For our CanadianCIO of the Year awards, we’re featuring a Q&A and podcast series with six of our most interesting finalists. We have assembled them into this book for your viewing pleasure.





Looking into the face of Canada’s new technology leadership

Brian Jackson Brian Jackson Published: 11/15/2017

When I started my first interview for this series, I sat down with Corey Cox and Karim Ramji in the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, constructed in 1930.

Talking about cloud infrastructure, Internet of Things solutions, and other ‘fourth platform’ technologies in the cozy confines of the expansive log cabin on the Ottawa River proved to be a perfect metaphor for what I’d learn from my interviews. Like this famous resort that’s steeped in all the tropes of Canadiana – photos of former Prime Ministers are featured on the walls and there’s no shyness about playing up the lumberjack heritage of the venue – our interview and podcast series is also firmly located in Canada and informed by the deep histories of its organizations.

Enterprises like the Royal Bank of Canada and Canadian Pacific Railway are not only more than a century old, but served a role in influencing Canada’s history as a nation. Yet in meeting with the CIOs of these institutions, I realized that these are new technology leaders. (Hence the title of our podcast series, 5 lessons from new technology leaders). The effect that these leaders are having on their organizations is both disruptive and transformative. These aren’t merely technical practitioners that seek to keep the lights on (or perhaps the wheels on the track) in a more efficient manner, but change management leaders disrupting the way their businesses operate.

Consider a few of the incredible technology implementations that these leaders have implemented: Bruce Ross and his team at RBC have made it possible for customers to send Interac email money transfers by asking Siri; Michael Redeker’s team at CP Rail has added a digital layer to their iron-rail network and can locate any train car in realtime; Claudio Silvestri is working on a joint-project at NAV Canada that will see the world’s first global air traffic tracking system using space satellites. These sound more like projects you’d expect a Silicon Valley firm to be pursuing than these legacy organizations.

I believe this shows that Canada is turning a corner when it comes to innovation. It’s now accepted at the most established organizations that technology is paving the road to the future. The CIO is playing a key role in that by becoming a strategic partner that aligns with the business, and assists in focusing on customer outcomes. While we used to say “the customer is always right” as a platitude, operating with a “customer-first” approach is now the clear mandate of any serious business leader.

It also made me reflect on how CanadianCIO has evolved over its 25-year history. I still feel new to my mandate as editor here, and I appreciate that most of this brand’s history is rooted in the print magazine. But in the past couple of year’s we’ve hammered out a compelling digital vision for telling these stories that is well showcased here. Accompanying our written Q&A interviews are videos featuring three of our subjects (all award recipients) and a podcast series covering all six of these accomplished finalists for CanadianCIO of the Year.

Hearing the story of innovation in the voices of its instigators is powerful. You might say that you’re looking into the face of Canada’s technology future.


Bruce Ross - Building an engineering culture at Canada's largest bank

Canadian CIO of the Year - Bruce Ross - Thumbnail - For Site

If you woke up tomorrow morning and found you were running the technology department of Canada’s largest bank, what thoughts would go through your mind?

Well, for Bruce Ross, the CIO of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), he’s had the advantage of getting used to that position since joining the bank in 2014. Now when he wakes up in the morning, he says he thinks about flawless execution, his innovation plan that he’s presented to his board, and what capabilities might be possible in the next three years.

With that type of mindset, it’s no wonder that Ross is CanadianCIO’s CIO of the Year for the private sector. Ross has been executing on a transformational vision at RBC that has seen project development times accelerated to new heights. He’s tapped modern technologies to render new capabilities for his business and for RBC’s customers around the world. Whether it’s delivering a mobile app with all the self-service options a demanding customer expects, or a blockchain-based system to settle foreign currency payments, Ross’ vision and leadership have driven his team right to the top rung of achievement.

For our CanadianCIO of the Year awards, we’re featuring a Q&A and podcast series with six of our most interesting finalists. Ross is our winner for the private category and we spoke with him from the 40th floor of RBC’s headquarters in Toronto.

The following has been edited for length and clarity:

CanadianCIO: I’d like you to take us back to the first board meeting you had, just a few months after joining RBC In January 2014. You presented your vision of transformation and I’d like to hear what you presented at that meeting as best as you can remember it.

Bruce Ross: It was really a great time to join Royal Bank because we were very focused and continue to be very focused on how technology can help change the lifestyles of our customers and actually deliver the type of lifestyle they’re looking for. When I went to the board of directors it was about assessing where we were and how did we get to where we wanted to be? To fundamentally deliver what we call “The Digitally Enabled bank of the Future” to support our clients and what they want to do.

It was a great opportunity to leverage new technologies and emerging technologies like cloud computing, like data and analytics, to be able to deliver that different experience for them and to really leverage off the capabilities that the team had built over the past. It wasn’t a question of replacing what we had, it was really changing our focus and making sure that we were focused on the client. Make sure that we focused on business outcomes, building the capabilities on the team to do things we wanted to do and make some significant investments in new technology areas, emerging technology areas. It was actually about the client being able to access their information, wherever they were, whenever they wanted and at whatever form factor they wanted to see it on.

We had a vision, from a business perspective, that we could link the technology strategy to. We had a set of business leaders where technology was starting to become front and centre in every one of their business strategies and it was a question of linking the two. We had to make some investments. In transformation, I fundamentally believe that there are two variables that define your success in transformation – How many people and what skills are you willing to put at a problem? And how much are you willing to invest in it?

We laid out a five-year plan of significant investments, multiple hundreds of millions of dollars that we put into this, and took some of our best people and aligned them to that. We had a simple strategy with six key themes to it and we communicated that often. The board rallied around that and the business rallied around that, and it set us on a path to where we are today.

CCIO: Royal Bank is a 150-year-old institution and here you are presenting this plan of transformative change. What we often hear about when organizations embark on this digital transformation is some culture clashes and I wonder if you can talk to me about introducing the idea of transformation in a positive way?

BR: Creating a positive culture is critical for success. You can’t have a winning team without setting the framework for them to succeed in. So we got very clear early on. What our strategy was, the priorities that we were going to execute to, and made it simple so that they could understand, it was around “transformation is a way of life, not a one time event.” So get used to change because we’re gonna continue to change.

The second point on culture was we wanted to build an engineering culture. So, I as the leader had to make sure the team felt comfortable that they knew what an engineering culture was and that they could live with that. So first we defined it. An engineering culture is one that rewards curiosity, trying new things, investing in new technologies, being a leader in those things, not necessarily a follower. You also have to be willing to fail in some things. Now some things are more critical than others, so you can’t just fail in everything but setting the tone that says that it’s okay to call something red versus green and changing that culture.

Then the third piece of it is really focused on the outcomes we’re trying to achieve. Could you draw a straight line between what you do as an engineer in RBC and a business outcome? If you couldn’t, then it was time to talk to your manager and make sure you were working on that.

We had to communicate that idea a million times and in different formats, in different vehicles. We looked at the Spotify culture video and we showed it to our entire team. We do workshops with hundreds of people. We did manager forums – we got all of our managers together, worldwide, in six different sessions and we talk about what it’s like to manage through change.

CCIO: To discuss something you’ve been working on recently, can you tell me about the projects you have related to A.I. and how you’re preparing your data for this?

BR: Clients put their data with us because they trust us and we always have to be careful that we never lose the trust and confidence of our clients. So we’re looking at how to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to make their day even better. We were fortunate that we had a centralized data store, so we have an enterprise data warehouse and new technologies like Hadoop and data lakes were create the opportunity for us to do more real-time analytics on this environment.

We have data that looks like a big river going through. We execute over 400 million transactions a day inside the bank. There’re lessons to be learned at a molecular level there, but there are also lessons to be learned for a client across broad trends. Things like is the behaviour I’m executing today similar to the behaviour I executed before? How does the behaviour relate to external influences? So you look at the data, both internal and also mapped to that external data and you can provide a great capability.

Building artificial intelligence inside the bank was a big challenge for us and an opportunity too. We built the foundational elements on data and we hired data scientists. We’ve been building the capability to analyze data and get great outcomes. We’ve actually put ourselves in a position where we could actually interact with the client and potentially even engage them based on fact, on their behaviours versus what we believe. We’re helping them achieve their financial goals and make the right decisions along the way. We can provide real-time feedback on markets, such as the indicators that would cause a hedge fund to go and drop all of its equities in a specific position.

We also use A.I. in cyber security. We have to protect clients in 30 different countries, so when we look at incoming bad traffic, you can’t do that with just people, you have to augment the smart people with A.I. and so we’ve invested in it there.

CCIO: Let’s turn to your style of work at RBC. You’re a big believer in finding different ways of working to achieve your team’s vision. I understand you’ve boosted the number of agile projects at RBC in the past three years by 75 per cent. You also have labs that combine co-locating business teams with tech teams. How is your team executing on this agile approach and how do you see it making a difference in achieving your vision?

BR: Agile has been a great journey for us and a great journey for the marketplace. It’s not just a technology team and a business team getting together in a room and saying “let’s use a whiteboard and sticky notes and let’s create a different day.” It’s just a completely different way of working. For RBC it was a cultural change for the business and the IT team, so we had to start small and then we rapidly grew.

We look at the development of technology as a factory. Agile is not dissimilar to Henry Ford introducing the assembly line into the car manufacturing process. We’re able to get our capability out the door faster. And 30 per cent of what we think we’ll build at the beginning, we actually never build because we build something else. During the agile process, new ideas come out and you build what you need at the time, not what you thought you needed when you started. It ends up in a cloud and it starts with agile – it’s a complete assembly line. You’ll hear words like continuous integration, DevOps, these are processes within this new assembly line of being able to create capability and get it out the door.

Our businesses love the idea because they don’t have to go through the traditional requirements definition that you have in the waterfall development method, where no one ever signs off on it and even if you did, by the time you actually did sign off on it, what you thought you needed was out of date anyway. The agile teams allows us to get to market faster. For example, it used to take us 18 months to get a mobile application out the door, and in the last 12 months we’ve released eight releases of our mobile application.

It’s now a global capability for us and we’re also putting agile into our waterfall development as well. Big institutions are not going to be able to completely get rid of your waterfall development, so the question is how do you speed it up? Where we had 30 processes inside the waterfall development process, we went in and cut it by 80 per cent. We simplified it and streamlined it.

CCIO: Can you think back over the past three years and reflect on what achievements you’re most proud of for yourself and your team?

BR: I’m very proud of the relationship my team has with the business. It’s extraordinarily well aligned and they are thinking about the business outcome naturally. The business is directly asking for their input. There’s a symbiotic relationship rather than a service provider relationship between the I.T. team and the business.

We’ve also got a great new capability in almost any emerging area. We’ve just released our first blockchain capability. We just launched for cross-border payments and so, the team is thinking ahead. They get the engineering culture. they’re not afraid to take a gamble and get into these new technologies and leverage them.

I’m also proud of what the team is giving back to the community. They launched the hackathon for the United Way a year ago and now it’s an annual event. They do it without any prompting, we had 200 people doing that last year.

Today, a technology strategy and a business strategy are one and the same, they’re not two separate things. I believe the number one bank needs to have the number one tech team. I think that’s really what we’re focused on delivering, but when getting the outcomes as a result of that. That’s across five different business units and a global team. We act with a global capability, and we take what we can glean from other parts of the world and bring it in to help us succeed.

CCIO: Finally, you have some international experience and I wonder if you can tell me how that benefits you and how you’re bringing that experience to your role here at RBC?

BR: RBC operates in 30 different countries. Canada is our home market, but we have a second home market in the United States and a big home market in Europe. What helped me is I’ve lived in every one of these geographies for multiple years and so understanding the culture of the people you work with and the clients you serve is fundamental to being able to look at an organization and ask “Can I deliver what they need?”

I was also able to build a team on a global scale. There’s some phenomenal talent inside Canada, but there’s also phenomenal talent outside of Canada. I’ve built competencies in Luxembourg and in the U.K. and in New York.

Also, with big, complex organizations, not every day is going to be perfect. There will be things that go wrong. Having a level of understanding to pull a global team together to solve a problem, because we could have a problem in Singapore or Australia, and knowing how to handle that when you’re running a mission-critical business is key.

When I get up every day, I think about three things. 1) Operationally how did we execute yesterday? Those 400 million transactions, did we run flawlessly for our clients and our people around the world? 2) Innovation for the next 18 months. This is the program I take to the board of directors and making sure that the transformation program is executing. 3) What’s the world going to look like three years from now? I try to spend 70 per cent of my time on the last two things.

 


CanadianCIO of the Year – Private Sector Winner

Bruce Ross may have been new to the Royal Bank of Canada when took on the CIO role in 2014. But he knew enough about its capabilities to lay out a bold vision of digital transformation.


Claudio Silvestri - Aircraft tracking supported in the cloud

Canadian CIO of the Year - Claudio Silvestri - Thumbnail - For Site

You’ve heard about “random acts of kindness” – those good deeds that are done spontaneously and without expectation of a reward.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But when you change the “acts of kindness” to “acts of IT,” then it’s a different story. That’s what Claudio Silvestri says he encountered at NAV Canada when he took on the CIO role at the organization in 2012.

NAV Canada is Canada’s Air Navigation Service Provider. It manages 12 million aircraft movements per year for 50,000 customers across 18 million square kilometers. Before Silvestri joined, NAV Canada was handling all those aircraft movements adequately, but its IT department was a different story. Projects were taking off, but not landing on target. Employees were onboard, but not really engaged. Critical systems were verging on obsolescence. It took a leader like Silvestri to grab the stick and right the organization’s course.

It’s earned Silvestri the honour of the Information Technology Association of Canada’s CanadianCIO of the Year award in the non-profit category for 2017. Not only has he righted the course of NAV Canada’s IT department, but he’s collaborating on a new multi-stakeholder project that has the potential to change the aviation industry.

We spoke with Silvestri at NAV Canada’s control tower at Toronto Pearson International Airport. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

CanadianCIO: Here’s how your nomination for CanadianCIO of the Year described the situation at NAV Canada prior to your arrival: a lack of leadership, a lack of key performance measures, and it was viewed as a utility. There were struggles with project delivery and employee engagement was low. Take me back to your early days as CIO at NAV CAnada. When you arrived in 2008, what was your assessment and what were your first priorities?

Claudio Silvestri: When I first joined NAV CANADA in 2008, the situation with the IT organization was pretty challenging. There was a lot of good things that were going on, but I think that there were a lot of opportunities for improvement. The company had privatized in late ’96, and their first priority, at the time, was to modernize the air navigation system, and rightfully so. Over the years, they had spent over $2 billion in doing that. As a result, Canadians enjoy one of the safest, reliable, and modern air navigation systems in the world. The focus was clearly on the operational environments, which, again, needed to be done. As a result, the IT organization perhaps didn’t get the right level of attention and priority and funding and resourcing that it may have required.

When I joined, they were kind of 10 years into the privatization. The IT organization was providing pretty adequate type services, but there was room for improvement, because the company continued to grow. Realizing that having resolved the air navigation system obsolescence issue, now I needed to change the focus to avoiding the obsolescence issues that were growing on the IT side of the business.

One of the first things we did was to analyze the situation in a factual way, to take the emotion out of the situation. We measured our performance in a way to identify the root causes of problems. We were able to demonstrate what we needed, and what value potential could be generated if we made these changes.

CCIO: Let’s talk about organizational leadership. You established an IT governance board for your company that includes representation from all business functions. Can you tell us about how you organized this board, why you thought it would help, and how it’s made an impact in the last nine years?

CS: A group of people from every part of the organization has been coming together for nine years, meeting every six or eight weeks. We’re looking at performance. We’re looking at policy. We’re looking at what are the priorities that we need to be focusing in on based on the longer-term objectives of the corporation, and it’s really, really made a difference. We’re trying to run a $1.3 billion company. We don’t have an infinite amount of time. People are money. So we really want to make sure that where we do apply resourcing and focus, it’s for the right things.

I think the business community, as a result, has really benefited from that. We’ve been able to move quick. We’ve been able to establish platforms that will do many different things, so we’re not investing in individual point solutions. It allows us to scale the organization and be really cost efficient.

CCIO: Under your watch, NAV CANADA’s IT department went from an employee engagement of 48 per cent in 2010 to 80 per cent in 2016. Tell me about some of your tactics to engage employees.

CS: Had it not been for the fact that we were working on engagement for the past eight or nine years, and in lieu of how fast the IT industry is moving today with things like mobile and cloud computing, I don’t think the results would have been as good as they have. The reason I say that is when we talked about the shift to cloud five years ago and we declared that we’re going to be a cloud-first organization, we were able to do that and, at the same time, commit to our employees and managers that any efficiencies that we would gain by adopting cloud, we would not use them to reduce the organizational capacity. In fact, we would use them to scale the organization, so do more with the same was really the message. This was not about cutting jobs or eliminating services and moving them to outsourced service providers. This was really about driving value back into the NAV Canada business through cloud computing.

When we said we were going to be cloud first and we declared the fact that it’s not about eliminating jobs, it’s about focusing our energies on higher value work, people believed it. Any anxiety that people may have felt around cloud computing is that five years ago, there was still a lot of, I would say, uncertainty about what it meant to the industry but also to customers like NAV CANADA. The messaging was all about all the money that it’s going to save people, and that came, in some part, at the cost of jobs. We’ve not seen that, but we have seen the scalability. We’ve seen the ability to shift the IT organization to higher value work. We’ve been able to do a lot more with the same people that we have. We had to retool them, of course. We had new jobs that were established, old jobs that went away, but we’ll be able to move the organization forward.

CCIO: Can you tell me anything more about the advantages you see operating in the cloud?

CS: As we made the shift to cloud technologies, we were really confident that we would realize a lot of benefit in doing so. Not so much in the hard costs, because cloud technologies, on an apples-to-apples basis, are not necessarily cheaper. From a pure acquisition of technology, we didn’t see a tremendous amount of efficiencies there. However, where we did see the opportunity was the ability to scale the organization by shifting a lot of the routine and the maintenance type activities over to the vendor and allowing the IT organization to focus on the higher value, the more strategic work.

At the same time, you can get at stuff that you would not necessarily be able to as fast or in a manner which that you can with cloud solutions. You have to be pretty smart about how you do that. You have to stay true to your core IT strategies and figure out how cloud makes its way into that without compromising your own direction here. I think we’ve been able to successfully do that. As a result, we’ve developed a number of mobile applications that actually service the air traffic controller community.

CCIO: How have you overcome any compliance concerns around the aviation industry about working with cloud partners?

CS: When you think about IT technologies and how fast things move, when approaching the aviation world with that kind of pace, you have to do it in a manner which doesn’t threaten that core safety approach. Our focus has not been on really thinking about cloud in the context of systems that control aircraft but more in the mode of developing cloud solutions that are in support of that core mission. Things that we’re doing with allowing air traffic controllers to operate in a compliant environment, things that we’re doing to allow for shift management and labor management, things to do with just really the analytical and the performance side of air traffic services. At the same time, really using cloud technologies to enhance our safety management system. We’ve recently shifted over to a brand-new SMS, safety management system, which is cloud-based, and we’re enjoying that. We’re doing that because of the nature of cloud. We’re able to reach the controller population. They’re able to capture events in a more efficient and economical manner, in a more consistent manner. Really, allowing us to see safety occurrences in a manner which we could not do before.

CCIO: Final question. We’re very interested in this Aireon project, which is described as a joint venture that will track 1 million aircraft movements per day. Can you tell me about your role in this project and what it means for your industry?

CS: Aireon is an amazing opportunity for the aviation industry. It really is going to revolutionize an important aspect of aircraft surveillance on a global scale. Aireon, in partnership with Iridium, is going to be providing global aircraft surveillance capabilities and providing that information to customers like NAV CANADA so that we can avoid very expensive traditional radar type installations. It’s revolutionary in the fact that Aireon will be able to provide, for the first time ever, 100per cent coverage of the Earth’s surface. Today, there’s only approximately 30 per cent positive surveillance coverage. Obviously, it is a dramatic moment for the aviation industry.

What it means to folks like NAV Canada is we’re going to be able to use Aireon technology to fill in radar gaps, particularly in the northern communities and in the half of the North Atlantic that we’re also responsible for, and do so in a very economical manner. In fact, increase our safety performance. At the same time, offer a tremendous amount of fuel savings and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions because of the way that we’re going to be able to control and route aircraft once Aireon is up and running. The IT community at NAV Canada has been working with Aireon for the past three and four years to actually build out the global billing system for them. If you can imagine, billing for that type of service is a fairly complicated piece of technology. We’re developing a custom billing system for Aireon which will service their global customers and be able to manage probably somewhere in the order of a million, million and a half messages per day and take those messages and convert them into an invoice, essentially.

What that means, really, you’re talking that’s pretty big data, and it’s going to require a certain amount of compute and networking capabilities and be able to scale up or down in real time based on the needs of the day. When we first were beginning to work with Aireon on this billing system and we started to design what that could look like, recognizing that they are, in fact, a big startup company, it became pretty obvious to us that it had to be a cloud-based scenario. After we looked at the market, we concluded that Microsoft Azure was really the best place to begin that work. Actually, it’s been the perfect choice for us, because Azure has really matured over the last three or four years. In fact, continues to mature, and it’s probably one of our biggest challenges, is doing software development on a platform that keeps moving as fast as Azure. We’ve been very successful, and we’re about 12 months away now, actually, from going live with this billing system as Aireon and Iridium complete the constellation. They’re about halfway through right now, and they’re scheduled to be live or be close to going live sometime this time next year.

We’ve been working with it for the past three or four years. It’s a remarkable environment, and I think Aireon is actually very pleased that they chose that path, because it is proving to be the right answer for them.

Feature image Copyright NAV CANADA


CanadianCIO of the Year – Non-profit Sector Winner

Claudio Silvestri arrived at NAV Canada in 2008 to find lots of room for improvement in the IT department. HIs simple vision of a cloud-first approach and alignment with the business allowed this business to scale its operations and motivated a high level of employee engagement.


Michael Redeker - Creating a digital layer on top of Canada's steel pathway

While he might not literally be laying the tracks for Canadian Pacific Railway Michael Redeker, CIO of CP Rail, he’s responsible for the silicon-based infrastructure that is crucially important to the smooth operation of the transportation icon.

Michael Redeker, CIO, CP Rail

When he joined the organization in 2012, the firm’s IT infrastructure looked like its age. The legacy systems of this transportation network had been outsourced to a long list of service providers. Redeker was tasked with changing that, and five years later his organization is completely transformed. Now not only does CP Rail have an iron network across the country, it has a digital one that delivers realtime analytics across the organization.

IT World Canada is doing a Q&A and podcast series with some of the most interesting CIOs nominated for our annual awards program. Follow along as we meet the technology decision makers that are driving innovation in Canada. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

CanadianCIO: Your nomination for CanadianCIO of the Year describes CP as the most inefficient railway in North America before your tenure began. After new ownership came on and you were hired in 2012, things turned around. Tell me about the situation was like when you started.

Michael Redeker: In 2012 CP went through an ownership change and a leadership change. We had an activist group that acquired a fair portion of our shares and put in a new CEO, Hunter Harrison, who is an icon in the railway industry. We met probably two or three months after he joined CP, and Hunter asked me if I’d be interested in coming to run the IT shop here in Calgary.

At the time, IT operations were entirely outsourced. In total we had, I think it was seven large vendors that we outsourced literally every piece of our operations to. Harrison asked me to try to insource as much of those operations as we could. That was the ask, and within two years we had literally insourced everything – we built our own data centres, we insourced our application support teams, our network activities, and migrated everything off of a legacy mainframe to a converged infrastructure so we could operate more effectively.

CCIO: I understand you’re a major adopter of agile development methodology and you’ve used it to implement some new solutions at CP. Can you tell me about your agile process and go into detail about how that works for your team?

MR: CP was behind the curb in comparison to the other railways. If you took a traditional development methodology, you would be working on projects for years. We agreed that we were going to make mistakes, but take a totally different mindset and failures are OK – let’s just fail quickly and move on and let’s get solutions out the door in months, not years.

A good example is Railway Performance Monitoring (RPM). If you think of Google Maps, we can see every piece of track we have and we can see every locomotive. If you were to hover over a locomotive or piece of track, you get detailed information that enables our operations centre to make decisions more effectively. We built that solution in under eight months. We had three or four demos that we threw away, and that was OK. We learned each time and we got it right. Our business community was excited because they got to see products and solutions quicker than they ever had in the past. No disrepect to our outsourcing partners, but sometimes it’s a different conversation when you’re focused about a product and a solution rather than thinking about the cost.

CCIO: You used this agile methodology to implement a new health and safety dashboard across CP as well. I understand that it helps visualize the organization’s data. Can you tell me what data it’s exposed and how that has made an impact?

MR: We used a product called ClickView that is a visualization tool. We created a Microsoft SQL database that downloads information out of our environment and then exposes it to this tool. It was easy to get up and running, to be honest, but the benefits have been huge.

I can expose every employee inside our organization and tell how many tests they have taken and how many times they’ve passed or failed a safety test. I can tell, by age group, where we see the most incidents. For example, we were doing an analysis on all the safety stats and we saw a particular type of incident was happening only with employees that were here for three years or less. Now we were able to say to the workforce just getting started with CP, “You guys have to be careful in this area, because here’s where we’re seeing a trend in the incidents.”

CC: Let’s circle back to this ‘Google Maps’ style dashboard you built. I’m curious about how you built the backend to feed data to this service?

MR: We have sensors out in the field. These Internet of Things sensors will tell you when a train goes by and is fed back to our data centres. Based on the sensor information coming, we can say “train 101 just went by this sensor.” So now I can tell you where that train is. Then we have algorithms that we’ve built that says “OK, so train 101 went through a sensor in Toronto at 9:00 this morning and then it also went through a sensor 100 miles away at 9:30 in the morning. So that gives us the train speed.” We track train speed using this and I can tell you by region, by territory, or I can tell you what the individual train speed is.

What’s really cool is that we’ve pushed this out to apps on the mobile phones of some of our vice-presidents. So they’re in the yard and they can tell which trains are coming in and at what speed it’s coming in.

CCIO: Coming back to SAP and the nomination here, I know you worked with them to implemente a HANA database, which is the basis of which you’re collecting this big data and surfacing it with. SAP also nominated you and says that as a vendor, it learned lessons from you about how to build a database for the rest of the railway industry. What is your strategy to collaborate with your vendors and especially SAP here?

MR: We have a very good relationship with SAP. I know a lot of folks that try to get an ROI on HANA, and with all due respect, it’s very difficult to do. But I do believe in big data, I do believe in one single source of the truth, and I do believe that consolidation of information with a predictive analytics tool enable you to transform how you think, behave, and communicate in an organization.

SAP was able to learn a lot about the data we collect, why we collect it, and how we collect it. It applied that to the volume of data that would sit on your HANA repository. That was a very open and collaborative dialogue. Likewise, we as a team, learnt that HANA provided us far more than we originally anticipated. We were one of the first adopters of HANA in Canada, so we had a bit of growing pain, but it’s proven extremely successful. Just this morning I was meeting our engineering folks to plan on how to collect more asset information and populate it in HANA. We’re going to improve how we maintain geospatial information, how we maintain track information, and over time as we collect it and house this in HANA, we truly believe we’ll get much better at predictive analytics and improving our maintenace record in the field. SAP will help us through that journey.

CCIO: What advice would you offer to other CIOs about how to have that conversation with vendors about adapting their product to your needs?

MR: We don’t have a lot of vendors at CP. We have a few strategic vendors that we partner with. When you have a number of vendors, you create a bit of a headache. We’ve picked a few strategic partners and when we pick them, we have a very transparent and honest and open dialogue. It’s not about holding your cards close to your chest. Any negotiation or any scenario that you work with a vendor, if there’s a winner and a loser, you actually both end up losing.

The philosophy is always to create a win-win. I will help them get a better product and I will win in the long term because I get a better solution that I can roll out to my business units. If their product doesn’t work, I’m the first to have a conversation with them. When it does work and it works well, I’ll be there equally to take a reference call or help the vendor out, because it’ll get me a better solution.

CCIO: To finish here, I have to ask you something more fun – what’s the most memorable train trip you’ve been on?

MR: The best train trip I took… CP has lots of engineers that have done some cool things. We have a couple of tunnels called a spiral tunnel, and if you’ve ever had the opportunity to see it, it’s quite an engineering feat. You ride a train, it goes in one end of the tunnel and curls around in a loop. It’s much easier to get the train to go up a grade if it goes through a circle. So it goes in making a right-hand turn and it goes through the mountain, loops in half a circle and then it goes the right-hand side of the mountain. Our trains are so long now that when you get out of the tunnel on the right-hand side, you look over your shoulder and you can see the tail end of the train just starting to head inside the mountain. It’s just incredible.


Mark Bryant - Rebranding IT with business advocacy

Murray Morgan Rehabilitation-3

When Mark Bryant was driving through the aftermath of a snowstorm to his first day on the job as CIO at PCL Construction in early February 2013, he was reflecting on how change can be hard.

To pursue the new opportunity, Bryant had left his home in Toronto. His family was soon to follow, but they wouldn’t be able to join him in Edmonton until months later, after his two boys finished the school year. The surrounding industrial landscape was a stark contrast to the usual vibrant urban environment Bryant had grown accustomed to.

“Geez what have I gotten myself into?” he asked himself. “This is a different view from what I’ve been used to most of my life.”

When he did arrive at work, his worries quickly melted away as his new colleagues greeted him like family. Bryant has taken the close-knit family culture at this century-old organization and extended it out as the basis for all his interactions with customers and employees. That’s why he’s a finalist for the Information Technology Association of Canada’s CanadianCIO of the Year award, given in partnership with ITWC.

We’re doing a Q&A and podcast series with some of the most interesting CIOs nominated for our annual awards program. Follow along as we meet the technology decision makers that are driving innovation in Canada. Bryant used his family perspective to transform PCL across four pillars: cloud, integration, mobility, and data analytics.

The following interview is edited for length and clarity.

CanadianCIO: Your nomination for CIO of the year, put in by your solutions specialist Brian Kmet at SAS, was honest about the situation at PCL in 2013. It says that PCL employees called the Systems & Technology (ST) department “Sit and Talk” as a joke. So this is the department you’re coming into lead – what was the situation from your perspective when you started?

Mark Bryant: You’re right – unfortunately some people unaffectionately called the Systems and Technologies and the acronym S&T for “Sit and Talk” and if you think back five years ago certainly I don’t think PCL would be the only company guilty of this. You know, IT typically didn’t move as quickly as it could. Traditional IT shops didn’t move as quickly as they could and so that “Sit and Talk” moniker, again unaffectionately certainly described by some people, and possibly rightly so.

I looked at it as an opportunity to challenge the process and figure out “Okay, where are we slow and why? And what do we need to do to transform it?” And certainly that’s what we did, and I’m sure we’ll get into that.

CCIO: How was it that you came into the job?

MB: Certainly at my previous job I was head of an engineering consulting firm out of Toronto, MMM Group, and I spent five years there and personally felt that I had modernized that organization to a point that it was time for me to move on and add value elsewhere, and about that time I received a phone call indicating that PCL Construction was looking for it’s first CIO and it sounded appealing and interesting to me, albeit it was out of the city of Toronto where I’ve spent most of my life, made certain it was in Canada and that was an opportunity that I explored and once the opportunity was presented to me I had a conversation with my family and took up the challenge and moved out West, and I’m very happy that we did.

CCIO: What was it that surprised you the most when you started at PCL?

MB: One of the pieces of advice that I was certainly given when I arrived here was to take your time and understand the culture, and understand what’s happening in your IT group, or in the IT group, and what you could possibly modify to get the organization’s IT department into a position of moving more deftly and more efficiently, and certainly I did that.

There was certainly a lot of what I would call complacency. A lot of really talented people in the group. A lot of people with really good ideas, but complacency in making the necessary change to get to where we needed to go, or fear of making the change in where we needed to go, and so there wasn’t that catalyst in the group to push the team where they needed to go next. I became, certainly I became that agent of change and that catalyst, and sometimes that’s a very difficult job because when you’re not in control of the change, but you’re the receiver of the change certainly there would be many that didn’t want to embrace change, and then there would be that smaller fewer that were like “Wow, hey, this is great. Finally we’re making a move over here.”

So, those changes and those challenges can be a struggle, but once you get through them there is elation.

CCIO: Let’s get into some of the gritty details of your technology stack at PCL. I understand that moving to a cloud-first approach was a priority for you. You’re using Microsoft Azure for infrastructure, Dell Boomi for integration, and some cloud applications too. Can you take me through your journey from a legacy system to this new way of operating?

MB: It was about analyzing “What do we have for technology? And how are we organized?” And certainly the IT group and the lens that they were looking through was organized very well in terms of supporting sub-vertical silos, primarily centered around products that supported our construction business, and in doing so there was certainly a lack of cohesion across those vertical silos and so we had to figure out a strategy to flatten that, and part of that flattening strategy certainly involved reorganizing the group more holistically to focus on similar things that would advance the IT team forward and allow them to be holistically more agile versus vertically more agile.

So, you know, we needed to take out what I would call some of the impediments that were slowing us down and the group that most organizations typically have in a traditionally IT shop is the one that looks after the back of house, or raised floor data center infrastructure, and that group was overwhelmed by the fact that they had too many masters that, for lack of a better term, that would be asking for change, and that group was run off its feet and it was effectively chaos. One of our strategies was to certainly flatten and simplify that technology footprint, reduce it, and reorganize it, and part of that strategy, a huge part of that strategy of which I had four pillars was the cloud.

And we were already focused Microsoft shop. I asked “How could we simplify the infrastructure that we needed to manage and maintain, and deliver better service?” So a typical IT shop would take time to order equipment, time to receive equipment, time to rack, and stack it, and then configure it, and that was a big impediment certainly in getting us to market sometimes, that process itself would take months. So, Azure was certainly a key pillar in that strategy because we spit out boxes in hours versus weeks right?

So, that certainly was a catalyst in getting infrastructure simplification into our environment, and that was key tenet in our cloud strategy.

CCIO: What was the most difficult challenge in making this shift?

MB: The initial fear of folks in the organization was the security paradigm of moving to the cloud. We looked at what we invested from a security perspective here currently at PCL, and then we looked at the types of investments that an organization like Microsoft makes in its data centre and security investments, and frankly there was no comparison, and Microsoft has a beautiful chart on their website that shows the 40, 50 plus certifications, security certifications that they have today, and I compared that to what we have in terms of security paradigms and for us to make similar investments it would have cost more than the entirety of our IT budget.

Once we got over that hurdle and understood that we couldn’t invest the same in security that a Microsoft could, and we could increase and improve our time and efficiency speed to market, and lower our costs at the same time, it became a pretty simple equation for us to go with it.

CCIO: After four years with PCL you’ve done a real transformation of your department. You’ve even rebranded it with a new name. Tell us about that and the customer advocacy group you’ve formed in your department.

MB: So, the rebranding of the group from Systems and Technology to Business Technology was several things in mind. One, we certainly wanted to shake the moniker of S&T, or “Sit and Talk.” Two, we certainly wanted the business to see that we were, in a more agile fashion, looking to align ourselves with them and the journey forward. I could see certainly, and many people on my team could see that certainly the intersection of business and technology together was going to be much more prevalent in the future than it was where we were, and certainly the business was telling us “Hey, you guys need to be quicker and more agile.” And equally so you could certainly see many things being pushed to us from the business that we weren’t ready for.

That transformation was really around getting ourselves aligned, shaking an old acronym that we didn’t need, but also there’s something really powerful in the marketing of yourself, and Business Technology, those two words together speak to where we wanted to be, and where we wanted to go, and certainly we’re in a position today that is extremely healthy in the regard. We’ve gone from having a little respect to a ton of respect in what we do for the organization.

CCIO: You’ve realized a number of benefits through your transformation effort. The nomination lists several of them: $500,000 per year in cost reduction for infrastructure support and maintenance to your on-premises stack, about equal savings on your storage, and a reduction in servers from more than 1,000 to 212. Those are great efficiency numbers, but I want to hear in your own words what you are most proud of accomplishing?

MB: Well first and foremost I’m absolutely the proudest of my team. They embraced the change, they adapted, they rose to the challenge, they succeeded in their challenge, they’re proud of the challenge that they embraced, which I thought was an impossibility when I first relayed it down to them, and they have done an absolutely phenomenal job in making this transformation, so much so that they are excited and ready for the next one.
And yeah, you described some numbers there in terms of savings. We’re certainly several hundred thousand dollars a year run rate in electricity, half a million in infrastructure support, plus we’d be over a million in storage today if we were continuing to buy and build out in our own data center on an annual basis.Yeah, 1,000 plus servers down to 200. All great stats, but the reduction of that infrastructure and the maintenance and support of that infrastructure as well again puts in a position for the future.

The people were scared of that change, embraced the change, made the change happen, got retrained, many people, and educated during the state of change, and they are now in a position today to be stronger, better, faster on the journey forward and I couldn’t be more proud of the team and what they’ve accomplished together, and what they’re going to accomplish. There’s an excitement and a vibe in the IT organization about what we’re doing and where we’re going, and to me that is the biggest victory.
We’ve reinvigorated the excitement in IT and why people initially join IT in the first place is because they’re looking for continuous change, and to get their hands on the latest technology, and to make a difference in the organization that they can see with their peers and the customers across this great company that we deliver to, and to me that’s what’s exciting. It’s about giving people what they need, what they want, and helping them realize that excitement in their careers, and outside of the technology that’s the biggest thing for me that I enjoy is seeing people grow, and learn, and deliver value back to our internal customers and external customers through everything we do.


Ingenious Award – Lage Private Sector Winner

Mark Bryant’s team at PCL Construction solved an operational problem of working with out-of-date information by converging multiple systems into a realtime analytics dashboard. And they did it in less than 50 days.


Karim Ramji - Focusing IT to become a model agency

Pictured above, left to right: Cynthia Weaver, VP, Strategic Initiatives, Kinark; Dr. Vicki Mowat, Senior Director, Planning and Research, Kinark; Dr. Laurel Johnson, Clinical Director, Community Mental Health Chief of Psychology, Kinark; Karim Ramji, Chief Information Officer, Kinark; Lynn Holloran, Account Executive, Healthcare, Telus; Cathy Paul, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kinark.

Sometimes a digital transformation means rethinking the jobs that your IT department is doing and identifying where you’re better served in outsourcing pieces of your infrastructure.

That’s a lesson that Karim Ramji learned in taking on his role as CIO at Kinark Child and Family Services. Coming from a position onto the board into a non-profit organization that had seen three IT leaders come and go in three years, Ramji knew that a big revamp was needed. At the same time, he needed to find a way to make sure that Kinark’s mission remained at the centre of focus – helping children with mental health issues at varying degrees of severity.

Not only did Ramji manage to succeed at steering his team through a major transformation and realize many benefits in terms of savings and service, but Kinark is now taking on a role as a leading health agency that serves as an operational model for organizations across Canada. That’s why he’s a finalist for the Information Technology Association of Canada’s CanadianCIO of the Year award, given in partnership with ITWC.

We’re doing a Q&A and podcast series with some of the most interesting CIOs nominated for our annual awards program. Follow along as we meet the technology decision makers that are driving innovation in Canada. The following interview is edited for length and clarity.

CanadianCIO: Before you came into the role of the CIO at Kinark, you were on the board. There were also a string of IT leaders that weren’t as successful as you’ve been, at least. Tell me about how you moved into the CIO role at Kinark.

Karim Ramji: I’ve been in technology for more than 20 years and I joined the board about six or seven years ago, with my responsibility being to oversee the technology and oversight committee. We put together a technology strategy that required us to revamp everything we were doing.

At the time, I decided to leave one of my organizations and the opportunity of the role of CIO came up at Kinark. So I decided to throw my hat in the ring, to see if I could help. Since I was part of the genesis of the technology strategy overall, that allowed me to accelerate my success.

CCIO: You were nominated by Telus Corp. and I understand that you’ve partnered with them on outsourcing many IT operations. But I want to understand what you were doing before working with Telus – what were the internal operations at Kinark like before?

KR: In our sector, and certainly in the area of children’s mental health and at the Ministry of Youth and Child Services, and the people that we work with, operations are very focused on programs. Providing services to kids and lesser so, on the financial parts and IT parts. So it tends to be more about keeping the lights on than bigger strategies. Our infrastructure was about 20 years old and it came from various different places, so it was somewhat disparate.

We outsourced one component to Telus and when we started to work with it, we noticed that it’s broader and wider than what it appears to be. They weren’t just a carrier of services and connections, they provided a strategy and they’re very large in the healthcare space. So we started to grow with them organically and work with them on a human resources perspective as well as connecting all of our devices and services. It started from need, moved to organic growth, and then an overall digital transformation really started to happen.

CCIO: At what point was Telus identified as the right outsourcing partner?

KR: Kinark needed to change its infrastructure. So it invested in my role to provide leadership to run that strategy. Next, they invested in the technology, leading-edge cloud services, business intelligence, and the Internet of Everything. We put together a five-year plan and revamped what the team needed to do – not just keep the lights on, but become service managers that are client-centric.

Telus was a fantastic partner, but there were partners from other organizations. Apple, Microsoft, and IT Weapons, lots of organizations that will help us grow that strategy, so there’s not all the eggs in one basket. As I mentioned we grew with this organically. At first, it was “hey we gotta get rid of our stuff because it’s just not working.” And then it was about making it better, faster, and smarter. All with the framework of security, understanding, and being client-centric, because kids are at the centre of everything we do. We don’t change anything in our infrastructure unless what we’re doing actually supports our clinical transformation for kids.

CCIO: Give me one example of one of those moments you had when your team realized that change was necessary.

KR: We had a legacy human capital management system, which was really three systems, collecting data from various different places. It was difficult for people to enter their time. It was hard enough to log your time and get a paycheque, nevermind being able to do a lot of other services. So we plan to put in a web-based system. So it can be anywhere, anytime, you can look at your schedule and then you can spend your time in front of the children that you need to serve.

CCIO: So you go through this IT transformation. Tell me what that looks like in a nutshell, where you move from this legacy mode of operations to an outsourcing model.

KR: Part of it was moving to an Apple device, and that was fairly easy for people to do. The change management came with a lot of communication. We spent time talking to our users about what was going to happen.

At Kinark, we love boring IT. It just needs to work and that’s the number one important thing. We don’t do any major fanfare when we deploy new devices or applications, we just train our staff and we move on.

CCIO: Now that you’ve gone through the transformation, I’d like you to detail for me some of your best wins. In your mind, what are some of the things that you can point to and say “This has improved.”

KR: I’ll point to a couple of things. While I’m calling it boring IT, it’s also seamless IT. Our service levels are amazing. When you turn on your laptop, or you connect to our network, or you use one of our services, or log into one of our secure sites, it just works. And it’s fast.

The other part is communications. We spend a lot of time educating our users. Plus we have a user community that is ready and used to change. We spend a lot of time talking about change management.

The last piece of it is that we have support across not only our sector, but from our board and our executive team. Although we’ve put things in cloud services and we’ve outsourced different pieces, we still have the same people. We haven’t shrunk our organization. So they’re focused on something different and they’re focused on more client-centric services, on more collaboration tools, and on strategizing what the next technology might be. So we get to change our focus, not our people.

CCIO: Kinark is being used as a model agency for other health services organizations to follow across the country. Can you tell me how it is that you could export what you’ve done to similar organizations across Canada?

KR: We’ve had this fortunate ability because of our size and strength, not only in IT but in overall leadership. We speak to other similar agencies in our sector across Canada about the good things that we could do from an IT perspective. We share the lessons learned and how to avoid the pitfalls. A lot of the organizations in our sector are not IT focused, sometimes they don’t even have an IT person, they just outsource everything. They often ask us what the best ways to approach IT and leverage that from a learning and technology perspective.

So we’ve created an amazing program, with what we call our affilliates. We provide services and support to organizations in York, Durham, Peterborough, and Haliburton. They can leverage our support services, our technology, our contracts with Telus. So they can get better email service and not have a server sitting underneath somebody else’s desk. We export not only the knowledge, but also the financial components as well as the contract components through different vehicles across Canada.

 


Corey Cox, CIO of Tandet

Corey Cox - Disruption through early technology adoption

There was a time that Corey Cox thought his best day at work would be running into Donny Osmond while delivering a package, but now he’s a finalist for the CanadianCIO of the Year award.

For the past two decades, Cox has risen up the ranks of the transportation, equipment and power generation firm Tandet Group. Founded in 1978, the group has evolved to own various fleets of trucks and provide backup power generation to clients across Canada. After helping Tandet work through a major ERP migration and even adapting systems to avoid a Y2K crisis, Cox cemented his role as Tandet’s key technology decision maker.

Today, he’s combining modern technology architecture involving cloud services, Internet of Things, and APIs with business-critical data to improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction. We had a chance to do a deep dive with Cox about his career at Tandet and hear about some cutting-edge projects that he’s working on at the CanadianCIO Summit in Montebello, Que.

We’re doing a Q&A and podcast series with some of the most interesting CIOs nominated for our annual awards program. Follow along as we meet the technology decision makers that are driving innovation in Canada. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

Canadian CIO: You have been with Tandet for more than 20 years and have risen up to the role of CIO. Tell me about how that early career experience informs your job now and how you became the best person for your job.

Corey Cox: Well it certainly gives you some insight of what it’s like to be out on the road, dealing with traffic, and people who are working out in the hot sun all day, the different personality types, and the kind of stress you get. I think that’s driven a lot of my ability to understand what it is that we need to help improve a driver’s experience in the cab of their truck. It keeps me grounded in understand that this is ultimately what we really do – it’s all about the movement of product. No matter what is is that we deploy technically, it’s about getting the product from A to B in the most efficient way possible.

I am working for people that actually believe in technology and that technology is an integral part of the growth of a company in the modern age. I have a natural curiosity, I like that fact that things are constantly changing and I’m being challenged with something new, that has a bit of a cool factor to it. I get my chance to go hands-on with cutting-edge technology and that satisfies the curious in me.

CCIO: What was the worst day you had on the job as a courier vehicle driver?

Cox: I remember being trapped in an elevator in the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto for not too long – 20 or 30 minutes – and not knowing how we were going to get out. Or whether or not anybody actually knew that I was in there. That was fun.

How about a good day? Another time, in the same structure, I met Donnie Osmond as he was coming out from practicing for a play, Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, now that was really fun.

CCIO: You’re often asked to beta test new software by some of the major vendors you work with. How is it that you’ve gained a ‘beta tester’ reputation and how does it help you in your role as CIO?

Cox: I like to challenge myself and the people around me with new technology, new innovations, and product improvements. I think we get asked because we bring a strong technical response that’s in-depth, detailed, and provides the developer the ability to actually implement rapid fixes. That’s the point of a beta test, to have a real-world stress test, but have an intelligent response that gives the development community the ability to fix a problem as rapidly as possible.

It helps me because the developers can count on us for strong technical support during a beta phase, and we get our hands on early product development. We’re able to implement sooner in the company. It gives us a competitive advantage as we’re able to touch on these things before it goes out in the general release and is available to our competitors.

CCIO: What are a couple of things that you’re beta-testing right now?

Cox: In about two weeks I’ll be beta testing a new camera system for our trusts, a forward-facing camera system that’s meant to record traffic events occurring in front of the vehicle. What’s new is that we’re tying it into an onboard tablet that also has an independent accelerometer and other measurement devices to measure the G-forces and other things that are going on in the cab, to automatically earmark video footage when the sensors believe that an event has occurred that’s noteworthy. It will automatically earmark that and then advise our safety department that there may be footage that’s noteworthy. The driver also has the ability to earmark the footage on their own, but this gives us an independent measurement of things that are going on in the cabin for our safety and compliance review.

CCIO: Let’s dig into the nitty gritty of your technology a bit. Your speciality is in applying cross-functional software at Tandet and you have several critical components that you’re looking after in a ERP system, a VoIP system, and your fleet of drivers too. Give me a snapshot of all this and how you use this cross-functional software to help?

Cox: For ERP systems, there’s actually two major systems. One is an [IBM] i Series AS/400-based system and another a Windows-server based system. We run DB2, we run MS SQL, we run Skype for Business, Sharepoint, and another of other systems. Engine diagnostic software for connecting to trucks and diagnosing problems. I think the key thing that we do is tie these systems together through APIs.

For example with Sharepoint, we use it in a way that’s very unique and take advantage of its API infrastructure. We’ve created a billing engine that ties imaging to invoice delivery, and ties it together between two systems – so from two ERP systems we’ve created one billing engine. That allows our group, regardless of business unit involved, to be able to bill out, including sending scanned proofs of delivery signature documents, scale tickets, things that are needed. That’s the kind of thing we like to do, where we can have the freedom of choice to get the best of breed product, but tie it together using APIs, so we can create common interfaces so we can take advantage of their strengths while minimizing the stress that comes from multiple systems.

CCIO: The way you’re talking about APIs, I’m wondering if you’ve been tying into some public cloud services?

Cox: Yes, we talk about beta-testing and one of the things we’re doing right now with our cloud service provider from our Quebec-based mobile communications vendor, that provides a lot of onboard telemetry technology in our trucks, is where the drivers will be doing document scanning. We’re taking the documents, scanning them in the cab, pushing those to the cloud, and then pulling them back out and indexing them to the order that the driver is running that proof of delivery against. Then we throw it back to an image library which will then be turned immediately back out to the billing system. We’re doing that all with no touch, no human interaction.

CCIO: Can you tell me about whether you’re using IoT to help with your business?

Cox: Absolutely. Focusing on the cab, we worked with Chambly, Que.-based ISAAC Instruments, we have a solution that’s actually measuring about 100 to 150 different events a second, in a truck, from the distance that a driver’s foot is on the pedal of a brake and an accelerator, to the G-forces, horizontally and longitudinally in the truck, to the engine sensor information, coalescing all of that into GPS positioning. A tremendous amount of data we’re collecting that will allow us to improve safety and field performance.

CCIO: So does collecting all that data work? Are drivers behaving as desired?

Cox: Absolutely. When we first looked at this particular technology, we felt that’s what separated it from its competition, the propensity that it would work. It’s not a report at the end of the day or a report at the end of the week. It’s realtime feedback, in a very simple interface that simply tells you whether or not you’re hitting certain KPIs. But without the numbers, just with green dials, yellow dials, and red dials. I think there’s an innate human drive to want to be better, or at least to win. And when they are hitting green, that’s winning.







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