CSO First Person Review

Whether it’s email, instant messaging, video conferencing, or social networking, collaboration means many different things to different organizations. Building the perfect collaboration solution across an organization can often call on the use of multiple different tools and technologies.

CSO Digital kept that in mind when reaching out recently to four organizations to hear their collaboration tool use cases and stories.

For a more complete look at this month’s First-Person Review feature, check out the May 2016 issue of CSO Digital.


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Karen Schulman Dupuis, past COO and vice-president of business design, Ellipsis Digital

Collaboration Tool: Slack

Ellipsis Digital is a digital strategy agency based out of London, Ont. Collaboration was a business imperative, says business designer Karen Schulman Dupuis, the firm’s former COO. So too was security due to its direct impact on client privacy.

The company was using JIRA as a ticketing solution and HipChat for real-time communications, but when made aware of an obscure-but-possible exploit, a change was needed to maintain the firm’s strict security requirements. It went with the cloud-based team collaboration tool Slack.

“There were a number of factors: the whole momentum and sexy factor; great UI; great UX; Canadian start-up. UI/UX was an important consideration, ease of integration was another, but privacy was really paramount.”

For a more complete look at this First-Person Review, check out the May 2016 issue of CSO Digital


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Silviu Hinta, vice-president of technology, Expedia CruiseShipCenters

Collaboration Tool: Microsoft Office 365

Expedia CruiseShipCenters markets and sells cruise vacations. Headquartered in Vancouver, the company has more than 200 franchise locations in North America with the bulk in Canada. One in four cruises sold in Canada are through the company.

Being primarily a franchise business creates unique software (and licensing) needs for Expedia CruiseShipCenters, according to vice-president of technology Silviu Hinta. Although the company has 4000 agents with which it must communicate, it only has about 100 people in the corporate office.

Over 28 years, the company has used various solutions for collaboration, but in 2012 signed its first contract for Microsoft Office 365 after researching and finding it to be “good value”. It has since proved to be a stable, solid solution, Hinta says. “We’ve had lights on all the way.”

For a more complete look at this First-Person Review, check out the May 2016 issue of CSO Digital


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Kleber Bonadia, director of IT, Flex Contact Center

Collaboration Tool: IBM Connections Cloud and IBM Verse

Flex Contact Center is a professional services company that offers telesales, call-centre, anti-attrition, back-office, helpdesk and collection services out of its 12 sites across two states and four cities in Brazil. The company employs more than 11,000 people, 2,000 of which are in the back office—although dispersed across the country—using IBM collaboration tools.

The company saw an opportunity to improve employee collaboration and chose IBM Connections Cloud and IBM Verse as “an ideal way to support fast growth,” according to Kleber Bonadia, director of IT. “It had the features we needed for email and calendar, but also other needs like chat, archiving, and directory assistance for files.”

For a more complete look at this First-Person Review, check out the May 2016 issue of CSO Digital


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Arlene McDonald, vice-president of corporate technology solutions, PointClickCare

Collaboration Tool: Cisco WebEx

Headquartered in Mississauga, Ont., PointClickCare is a provider of a cloud-based platform that supports senior care providers in the area of long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC).

The majority of what the company does is collaboration, notes Arlene McDonald, its vice-president of corporate technology solutions, whether internally, between customer support teams and the LTPAC network, or for sales and marketing.

As a tech company itself, McDonald stresses how important it is to its reputation that collaboration goes off without a hitch.

The company uses Cisco WebEx because it is “broadly known and broadly understood.” Familiarity is crucial in collaboration, McDonald points out. “It almost needs to be foolproof, and Cisco does a good job there.”

Still, she points out that IT has a tendency of looking to find solutions that work for the “typical user” and for collaboration tools there is no such thing; everyone’s communications styles and personas must be understood and accommodated.

For a more complete look at this First-Person Review, check out the May 2016 issue of CSO Digital



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Lawrence Cummer
Lawrence ("Law") Cummer is a Toronto-based freelance writer and editor who's followed the technology trade for two decades. He has a passion for sharing how people can work better, easier—and maybe "smarter"—from technologists to executives to home contractors.

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