London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group Inc. is holding its second annual Quest for Canada’s Smartest IT., a competition to see which company uses technology in the best way to help itself and its community.
Info-Tech decided to create the quest as a way to help its 20,000 IT customers become aware of other technology tools. The competition gives businesses a chance to share their ideas with other similar technology-oriented companies, allowing companies to learn best practices from one another, according to James Alexander, the senior vice-president at Info-Tech.
“It’s a program that’s designed to engage, educate and celebrate IT,” Alexander said. “Being an IT director is not necessarily the most fun job.”
Info-Tech is partnering with IBM Canada Ltd., headquartered in Markham, Ont., and Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya Inc. to look for IT professionals who work within their organizations to better operate their businesses by using better technology.
There are two awards, one for the Smartest IT and another for the Greenest IT. Winners receive a trophy at a gala. Last year’s gala was held at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto.
Earth Rangers Foundation, a non-for-profit organization that works with kids to teach them about animals and environmental conservation, won last year for 2010 Greenest IT for their green data centre. The company reuses heat from its data centre to warm the building. The company’s building, the Earth Ranger’s Centre, is located in Vaughan, Ont. It is an environmentally friendly building with a metering system to monitor the building’s energy consumption. It also uses solar power to heat water and reuses rain water from the rooftop, according to Rob Di Stefano, the IT systems director at Earth Rangers. The company also cut the number of printing they did by implementing a print release system to save paper.
One of the reasons the company decided to become green is their belief in the need to conserve resources, Di Stefano said.
“If we continue to use resources like we do we’ll need about 5.4 earths to sustain ourselves,” he said.
Companies can enter the contest from March to April. In May, Info-Tech will review the applications and determine the winners of the Smartest IT and Greenest IT awards. A company can nominate itself or someone else can nominate it. Nomination forms are available at www.smartest-it.ca.
There are also a number of tools on the Web site such as case studies, Webinars, and assessment tools. Companies can also upload their stories of best practices to share with peer organizations.