Atlantic Canada’s businesses need help. With technology advancing at a break-neck speed, companies are spending time and money just keeping up — and the result is a sprawling, unmanageable web of data, communication and security systems. IT departments are overburdened, spending 70 per cent of their time just keeping everything running smoothly, leaving them with barely any time to think about ways to use that technology to reduce costs, increase employee productivity or improve customer experience. In fact, according to business leaders, Atlantic Canadian IT teams spend an average of 200 hours a week just managing their networks. And this stat is downright unsettling: 64 per cent of business leaders say the complexity of their systems raises security concerns.
Fortunately, there is now a better way to manage IT — through the “as a service” model. In the same way that established utilities such as water and electricity are provided efficiently and reliably as a service, the crucial IT services that businesses depend on every hour of every day are now available in similar fashion. There’s no need for business leaders to fret about how, when or if the proverbial “lights will be kept on.” Through as a service, they will be – reliably and securely.
Leading the way as a provider of the “As a Service” model in Canada is Rogers. Their new suite of technology solutions under this umbrella includes Wi-Fi, Security, Internet of Things, and Cloud services. There is also Unison, an innovative service that brings to mobile users all of the business features found on traditional office phone systems. Rogers now also has a data centre presence in Atlantic Canada.
Bruce MacDougall, who has recently shifted into a new role as Rogers’ Regional President for the Atlantic provinces, explains how Rogers is taking the burden of day-to-day tasks off of in-house IT departments: “We want to flip the 70/30 ratio by providing businesses with the technology and tools to drive business outcomes. This means we take care of managing the technology, so they can focus on running the business. It also means businesses don’t face large upfront capital costs to implement state-of-the-art solutions.”
These are high-quality solutions, too. Because of Rogers’ size, they’re able to provide a range of services and a level of expertise that many businesses otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
“A company with an IT staff of five won’t generally have a specialist in all areas,” says MacDougall. “But we have a specialized staff with deep knowledge of all of our “as a service” products. Rogers offers white glove customer service to our business customers to ensure those previous IT pain points disappear.”
And there are plenty of useful services to choose from.
Infrastructure as a Service Cloud Platform: Rogers’ IaaS offers a variety of cloud platform options covering many of the needs of Canadian businesses.
Having these services offered by a Canadian company is a significant factor.
“We have cloud computing services that are hosted in Atlantic Canada right now,” says MacDougall. “This is great for companies looking for all the benefits of cloud computing while being assured that their data isn’t leaving the region.”
Wi-Fi as a Service: Many businesses now offer Wi-Fi access to customers and employees, but according to MacDougall, managing it can be a headache. With Wi-Fi as a Service, Rogers manages it all for you. They also offer a Rapid Application Development Platform, which MacDougall says “allows businesses to create applications that generate customer analytics in order to better engage with customers.”
Internet of Things (IoT) as a Service: Most of us know about the personal side of the Internet of Things through cloud-based security systems, thermostats, and lights that can be controlled from your phone. But Rogers is taking the Internet of Things much further, as the first Canadian telecom provider to offer IoT solutions to business and industry.
“Rogers’ IoT services offer advanced tracking and monitoring solutions for the agriculture, transport, and food service industries. These services allow comprehensive information to be gathered about important parameters such as refrigeration temperature throughout the production, transportation, and consumption of food products, ” says MacDougall.
Security as a Service: Rogers recognizes that security is critical to all of these services. They’re able to provide a high level of expertise thanks to their partnership with Trustwave, an international leader in the Cyber-Security field. Trustwave specializes in preventing cyber-crime, protecting data and detecting and reducing security risks. And that’s exactly what this service provides to customers.
“Our cyber security solutions are going to be offered alongside our other solutions and tailored to fit the needs of each individual business,” explains MacDougall.
Rogers’ security service options also include access to their new Halifax data centre, which came with the acquisition of Internetworking Atlantic Inc. (IAI) in late 2015. The facility, which brings Rogers’ total of Canadian data centres to 16, has a range of security features, from the more esoteric protection measures handled by cyber-security experts to the multi-level physical security protecting client data. And thanks to an independent operational auditing process, customers can trust they’re getting the security that’s advertised.
Rogers Unison: Since many Atlantic Canadian businesses have a mobile workforce, they need advanced mobile technology to let their employees do their best work from any location. To meet this need, Rogers has launched Unison, currently the only technology of its kind in Canada. This product lets employees use all the landline features they’re used to — like four-digit dialling, simultaneous ring, and call forwarding — on their mobile phones.
“It allows companies to get rid of landlines without losing functionality. It also helps them cut costs by up to 40 per cent and be more responsive to customers,” says MacDougall.
Rogers has made big investments in Atlantic Canada over the last two decades. Company founder Ted Rogers, who was known as a pioneer in telecommunications and a true innovator, always believed this region was key to the national company’s success. A reinvigoration of Rogers’ enterprise business here, particularly in Nova Scotia, continues the company’s commitment to innovation and offering first-class products and solutions.
“Over the years, Rogers has purchased a number of companies in Atlantic Canada, like Cable Atlantic in Newfoundland, Shaw (formerly Fundy Cable) in New Brunswick and most recently, my former company, Internetworking Atlantic,” says MacDougall. “By competing in this space, we believe we’re advancing the Canadian economy.”
Including the employees working in their major New Brunswick call centre in downtown Moncton, Rogers employs about 1,500 people in Atlantic Canada, including technicians, sales executive and media employees. And the company’s investment goes beyond people; they’ve also spent a significant amount on cable infrastructure, fibre-optic networks, and mobile coverage in the region.
“We have invested significantly in the Rogers mobile network,” says MacDougall. “We’ve upgraded our LTE network and launched Rogers Extended Coverage, which ensures our customers have coverage in all of the nooks and crannies of Atlantic Canada.”
With all of these new offerings close at hand, it looks like Atlantic Canadian businesses will finally be able to streamline their IT departments, freeing them up to do the things they should be doing — finding innovative ways to make their businesses better.