The Benefits Of A Socially-Savvy CEO

CEOblogpost

Social media is helping Softchoice CEO David MacDonald build relationships across the organization, and beyond its borders.

Connecting with David MacDonald is as easy as sending him a tweet. MacDonald is part of the 18% of CEOs actively using social media.

“As a company, we have humility in our culture that encourages us to be receptive and listen to feedback,” says MacDonald. “Social media is a great vehicle for me to ensure we’re listening to all of our stakeholders – from customers and employees, to shareholders and vendors.”

[Read more…]

20 highlights from the 2013 Softchoice CIO Summit

2013 Softchoice CIO Summit

The consumerization of IT is causing huge headaches for organizations. Employees now dictate the devices, apps and services they want to use, and IT departments are being forced to oblige.

The 2013 Softchoice CIO Summit – part of the Softchoice Innovation Forum brought together technology leaders from Softchoice clients and many of Silicon Valley’s trendsetting organizations. And using three business “Megatrends” Softchoice has identified, the group set out to expand their collective understanding of what BYOD, Collaboration and Cloud really means for the modern enterprise.

Here are the core findings. You can download a longer PDF version of this article here, or at the end of the post. It includes more details into the various Megatrend breakout sessions, along with the outcomes from the sessions.

20 highlights from the 2013 Softchoice CIO Summit:

  1. Social media – and its assoicated behaviors – have set the standard of communications and collaboration within business as well
  2. The consumerization of IT brought about by Apple’s iPhone and iPad has created fundamental changes for how businesses view consumer technology in the workplace, and even onboarding employees
  3. SaaS sprawl is causing massive headaches for businesses all over, and is in fact responsible for changing the role of IT within organizations
  4. Mobile technologies mean our expectations of each other from a work and availability perspective has increased significantly – and IT departments are feeling this burden too
  5. The consensus was that most organizations are on the path to BYOD in some way, shape, or form
  6. It was agreed that much of the change management required for BYO and Mobility actually lies outside of IT
  7. All participants agreed that you must have some type of roadmap or strategy that has buy in from other leaders in the organization, including the CFO
  8. Participants believed strongly in experimenting with pilots across different groups. The thinking is that BYO may not work across the entire organization – and that’s ok
  9. Establishing KPIs early on for any net-new program is critical – even as part of the overall vision – so there is alignment
  10. When it comes to SaaS, users know most of what they want is out there already. They just want IT to make it easier for them, to the point of getting out of their way
  11. Summit participants voiced concerns over the viability and long-term prospects of the many vendors playing in the SaaS space. Specifically, if they go out of business what happens to the data
  12. Even if it was easy to get back, one executive asked “where would we put all that data when our data centers weren’t built for that ?”. The group also recognized there are risks that even they haven’t thought of yet – the invisible ones!
  13. When it comes to cloud, many felt there is a bit of a ‘wait and see” in the short term as the SaaS market is still somewhat immature. That said, doing proper discovery provides the opportunity to do some evaluation through the use of small pilots to prove there are realized cost savings
  14. Collaboration means different things to different people and organizations. The group agreed that at its core, collaboration enables the ability to access data anywhere, anytime, on any device
  15. Many organizations have invested in many different collaboration tools, which has resulted in confusion around how and when they should be are used and integrated
  16. There was agreement that most organizations lack the overall vision for how collaboration comes together to benefit the organization in a way that is measurable, and ensures ROI can be tracked
  17. Change management is paramount when considering collaboration. Without supporting users with the right consistent training, people will revert back to their old, more manual and less cost effective ways
  18. The group felt it was important to move a little differently and adopt a process where you begin with analysis, then move to research on the technology you are looking at followed by a proof of concept and only then if all goes to plan, move to deploy
  19. The measurement of success is something that most organizations struggle with today with their current collaboration investments. The team felt it was important to establish methods up front to track ROI
  20. The ultimate measure of success is that of productivity – and making it easier for people to get things done

Overall, we had some great advice and ideas exchanged in our Megatrend breakouts. Consistently, we heard the need for all of these trends to align with the needs of anytime, anywhere, anyhow and on any device.

Download a longer PDF version of this article here. It includes more details into the various Megatrend breakout sessions, along with the outcomes from the sessions.

Welcome To The Age of Consumerization

The way people work is changing dramatically. Everyone is bringing their personal devices into the office, which has led to the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend.

A recent Infotech Indaba survey found that the use of personal and unmanaged devices and applications within businesses is at an all time high. “The consumerization of IT is happening within businesses despite those businesses not necessarily being ready for it,” says the report. “Beyond simply accepting the presence of consumer devices, businesses should establish a base level, proactive and open approach to their use.”

In the survey, 82% of IT decision makers ranked security as a barrier to accepting personal and unmanaged devices into the business, followed by managing those devices at 66%.

[Read more…]

Behind the Scenes: Softchoice moves from BYOD towards BYOC

This is the third entry in a series about how Softchoice implemented BYOC. We hope you find the series interesting and look forward to your comments and thoughts on your experiences.

As Madeleine’s blog series on Softchoice’s journey from Blackberry to BYOD is starting to wrap up, I’ve now started on a new journey considering whether Softchoice should expand BYOD to an employee Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) program too. Now it’s rare to ask a “marketer” like myself to join an IT project team, but I got asked because I had recently published some blogs and campaigns about these issues, so I had a good amount of researched knowledge on the topic.

However going from reading some white papers and watching some videos on the subject, to actually trying to figure out how to make it work in a real organization is quite a big jump.

I’m realizing that marketing tools such as the vendor study that I attached to my last email campaign, or the Client Computing Revolution infographic I just worked on are great at illustrating the trend and talking about considerations and challenges at a high-level, but they don’t really provide that much help once you actually start down the road of planning a BYOC strategy. Yes, we all understand the “why” to go to BYOC, but what’s lacking out there is a real account of the “how.”

So this blog series is going to detail step-by-step how we went from our CIO saying “we should look at BYOC at Softchoice”  to working  through a BYOC project using Six Sigma Practices. I’ll share the tools we found most useful, the surveys and policies we created and then outline how we built the business case and implemented the neccessary technology. [Read more…]

Client Virtualization As A Strategy To Support BYOD

One approach to support multiple devices in a manageable and secure fashion is to leverage client virtualization. Our Softchoice Advisor Team asked Jon White, Solutions Architect for Client Virtualization here at Softchoice for his insights on helping customers understand the considerations involved.

Softchoice Advisor:  What are the steps for building out a client virtualization strategy to support BYOD?

Jon:  Client Virtualization can be broken down into 3 layers. First is Client OS Virtualization. Next is application virtualization, and then finally profile virtualization. All three of these layers represent the movement from the desktop to the data center. Ultimately, this movement allows our customers to access these resources from any device any time

SA: What’s the first step in assessing the impact to my data center?

[Read more…]

Pure-Play vs.Platform MDM: Which Is The Best Fit For Your Company?

With the unabated growth of consumerization, Gartner Research recently stated that “mobile device management (MDM) is essential for IT success”. However, with so many options – which is best? There are several new companies in this space offering great solutions. Security vendors are expanding their offerings and you have major platform or systems management vendors adding ways to manage a variety of mobile devices.

Our own Director of Security Solutions Stephen Perciballi and Manager of Microsoft Solutions Architecture Tim McKellips recently sat down with the Softchoice Advisor to discuss the challenges and implications involved with managing this environment.

Softchoice Advisor: What is your overall opinion on pure-play versus platform mobile device management?

[Read more…]