern. After all, no matter how fast the servers are, that’s moot if the connection isn’t reliable. No surprise then, that Alcatel-Lucent and other network technology firms are developing solutions to address this issue, with an eye towards ensuring that the cloud’s communication backbone is strong enough to support mission-critical applications, enterprise security policies, and the expectations of corporate Canada, which isn’t interested in crossing to the cloud with little more than a VPN and a prayer.
CloudBand Alcatel-Lucent distinguishes between “casual cloud” and “business cloud.” David Frattura, senior director, strategy, cloud solutions, explained that the casual cloud is fine for low-level applications – those that a company doesn’t rely on all that heavily. But it doesn’t provide the security, availability or reliability required by mission-critical software. “Usually when it comes to over-the-top operators, you don’t even have control of your network access into those environments,” he said. “The Internet itself… doesn’t guarantee anything.” Business cloud, he explained, supports
service-level agreements for data-traffic latency, time to repair, security and other attributes needed for mission-critical apps. Business cloud considers the compute and storage infrastructure and the network architecture, acknowledging that certain performance levels must be achieved on both sides of the equation. Last November, Alcatel-Lucent introduced CloudBand, a master orchestration and automation system for communication service providers. The system enables providers to deploy distributed compute and storage infrastructure, integrate network and cloud services, and expose those services to customers. The company also announced an agreement with Hewlett-Packard that sees HP and Alcatel-Lucent jointly developing cloud platforms that incorporate CloudBand and HP’s cloud-focused data centre portfolio. Carriers would deploy CloudBand in their central offices – where much of the networking infrastructure required to serve up broadband already resides. “It allows them to take advantage of their real estate and on top of that, optimize how those services are leveraged to create dif-
on Networking and Communications
“Carrier Ethernet 2.0 supports carriers’ cloud efforts” — Ralph Santitoro, MEF
provider’s facilities and end users’ workstations. “Carrier Ethernet creates a predictable end-user quality of experience because the private cloud service delivery is controlled from end to end,” the MEF said. The organization recently introduced Carrier Ethernet 2.0, which adds standardized classes of service (with all carriers using Carrier Ethernet offering the same classes to make it easier for customers to compare services among competing providers), standard performance measurements (latency, time to repair, etc.), and interconnectivity (so a customer would be able to connect Carrier Ethernet services from different service providers for extended range). “That’s a really big deal, because now you can expand Ethernet services beyond the metro to anywhere in the world,” said Ralph Santitoro, an MEF founding member and director.
Telus and Primus step up to cloud ferentiated customer experiences,” Frattura said. For example, a Vancouver financial organization would access CloudBand infrastructure in a nearby central office, instead of infrastructure residing in a data centre further away. This reduces data latency, he said. At press time, no Canadian communication companies had signed up for CloudBand, but Frattura said Alcatel-Lucent was talking with a number of them.
Here in Canada, Telus is one of a number of carriers offering cloud computing services, which relies heavily on its reputation for providing reliable, high-speed networking as the pretext for solid cloud performance. But network connectivity isn’t the only piece
MEF pushes Carrier Ethernet Meanwhile, another organization aims to get service providers to view the network technology that many of them have already as crucial to the cloud. The Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), a global industry alliance focused on accelerating the adoption of carrier-class Ethernet networks and services, has published a white paper describing the importance of Carrier Ethernet for the cloud. The Internet is the predominant method to deliver cloud services, the MEF noted. But businesses are reluctant to move missioncritical applications to the cloud because the Internet presents security and speed issues. Carrier Ethernet (formerly known as Metro Ethernet) affords a dedicated, secure and high-bandwidth link between the service
“Speed matters, but it isn’t the end-all for cloud performance” — AJ Byers, Primus
in the puzzle, said Adi Kabazo, manager, products and services in Telus’s business division. He noted that cloud optimization technology plays a role as well. Solutions from companies such as Riverbed Technology and Cisco Systems help ensure that the network provides the packet efficiency needed for fast connections. “They look for traffic patterns that have already passed through the wire so they don’t have to retransmit data,” Kabazo said. He explained that data containing many unique packets wouldn’t necessarily benefit from optimization as much as data that contains many duplicated packets would. “So if you’re sending email documents or structured data, that has a high rate of optimization. If it’s multimedia video, it’s less so.” Primus Telecommunications Canada recently expanded its data networking service for small and midsized enterprises that are too big to use DSL-level broadband (5 Mbps), but too small for the higherbandwidth fibre-based Ethernet services on the market (up to 100 Mbps). Dubbed Business Ethernet Xtended (BEX), Primus’ mid-range solution affords up to 40 Mbps, and is priced at $400 to $600 a month, right between DSL and high-bandwidth Ethernet, said AJ Byers, executive VP, Primus Business Services. It’s now available in Vancouver, Edmonton, Brampton and London, in addition to Windsor, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. BEX could help a number of midsized businesses use cloud services, he said – but the underpinning network connection isn’t the end-all and be-all. “Companies have to realize that security now is in the application layer instead of the network layer,” he said, pointing to Primus’ specific cloudcomputing products (PrimusCloud Server and PrimusCloud Firewall) as the other factors in cloud performance. Other interviewees also said that there needs to be a kind of bridge between the application layer and the network layer; each of them plays an important role in cloud performance. But while the industry has largely focused on the application level so far, it’s clear that companies like these aim to spread the word that new networking technologies are also available to help organizations ensure that the cloud is as reliable, secure, and flexible as they need it to be. May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 25
By Mary Allen
for apps and across the land Postmedia Networks has taken a step-by-step approach, building buy-in for each stage of the cloud journey.
ostmedia Networks Inc. is the largest (by circulation) publisher of English language newspapers in Canada, with established brands such the Gazette and the National Post headlining a long list of print and digital media properties. Like many publishers today, Postmedia has had to confront structural changes in the industry, such as the flight of advertising revenues to the Internet giants. Competition has been fierce from traditional publishers in Canada who are wrestling with the same issues – but also from digital properties that spin up with the seeming ease of a virtual machine. In this challenging economic environment, all areas of the business were expected to improve efficiencies where possible, including IT. According to Mark Boucher, VP technical services at Postmedia Networks, traditional approaches to delivering IT had to be revamped: “We had to fundamentally change our whole architecture, and live within the constraints of the data centre walls without adding operational cost.” Postmedia’s cloud decision, he added, “was born out of business transformation and constraints,” but cloud infrastructure was also expected to deliver a more resilient environment with less maintenance and support. The task was to replace aging infrastructure with a cost effective technology refresh that would simultaneously reduce business risk.
Cloud launch lift off At the same time, Postmedia was moving towards operational consolidation of its dispersed properties and in IT, to a shared 26 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
Mark Boucher, VP technical services at Postmedia Networks Inc.
services model for corporate apps and infrastructure located in two Winnipeg data centres. This consolidation and constraint combined in 2009 in the deferral of new data centre spend, and investment instead of some avoided capital outlay on storage and networking to addressing performance and capacity issues. “We started down that path in 2009,” Boucher explained, “of building out the foundation for infrastructure-as-aservice.” On stage one of its cloud journey, Postmedia worked with EMC Services to develop a virtualized architecture, and get Exchange 2007 up and running on it. Through its new private cloud, built on the Cisco UCS platform with EMC VNX 5700 unified storage and VMware’s Vsphere virtualization and vCenter operations management, Postmedia was able to contain some of its server sprawl, moving from over 500 to 300 servers.
Stage two Boucher’s next goal was to prove out that it is possible to scale appropriately from the new cloud environment: “there’s nothing that can’t go into it.” With the infrastructure project successfully behind him, Boucher
began work to extend Postmedia’s virtualized data centre to its Internet facing properties. Based on past performance, EMC services were once again engaged for stage two – building a production pilot for cloud hosting of Postmedia’s Internet sites. The first tenant for Postmedia’s new infrastructure was Infomart, a news/media monitoring service with an extensive archive and database of Canadian company information, which was intended to provide proof of concept to help gain business unit buy-in for cloud projects In this initiative, EMC was made responsible for overall project delivery, execution and architecture planning. According to Boucher, Postmedia needed to see expertise in its particular technology domains: “EMC came to the table with the right people who really took away any discomfort from the application stakeholders” around ability to deliver. While EMC acted as Boucher’s “primary delivery company” with responsibility for work with partners/contractors and overall accountability for the project, Postmedia retained oversight on the project through a company project management team that worked in parallel with EMC. Postmedia’s new platform for the Internet facing properties involved construction of a new storage tier, and a new server tier built on Cisco’s UCS, with VMware as the strategic virtualization platform.
Benefits As IT continues down its virtualization roadmap, Boucher expects the business will see continued cost savings: “once I am finished with Infomart and Canada.com [moving them to cloud], I’m still going to be able to consolidate down to 71 servers. So I have significant CAPEX saving and cost avoidance Continued on page 29
By Dave Chappelle
First reactions to floating
your data into the cloud?
emember years ago, when you heard the term ‘cloud’ used to describe how computing takes place “out there,” away from the safety of your network? In aviation terms, “in the cloud” refers to when an aircraft leaves airspace in which the pilot can see – VFR (Visual Flight Rules) – to enter cloud space where he/she has to fly on instruments – IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). In the cloud you can’t see the horizon. Without either instruments or a horizon to watch, the inner ear begins to send warning “Unusual attitude! Out of balance! Danger Will Robinson!” signals to the brain. Pilots inevitably lose their frame of reference, begin to pull up and bank, and eventually put their aircraft into spins, from which they typically do not recover. This doesn’t happen to most pilots; it happens to EVERY pilot, every time. Yes Virginia, flying into cloud where you can’t see what’s going on presents one unavoidable deadly consequence. Chances are the first time you heard ‘in the cloud’ in reference to computing, you
thought, “Man, that sounds unsecure. Who looks after my data during transmission to this cloud? How many people have access once I’ve relinquished it? Do I trust the people running this cloud? And where the heck is it? What becomes of my data if something goes wrong?” Perhaps you thought “fog” a more accurate term. Marketers probably changed it to conceal the necessarily complex infrastructure. For a while, few potential users wanted to touch the cloud. While some firms made forays into SaaS, most waited for early adopters to crash. Some firms suffered highprofile data losses: TJ Maxx, Heartland and Sony lost credit card data collected from millions of customers. But now that we know those mistakes can’t be blamed on technology, everybody is floating into the cloud. Accountants appreciate that storing your data in the cloud is less expensive (in terms of both CAPEX and OPEX) than maintaining your own data center. And users appreciate the speed. Google
knows it can serve query results to Montreal faster from a cache in London than from headquarters in Mountain View. Google likes the cloud so much it has parked email security and storage services there. So the cloud must be secure, right? We’ve all heard of, and many have used remote access tools – VPNs, secure sockets layer (SSL) Certificate Authority, password protected logins, firewall protected servers, and the 128-bit encryption technology used by financial institutions. Like the infomercial voiceovers say, “Wait, there’s more.” Canadian firm Protecode offers software audits from the cloud, which you apply for online. After verifying your particulars and project size, Protecode will supply a user ID and password for a certain time window. You compress the software package with a password you’ve chosen, access the secure FTP site during your given time window, and upload the compressed package. Separately, you give the password to Protecode. When the audit is complete, you receive a formal data erasure report guaranteeing your data has been erased. In addition to a meter indicating password strength as users type it, Intuit provides an activity log and audit trail for its QuickBooks Online cloud accounting service. It records every user who logs in and all the changes made to each financial transaction. This provides a complete record of each activity performed, and every change made to your figures. No one can turn that feature off. And that’s another cool thing about cloud – you can control access to remote resources. If disaster strikes your location, your content is safe in the cloud somewhere else. All of this relies on you and your colleagues generating and maintaining strong passwords. That means not sharing them, and not leaving them taped to your monitor or the underside of your keyboard. Don’t worry about securing the cloud, as technology can do that for you. Instead, concern yourself with using the cloud to secure your organization. May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 27
Technospective on Skills & Delivery
Check SLAs before jumping to cloud Businesses are quickly moving services to the cloud – but what are they really getting themselves into?
n IT in Canada’s previous cloud issue, editor Mary Allen wrote about the pace of cloud adoption for Canadian companies, as well as the obstacles that impede movement to the cloud. While there is no question that cloud is better understood by business decision makers today than it was when IT in Canada visited the issue in 2011, gaps
John Weigelt, national technology officer at Microsoft Canada
in understanding still persist – as is shown in this issue’s research feature, which reports that there is a substantial gap between the proportion of Canadian business managers who believe that they are using the cloud, and the proportion of IT professionals who report that they are using the cloud to deliver services in ways that are seamless – and unseen – by their business users. If the cloud is even more pervasive than business management understands, and if, as many surveys show, data security and control are important concerns in cloud adoption, how can Canadian organizations protect themselves from gaps in coverage? To ensure that service requirements, data control, privacy, and performance expectations are met, it is important that businesses explore issues of cloud governance and SLAs (Service Level Agreements) before leaping to the cloud. In her Privacy by Design: The 7 Foundational Principles framework, Ontario privacy commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian identified a proactive, not reactive approach to privacy as a top foundational principle. John Wei-
By Chris Rogers
gelt, national technology officer at Microsoft Canada, is in agreement; he has said that a proactive approach to compliance is important for companies using cloud solutions. Weigelt believes that the approach outlined in Cavoukian’s recommendations helps companies simultaneously meet compliance requirements and innovate in service delivery.
What to look for When approaching cloud SLAs, Weigelt said companies first need to look at their current services. “Organizations that move to the cloud most rapidly and most effectively have a clear appreciation for the expectation of the business or the service level, even before it gets into the cloud,” he said. Weigelt suggests that new cloud adopters start by looking at services the company already delivers itself (such as email), and use that experience to find a cloud service provider that can deliver to the current level of service. Blindly pushing services into the cloud without having formal and wellground performance expectations can leave a company searching for answers. Weigelt said the second question compa-
Understand your business needs, so your service provider can too! Know: Your business-specific scale-up periods. The services you are comfortable moving to the cloud. Have clear service level expectations for the cloud provider.
Ask: Does uptime mean application-level uptime or server-level uptime? Who owns the data and can it be moved in and out of the cloud? What are the exclusions? Does the data centre have power backup and mirroring? How are audits performed and what standard is used?
28 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
Remember: If terms are rigid, find an SLA that works for your business.
on Skills & Delivery nies need to ask is the difference between consumer and enterprise cloud services. “Data ownership often comes up when you’re looking at something like a photo sharing site,” he said. “That tends to have a completely different legal and compliance environment than an enterprise cloud service.” Microsoft acts as a cloud service provider and Weigelt said the company makes sure its approach is consistent across its customers in the public cloud. In private or hosted examples, businesses have more ability to customize their offerings. Cheryl Giblon, peer lead for IT Market Dynamic’s alternative service delivery (ASD) management research service, said that while there are many more examples of private cloud than public cloud being used by companies, businesses examining SLAs should pay close attention to the language being used by the service provider. “I think most businesses that are going into the cloud are accepting the terms that are offered by the companies who are providing the services, and not doing a lot of negotiating for specific terms,” Giblon said, adding that these are usually smaller companies that lack the size and power of an enterprise. Instead of picking a service provider up front and trying to negotiate specific terms, Giblon recommends that smaller businesses review SLAs from multiple service providers before making a decision. She said that often, SLAs will include terms such as 10,000% guarantees (15 minutes of downtime will result in a credit of 100x15 minutes) that can sound terrific – but that the
credits are almost always capped (usually at a month’s fee). However, it’s not the fee that matters most to companies, it’s the access. In terms of access, Giblon said that when examining an SLA, businesses should know “What exactly are [service providers] promising in terms of uptime; is it the server, or is it access to your application?” Companies should also be aware of any exclusion to the SLA such as power outages due to a storm. If storms are considered an “act of god” then does the service provider have a secondary source of power or mirroring in another area of the country? While questions around data location might have been top of mind with decision makers formerly; now, Weigelt noted, ownership of data is first and foremost. This is important for companies entering into SLA agreements to understand, in case performance is not up to expectations due to factors such as network capacity. How difficult will it be to shift workloads to and from different cloud environments? Weigelt said companies should also explore questions around information management such as data retention and backup.
Searching for leadership The points above suggest that it would be very easy to view cloud governance as an area ruled by the cloud service providers, but Weigelt said leadership in the space should be a partnership. “There are some areas where the business is going to drive the behaviours [and] the activities of cloud service providers,” he
Cheryl Giblon, peer lead for IT Market Dynamics’ alternative service delivery (ASD) contract management service
said, adding that although Microsoft deploys cloud services on a global scale, there are people like himself who are looking at local compliance requirements. “What are the obligations and how do we best serve the broadest community possible?” he asked. Giblon said that businesses will get out of cloud services what they put in, adding that having someone responsible for areas like vendor management can help ensure that user requirements are being met without going over budget. She cautioned that it can be easy to scale cloud services to the point where budgets quickly get out of control. Purging, optimizing over time, and managing usage is essential, “otherwise you can lose the efficiencies you gain from going to the cloud,” she said. “It’s critically important that businesses become proactive around this concept of the cloud,” Weigelt said. “There are big opportunities there but there’s potentially risk. I think it’s important that [users be] able to build in security by design, privacy by design and other compliance components off the bat so that they’re not trying to stick them on later, because that can be challenging.”
Cloud scale, continued from page 26
to look forward to.” Boucher will also be able to drive out additional costs associated with server reduction – hosting the DR footprint space, network and storage switching costs as well as operating system costs from Microsoft. “I’m changing my whole buying patterns,” Boucher stated, “I don’t have to buy 500 blade servers, I can buy 70.” For the IT team, reduction of this footprint means that the infrastructure is easier to manage. For the application or business unit teams, major change always entails performance concerns. But by developing performance metrics that could demonstrate the
superiority of the cloud solution, Boucher and the EMC team were able to prove the solution’s value. According to Boucher, based on performance criteria such as the number of queries per second, or time to rebuild the index after catastrophic failure, or speed of media monitoring results, the new cloud infrastructure was 1300% “better.” On ten performance benchmarks, he explained, “not only did we hit them, we exceeded them” – even when the system was put under duress for testing purposes. But most important for Boucher is that “what we are building with EMC was
designed to scale.” While the project thus far has involved cloud building at central facilities in Winnipeg, based on cost and performance successes, Boucher is launching a separate regional program where server counts can be reduced throughout Postmedia’s distributed operations. Boucher is taking a step-by-step approach “to virtualization, not just at the two data centres in Winnipeg, but across the land. With this multi-tenant architecture, there’s no application that we have seen that can’t go on the cloud infrastructure that we are building.” May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 29
By Joe Greene
Canada’s SaaS providers a first glimpse
The Canadian cloud community is richer than many IT (and business) professionals appreciate. Here are two dozen firms that can help you to solve business problems today.
or the past several months, IT Market Dynamics has been cataloguing Canadian SaaS providers. Working through a combination of sources, we have assembled a list of well over 100 SaaS vendors in Canada, and reached out to more than 30 to invite them to share information
on their companies – who they are, what they do, and who they work with. The full findings from this research will be available in a directory, called “cloudfingr,” which ITMD will deliver this summer. cloudfingr will be based on ITMD’s cloud taxonomy – developed by Michael
O’Neil and Alex Sirota, founder of NewPath Consulting – and identify the many ways in which cloud applications can be applied to business challenges. In this IT in Canada cloud issue, we wanted to show you some of the Canadian leaders in these space. If you are considering a move from on-premise applications to the cloud, these firms can offer you madein-Canada resources that can help you to deliver new capabilities at “Internet speed.”
The Many Uses of SaaS The Many Uses of SaaS The Many Uses of SaaS HR/talent management
• Resume management • Talent management
• Customer Relationship Management (CRM) • Online retail and ecommerce (shopping carts)
• Blogging • Social media tools (monitoring/contributing) • Online marketing automation and analytics ( (email, SEO, advertising, surveys) il SEO d ti i ) • Offline marketing automation (direct mail, radio/tv/print ads)
• Accounting • Billing and invoicing • Payment processing Payment processing
• Collaboration Collaboration (document/content (document/content sharing, including wikis) • Telephony (including VPBX, etc.) • Virtual meeting services • Physical asset management • Productivity applications (including email WP spreadsheets etc ) email, WP, spreadsheets, etc.) • Workflow and process management
• Software development (including version p ( g management and migration) • Software provisioning/license management • Website management • IT asset management • Scheduling and project management
30 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
Customer service/other • Forms management (events, surveys, other data collection) • Help desk software • Other applications
Source” IT Market Dynamics, 2012
Commonsku was developed by Mark and Catherine Graham, the entrepreneurs behind distributor firm RIGHTSLEEVE, a promotional products design agency. Commonsku was designed by a team with experience in the promotional products industry, launched in beta in January 2012 and live in April 2012. Commonsku is an enterprise social network for the promotional products industry. In addition, Commonsku has developed an endto-end business management solution that allows promotional distributors to run their entire business through an integrated CRM and order management solution. A newsfeed feature allows distributor employees to collaborate in real time around key sales and marketing activities.
Igloo develops social business solutions for an organization’s employees, partners and customers in a secure storage environment. Igloo is designed to help organizations improve employee productivity by reducing their reliance on email and by increasing the speed of access to experts and knowledge. Igloo’s SaaS-based software suite employs a broad set of cutting edge social technologies, including profiles, activity streams and microblogging, while uniting the best of content management, collaboration and search, in one integrated application. Igloo offers social intranets, partner portals and customer communities to help reduce support costs and improve retention rates. Pricing starts at $4/ user/month.
Indicee Cloud Business Intelligence is designed to help business analysts and cloud service companies deliver reporting and self-service analytics to their customers. Indicee’s BI Platform is built for the cloud by industry leaders from Crystal Services and Business Objects. Indicee’s Cloud BI platform replaces expensive, complex tools with an integrated, easy to use interface to load, analyze and visualize data. Indicee integrates reporting into cloud applications and is used by SaaS companies and other cloud services to provide reports, dashboards and complete analytics to their customers. Pricing varies by deployment and is based on a per user/per month subscription.
Jobber is a web-based, mobile business management system for field-service companies. The software is designed to help organizations manage quotes, scheduling, billing and invoicing and task management. Jobber is designed to help companies that provide their services on-the-go and in-the-field with a better organizational tool, allowing them to minimize wasted time, improve efficiency, earn better margins, and provide better customer service. Pricing is $29/month + $9/ month per additional user. Add-ons are also available at $5/month. Jobber markets its solutions to small field service businesses with fewer than 25 employees.
OPROMA Inc. was founded to help clients simplify information management through the use of intuitive tools and technologies. The company has expanded its activities to now include secure information conversion services (digitization) and Information Technology Services. The OPROMA System™ is a secure cloud-based collaboration solution that enables clients to quickly create online workspaces to support various types of collaboration projects. Its centralized information sharing capability allows team members to collaborate easily and securely with internal and external partners, customers and other stakeholders from across the office or around the world.
Wild Apricot Inc. is a Toronto-based cloud service provider of software for small and medium sized associations and non-profit organizations. Wild Apricot has five main product offerings: membership management software that automates and streamlines the administration of memberships; online event registration software that automates event management, payment and promotion; website creation and management software; online payment for activities apart from events, including donations and memberships; and email and contact management software. Wild Apricot’s software is hosted on the CBeyond platform. Pricing for Wild Apricot’s products range from $25 - $200 per month depending on number of contacts, storage and features required.
URL: http://www.commonsku.com Headquarters: Toronto Founded in: June 2010
URL: http://www.getjobber.com Headquarters: Edmonton Founded in: October 2010
URL: http://www.igloosoftware.com Headquarters: Kitchener Founded in: February 2008
URL: http://www.oproma.com Headquarters: Gatineau, QC Founded in: January 1970
URL: http://www.indicee.com Headquarters: Vancouver Founded in: May 2009
URL: http://www.wildapricot.com/ Headquarters: Toronto Founded in: January 2007
May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 31
HR and Talent Management and Development
URL: http://www.matygo.com Headquarters: Vancouver Founded in: April 2010 Matygo is an education technology company that offers a platform which enables instructors to bring their instruction online and deliver it in an interactive, personalized way. Matygo’s “flipped classroom” platform allows instructors to make their interactive learning content available anytime and to increase the effectiveness of their instruction through active and personalized delivery. Matygo works with interested and innovative instructors to further refine its “flipped classroom” platform and improve the product. Pricing is based on a monthly subscription fee.
URL: http://www.staff.com Headquarters: Ottawa Founded in: October 2012 Staff.com is a global staffing platform that allows companies to hire and manage full time people from any location. Staff.com is designed to help businesses hire full time remote staff members efficiently and effortlessly. Staff. com’s platform was developed in-house. It offers HR and talent management, resume management and workflow and process management. Pricing varies depending on deployment.
Headquarters: Burlington Founded in: January 2008 Vana Workforce is the cloud HR company for SMBs. Vana Workforce is a global provider of human capital software and service solutions specifically designed for small and medium enterprises, which are delivered on-demand. The Vana Human Capital Management (HCM) product delivers an “all-in-one” HR solution for managing workforce requirements, ranging from recruitment and hiring to employee tracking, absence & leave, benefits, compensation and performance review and talent management. Vana HCM is built on the SalesForce.com Force.com platform. Pricing is $7 per user per month. Vana Workforce currently targets SMBs in the software, business, retail, government, manufacturing, human resources, financial, sales, marketing, technology and consulting industries.
URL: www.freshbooks.com Headquarters: Toronto Founded in: January 1970 FreshBooks offers online invoicing, bookkeeping, expense and time tracking for small businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers. Freshbooks also offers productivity enhancement tools such as email, WP and spreadsheet. Today, FreshBooks is used by over 4.5 million people worldwide. FreshBooks’ “mission is to deliver fast and simple invoicing and time tracking services that help you manage your business.” FreshBooks offer a 30 day free trial. For complete pricing, contact FreshBooks.
32 / IT in Canada May/June 2012
URL: http://guestlistapp.com Guestlist provides event registration services, including payment collection. Guestlist is designed to help event hosts manage the attendee registration process, including relevant attendee information such as surveys as well as online payment processing and collection. Pricing is based on 2% of the cost of an event ticket to a maximum of $10 per ticket. There is no commission fee for a free or charitable event.
URL: http://wavepayroll.com/ Headquarters: Toronto Founded in: July 2009 Wave Payroll, the second product offering from Wave Accounting, offers small businesses online payroll functionality for $3 per month per employee, which allows them to stay compliant with taxes and deductions. Wave Accounting (http://waveaccounting. com/) is the free accounting program made for small business owners and freelancers. It allows small businesses to send professional invoices and track expenses. It also allows small businesses to manage business and personal finances together in the same program. There are no usage limits and there is free support.
URL: http://www.hootsuite.com Headquarters: Vancouver Founded in: November 2008
URL: http://www.mediavalet.co Headquarters: Vancouver Founded in: January 2010
HootSuite helps teams engage with audiences and analyze campaigns across multiple social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ Pages from one secure web-based dashboard. There are also social content apps for YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr. HootSuite is designed to help individuals, SMBs, and enterprise customers securely manage and optimize their social media content without having to leave the HootSuite dashboard. HootSuite is a social media management system that allows businesses and organizations to collaboratively execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one secure, web-based dashboard. Organizations use HootSuite to launch marketing campaigns, identify and grow audiences and distribute targeted messages.
MediaValet is a 100% cloud-based, globally accessible, digital asset management system that was built to help companies of all sizes, in all industries, aggregate, organize, secure and share digital assets with their staff, suppliers and customers - no matter where they’re located. Built on Microsoft’s Azure PaaS, MediaValet can autoscale the services it offers to each of its customers as their storage and bandwidth requirements increase. MediaValet offers online marketing automation and analytics (email, SEO, advertising, surveys), collaboration, workflow and process management, productivity applications and software development. MediaValet target markets include SMBs and large enterprises in North America, EMEA and Asia/Pacific.
URL: http://www.uberflip.com Headquarters: Toronto Founded in: November 2008 Uberflip, formerly Mygazines, enables companies to convert PDF files into interactive Flipbooks making it possible to enhance, distribute and track PDF content on tablets and other devices. Uberflip’s SaaS platform embeds links, integrates with social media and allows users to add videos. Clients use Uberflip to convert traditional print versions of magazines, flyers, catalogs, brochures and whitepapers, etc. into interactive documents. The application enables customers to meet all distribution, security monetizing and tracking requirements for their content. Uberflip is marketed to publishers, professionals, educators, corporations and marketers. Uberflip’s solutions help customers save costs and generate new revenue streams.
URL: www.vanillaforums.com Headquarters: Montreal Founded in: January 2009 Vanilla Forums allows companies and publishers to create an engaged community through gamification, automation of content creation and member driven moderation. Vanilla Forums offers hosted community forums that can be setup in a few minutes, extensively customized and integrated into an existing website. Vanilla Forums offers a modern alternative to “bulletin board” software, which allows organizations to build more engaging, more usable and more positive online communities. For brand owners it increases sales, customer loyalty and reduces customer support costs. Vanilla Forums solutions include social media tools and CRM. Pricing starts at $50 per month.
URL: http://www.checkfront.com Headquarters: Vancouver Founded in: September 2009 Checkfront is an online booking management and ecommerce system that allows businesses to manage their inventories, centralize reservations and process payments. It can be used to manage accommodation, events, rentals and professional services. Checkfront offers plugins to CMS products including Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla! and Movable Type. Checkfront’s target markets include small and medium sized enterprises in Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Checkfront’s products help organizations build smart, intuitive and powerful cloud-based tools to centralize their business, improve customer engagement, market and sell their services online. Pricing is $49-$499 per month.
Solve360 by Norada URL: http://norada.com Headquarters: Calgary Founded in: January 2007
Norada has been providing online application services to businesses for over twelve years. Solve360 is a cloud-based CRM solution that integrates features to manage client projects and is targeted at small teams in service based companies. Noranda owns and operates its hosting infrastructure. Its CRM solution offers collaboration, workflow and process management and scheduling and project management. Norada currently targets organizations with less than 200 employees world-wide in the services industry. Pricing averages $10 per user. Its most popular product is $39 per month.
May/June 2012 ITinCanada.com / 33
Customer Service and Related Applications
URL: http://fluidsurveys.com Headquarters: Ottawa Founded in: February 2008 FluidSurveys offers online survey software that allows organizations to create surveys and forms to collect business critical data for decision making purposes. ReviewRoom is an online tool designed to facilitate applications and review processes for organizations that distribute grants, scholarships, awards and fellowships. Both FluidSurveys and ReviewRoom are cloud based products that are owned by Chide.it Inc. Current and target customers include Fortune 500 companies, global non-profits, colleges and universities, government institutions and small, grassroots organizations.
Colligo Networks URL: www.colligo.com Headquarters: Vancouver Founded in: January 2007
Colligo Networks specializes in email and document management solutions for Microsoft SharePoint. Colligo’s email management products allow enterprises to tag, find and store SharePoint content independent of device type or storage location. Colligo’s products include Colligo Briefcase, Email Manager, Contributor Pro, Add-In for Outlook, File Manager and Administrator. Colligo’s email management solutions work in onpremise SharePoint as well as cloud based and hybrid SharePoint environments. Today, over 4,800 organizations in 55 countries use Colligo’s email management solutions. Clients include Kraft Foods, General Motors and Siemens. Colligo Networks is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.
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IT Operations FutureState IT
URL: www.futurestateit.com Headquarters: Toronto Founded in: January 2010 Futurestate IT offers AppRx, an automated cloud-based Application Currency Management™ platform that enables companies to rapidly assess, migrate and monitor applications to ensure they are current and compatible with the IT environment. Futurestate IT’s AppRx is designed to help IT directors/ managers actively manage their application portfolio, allowing them to upgrade or migrate their applications to keep them current. AppRx dramatically reduces the time, cost and risk of on-going application currency management, allowing organizations to free up IT resources for more strategic activities. AppRx also provides automated testing of applications for migration to Windows 7, Server 2008, or App-V & XenApp virtualization platforms.
URL: www.thindesk.com Headquarters: Markham Founded in: November 2007 ThinDesk provides a Hosted Virtual Desktop for SMBs with 5 to 500 users, running all aspects of the desktop from the cloud, including hosted Exchange, storage, applications and private network connections. Data, email and applications reside on dedicated virtual server(s) hosted within one of the most secure data centres in Canada. This environment is protected by enterprise firewalls, security software and intrusion detection. Users have access to their own dedicated Windows desktop from anywhere in the world. Users can access ThinDesk through their PC, laptop, Mac, tablet, thin client or mobile device. Pricing is subscription based.
URL: http://www.titanfile.com Headquarters: Halifax Founded in: January 2010 TitanFile allows users to send and receive files that are confidential or too large for email and receive notification once the sent document is accessed. TitanFile transfers files over a secure connection and stores them safely. TitanFile was launched publicly on March 16th, 2011 based on work previously carried out by co-founders Milan Vrekic and Tony Abou-Assaleh. “Our service is designed to help SMBs within the professional service sector better communicate and work with their colleagues and clients online.” Today, TitanFile has more than 50 customers.
URL: www.stage2data.com Headquarters: Oakville Founded in: December 2008 Stage2Data is comprised of the original key contributors to EVault. EVault was the first data protection company to target disk as media, incorporate deduplication and encryption and offer cloud based backups. After EVault was purchased by Seagate, Stage2Data was formed. Through its Ultimate Data Protection solutions, Stage2Data offers managed cloud services or onsite enterprise solutions. There are two solutions: Standard, where data is stored in one location, and Premium, where data is stored in more than one location. Other offerings include backup archiving, cloud disaster recovery and onsite appliances. Stage2Data’s data centres are located in Canada.
URL: www.zerospam.ca Headquarters: Montreal Founded in: May 2007 ZEROSPAM was the first company to offer cloud based email security in Canada. Founded in Montreal in 2007, ZEROSPAM helps SMB owners and larger organizations deal with the constant flow of unsolicited emails. ZEROSPAM features protection from surveillance authorized under the U.S. Patriot Act, a bilingual user interface, hybrid quarantines, simple declarative licensing and optional grey listing. ZEROSPAM is VBSpam certified with a 99.9% catch rate and an extremely low false positive rate. The solution includes a thorough SLA. Pricing starts at $0.50 per user per month and is based on the number of users. A free 30 day trial is available.
furniture and technology merged to help teams access and share information www.steelcase.com/cometogether
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