The IT strategy question you SHOULD be asking

Allstream’s director of solutions partner marketing discusses the technologies that will have the greatest impact on Canadian IT departments in 2013

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Mike LaPalme is an experienced kids’ hockey coach, so he’s used to parents that pay close attention to the score. Recently, however, he noticed their attention has been focused not necessarily on the boards, but on something else: their iPads.

“If those scores are not up in real time, the parents are up in arms,” LaPalme, Allstream’s director of solutions partner marketing, said Sunday when he was a guest on’s Business to Business Show with hosts Greg Derocher and Ian Maclean. “The other funny thing is when girls are asking each other for a roll of (hockey) tape over their devices. They’ll be texting each other from the change room.”

For LaPalme, what happens in his local hockey arena is just a small example of how mobile technologies are making an impact on the world at large. He told the Business to Business Show that, along with virtualization and collaboration technologies, mobility is among the converging forces creating a “perfect storm” for IT departments across Canada.

“I think the real question is, ‘what can Canadian businesses no longer afford to ignore?’ This is the question we’re asking ourselves in the industry,” he said, adding that businesses will soon realize their need to be proactive about how they address the converging forces. “They have to have a plan, and they have to start executing that in the next year.”

Virtualization provides a foundation of sorts for companies to begin the first phase of that plan, LaPalme suggested, by turning IT infrastructure and related services into something more resembling a utility like electricity.

“We can make it secure and let businesses to take full advantage of that (flexibility),” he said. “We can make that become impactful in the context of business.”

Collaboration, meanwhile, will tie together voice, video, data and other forms of communication to connect employees across disparate locations, fostering creativity but especially increased productivity.

“Technology is used to reduce human latency – to get more out of people,” he said.

For more specific ideas on how to tackle the converging forces head-on, register for The Perfect IT Storm: Collaboration, Virtualization and Mobility, featuring Forrester Research and others on Jan. 22. 

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