Driving Productivity with Connected Workplace Solutions

SteveVanBinsbergen-01This interview with Steve Van Binsbergen, Vice President of Business Marketing at Rogers, was originally published in the Spring 2014 edition of the Toronto Region Board of Trade’s On Board Magazine. Reprinted with permission.  

How are innovations in technology driving change in the Canadian workplace?

A transformation is taking place in the ways that Canadians think about work, partly as a result of the wider availability of technology.  Rogers recently partnered with Harris Decima to capture attitudes of Canadians toward technology and the workplace.  One key finding is that employees want more flexibility in the workplace. Specifically, they’re interested in working remotely, enjoying flexible work hours and choosing the devices they use daily. Two-thirds of employed Canadians said they would be more satisfied if their employer allowed them to work remotely. One-third would even sacrifice benefits like salary and vacation days to make remote work a reality. When asked to project forward five years, six-in-ten people said that either flexible work hours or having the ability to work from anywhere would be their top priority.

For more from Steve Van Binsbergen on the transformation of work, watch our video. 

What is the impact of these changes on productivity? Are they cause for optimism or concern?

It really depends on how businesses respond to the demand for greater flexibility. Employers need to listen to their workforce; at the same time they shouldn’t sacrifice practices that have traditionally driven productivity and employee satisfaction. For example, employees still value a collaborative workplace.  Seventy-six per cent of Canadians said a collaborative environment makes them more productive, and almost eight-in-ten agree that their job morale is positively influenced by face-to-face interactions. The message? Businesses need to ensure that they enable employees to achieve the benefits of in-person interaction while working remotely.

What can businesses do to ensure that the transformation of work drives positive business results?

First, ask your employees what they need to be more productive. Our research tells us that today’s workplace isn’t really meeting employees’ expectations. Employees are spending over half their days on desktop computers and landline phones, whereas they would like to spend more time on mobile devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets.  In fact, three-quarters of full-time employed workers say that smartphones make them more productive, and the same number report being more satisfied with their employers.

Second, enable collaboration from anywhere. This no longer means making people come into the office for face-to-face meetings. Instead, companies can invest in solutions that allow teams to collaborate with tools like video conferencing, screen sharing and IP-based voice services. These cloud solutions can be accessed anywhere there is a broadband connection and on almost any smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.

Third, balance flexibility with security and good governance. Workplace policies are critically important. For example, 30 per cent of Canadians said their employer offers a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. Letting employees use their personal devices (with or without company reimbursement) to check corporate email or to use an enterprise app is one way to achieve a more connected workplace. However, IT departments need to understand the implications of personal devices at work, including potential security risks, and ensure the right policies and tools are in place to secure and manage these devices.

What productivity and collaboration tools is your business adopting? 

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RedBoard Biz wishes you a happy Earth Day!

Ewaste recyclingThe RedBoard Biz team wants to wish you all a very happy Earth Day. We encourage you to take a minute or two of your time today to do a little something extra for the planet.

More than one billion people take part in Earth Day each year. On April 22, individuals, communities, organizations and governments promote activities to protect our planet.

To support Earth Day, Rogers Data Centres  has teamed up with Artex Environmental and is inviting data centre customers to dispose of electronic equipment at five data centres  locations across Canada as part of their annual Earth Day eWaste program.

On April 23 and 24, customers and employees are invited to drop-off retired and obsolete electronic waste, from servers to cell phones and everything in between, at the  Toronto_DC3 (Markham), London, Ottawa and Edmonton centres as well as the newly opened Calgary_DC3 (Airdrie) facility.

Last year, Rogers Data Centres collected 43,970 pounds or nearly 20 tonnes of eWaste, adding to the more than 14 tonnes of eWaste that was diverted from landfills and developing countries during our 2012 collection efforts.

For more information on Rogers eWaste collection events, visit rogersdatacentres.com/events.

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Rogers Alerts discovers what customers think of location-based mobile offers

Rogers AlertsIt’s no secret that Canadians love getting a deal, and now they’re looking to their smartphones to help them find one.

Rogers Alerts, which allows Rogers wireless customers to access personalized, location-based offers from their favourite retailers on their smartphones, released new research today about Canadian attitudes towards location-based engagement with retailers.

Overall, the findings reveal that consumers value the location-based alerts, with more than two-thirds of users (68 per cent) reading all of their text offers. The majority surveyed said they were looking forward to receiving offers (67 per cent) and wished more of their favourite retailers offered location-based alerts (86 per cent).

With location-based marketing, your business can do double duty, promoting your brand while helping potential customers find you. And the research shows those customers want to find you, especially when they’re on the go.

What else did the researchers find?

Location-based offers drive increased foot traffic: After receiving a mobile offer:

  • 29 per cent visited a new location
  • 27 per cent visited a store
  • 44 per cent planned to visit.

Of those who shopped, 16 per cent reported their store visit was unplanned.

Mobile Alerts drive sales: Twenty per cent of customers who made an offer purchase also bought additional items. Customers responded quickly, too, with nearly a third redeeming immediately and 78 per cent taking action within 48 hours of receiving the mobile offer.

To learn more about Rogers Alerts, visit www.rogersalerts.ca.

Do you offer your customers location-based deals?

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Rogers launches new international travel packs and data-only rate for business

RoamingWhether you’re in Hong Kong or London, travelling for business means always staying in touch. To help make it even more convenient to use your smartphone overseas, Rogers has launched new international travel packs and a data-only rate of $9.99 per day.

New international travel packs for globetrotters
We’ve launched a whole new set of International travel packs offering data, text and minutes in one convenient package – no need to purchase individual plans. These new packs are available for each international zone so you can stay connected no matter where your business takes you. Purchase one before you leave by texting “Travel” to 7626 or click the link provided in the SMS Rogers will send you when you’ve arrived at your destination.


New international data-only rate for $9.99 per day
You may already enjoy our $7.99 per day data rate when travelling to the U.S. Now we’ve rolled out a $9.99 per day data-only rate that helps business customers stay connected while travelling internationally (data allowances vary by travel zone).

If you’re travelling to England, for example, $9.99 will give you access to 20 MBs of data over a 24-hour period. That means you could easily send about 400 emails, visit 80 websites or access 20 maps.

We’ll help track your data usage

Rogers will automatically apply the daily data-only rate to your account upon the first MB of data used while travelling if you don’t buy a travel plan in advance or have custom roaming rates associated with your business account. This will help if you’ve forgotten to plan ahead. Customers in Newfoundland and Quebec will need to opt-in one time only to receive the rate.

If you’re deciding between a travel offer from your carrier or a local pre-paid SIM, click here to read more about why we think going with your carrier is more convenient.

For more information about our new easy ways to stay connected as you travel internationally check out rogers.com/businessroaming.

Where do you travel most often for business?

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The suretap wallet has arrived: What you need to know

SuretapMobile payments are taking off in Canada. Banks, telcos and retailers are all getting into the payments space with mobile wallets or payment apps. For the everyday consumer or retailer it can be hard to keep up.

Today we announced we’ll offer our NFC-enabled smartphone customers the suretap wallet. The suretap wallet is an application that lets you make payments with your NFC-enabled smartphone at the same contactless point of sale terminals we use today.  Customers can store and manage eligible cards they currently carry in their wallet, all in one place on their smartphone.

Customers can also purchase virtual gift cards or send gift cards to a friend through the suretap wallet.

With the suretap wallet, retailers have a new way to reach customers on their mobile devices. The suretap wallet is an “open wallet” meaning it is designed for any bank, loyalty card or gift card issuer to have their products in the wallet and available to consumers.

Here are a few ways the suretap wallet can help Canadian retailers:

Faster check-outs for your customers: The suretap wallet uses NFC (Near Field Communication, a form of secure, short-range wireless communication) technology that works with the same contactless payment terminals that customers already use with some of today’s credit and debit cards. As a merchant, all you need to accept mobile payments made with suretap is a contactless payment terminal.

No new or additional fees: There are no additional or new fees associated with processing mobile payments on the suretap wallet.  This is because the suretap wallet is taking cards that consumers carry today, and making them available on their smartphones.

Better loyalty and engagement programs on mobile: In the future, suretap wallet will become the place on their smartphone for consumers to store all of their loyalty and gift cards. As a retailer, you now have the ability to create virtual versions of your loyalty and gift cards and can develop personalized offers.

For more information on the suretap wallet, visit rogers.com/suretap

Have you started to accept mobile payments?

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Four questions about mobility expense management with Ken Gouveia

KenKen Gouveia, Director, Managed Services, Rogers shares his expertise on why mobility costs are rising and how enterprises can better manage them.

1. Ericsson has indicated that wireless usage increased 50 per cent in 2013. Can you explain why?

The ongoing shift from legacy devices to more data-hungry smartphone platforms means not only that more data is being used, but also that there are increasingly more ways to use that data. There is an increasing number of mobile applications available to users and this drives increased data consumption. Public apps can generate significant usage on a user basis, and while enterprise mobile apps add a lot of value to your business, they also increase wireless usage.

In addition, roaming is on the rise as people take advantage of plans to remain connected while travelling internationally.

2. What can our customers do to better manage the costs associated with their wireless usage?

There are four ways to best achieve cost management:

First, wireless service plan optimization is crucial for ensuring efficient use of mobility plans. Companies should review their usage on a plan-by-plan basis every three months.

Second, visibility into mobility usage costs is key to knowing how to control your monthly spend. Policy management and user awareness can be big factors in managing escalating mobility costs.

Third, a telecommunications audit by an experienced consultant can help companies control their wireless and wireline telecom spend. Such audits collect past invoicing information and find savings opportunities and potential areas of overspend.

Finally, a telecom expense management solution can help manage day-to-day order/provisioning activity, it can help validate and control optimal mobility service use, and it facilitates cost allocation, reporting and management.

For more advice from Ken Gouveia about managing the total cost of mobility, watch our video. 

3. Recent Gartner research indicates that the cost to support mobility in the enterprise increased by 30 per cent in 2013. Why is this?

The mobile device landscape is expanding at an accelerating rate—there are multiple device vendors  to choose from, multiple platforms (including BlackBerry, iOS, many versions of Android, Windows Phone and other emerging platforms such as Firefox and Tizen) to consider. Some of these devices are company-owned, and others are being brought in by employees requiring access to company networks. Beyond devices, more and more enterprise mobile applications are being deployed across multiple platforms, and this further increases support requirements.

All these options have very real effects at the business level: IT departments have lost a lot of the control they once had over supported mobile devices and platforms. To support mobility today, companies are hiring more IT staff (end user helpdesks, device operating system upgrades, application management, etc.). They’re also increasingly investing in software licenses and network infrastructure upgrades.

4. What can our customers do to control mobility support costs?

Companies need plans in place to control these costs—but you can’t create a plan without first knowing where your costs lie. The best way to begin is to analyze your company’s wireless expenses so that you understand its total cost of mobility. Once you know where the money is going, you can begin to develop policies designed to monitor and manage those expenses. One way to control such costs is to consider managed mobility services to help with order fulfilment, expense management, device management and end user helpdesk support. These services are delivered by mobility experts and provide enhanced functionality, cost savings and improved service management.

A managed mobility services partner working as an extension of your IT team will reduce unnecessary duplication of effort, control escalating costs and enable your workforce with enterprise-class mobility capabilities. They can also mitigate the challenge of keeping overworked IT staff current, trained and comfortable with the latest mobility devices, platforms and toolsets.

How does your company manage mobility expenses?

 

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Endeavor Snowboard Design stays connected

Endeavor Snowboard Design started out as a dream for former professional snowboarder Max Jenke.

“We wanted to capture that feeling we all had when we first started snowboarding,” Jenke says. “In 2002 when we had the chance to make some boards, we had to do it and the company was started. We had no idea what we were doing except we knew what we loved.”

They’ve been designing and prototyping in their own Archetype Snowboard Lab ever since.

Based in Vancouver, within a short drive of the snowboarding mecca of Whistler-Blackcomb, Endeavor is really about all things creative: graphic design, street art, technology, innovation, quality, and even music. Jenke claims snowboarding isn’t a sport; it’s a lifestyle and an outlet of self-expression.

The six-man operation claims more than 75 years in the snowboard industry, and it shows: Endeavor boards have won board tests, graced the covers of the top magazines, and boast a warranty return rate of less than one per cent.

With multiple factories in Asia, 12 sales agencies throughout North America and 30 worldwide distributors, Endeavor designs, markets, and produces two snowboarding brands sold in over 34 countries. That keeps Jenke is on the road much of the time. But whether he’s in Hong Kong or Harbin, Mumbai or Moscow, he says Rogers lets him stay in touch with his team and the office.

To learn more about Endeavor, check out the latest video in our series:

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Moving beyond fire-fighting: Innovation and IT spending

redfire

ZDNet recently published an article, “Forget strategy, IT managers are too busy fighting fires,” that describes what day-to-day life is like for IT managers. Author Colin Barker writes that rather than focusing on innovation, embracing new technology, or growing their businesses, IT leaders spend most of their time fighting fires.

Fire-fighting, keeping the lights on, bailing water out of the boat—the metaphors matter much less than what they point to: the loss of the spirit of innovation that gave birth to IT in the first place. Almost half of those surveyed identified supporting their company’s basic IT operations as their primary job activity. Barker also notes that 33 per cent list cutting costs/cost management as central to their jobs.

These two startling facts give rise to a question: How is effective cost management that supports business growth even possible if your daily tech focus is to keep things running? This kind of cost management just isn’t likely to break that fire-fighting trend. So how can IT leaders extract themselves from this dilemma?

1. Think about IT spend long-term and strategically—the same way you think about business goals. Realizing the goals laid out in your three- or five-year strategic plan will become easier if you have the technology infrastructure and services in place to do more than simply manage the day-to-day. Invest in infrastructure and services that will support your strategic goals instead of inhibiting them.

2. Perform an IT/telecom spend audit. A formal audit, done either in-house or outsourced to specialists, will help you get a clear and detailed picture of where and how your organization currently spends its money. You’ll likely find that unnecessary costs have been growing due to unused services, outdated infrastructure, and inefficient and duplicate processes. Discovering where you can legitimately cut costs without undermining still valuable infrastructure and programs will open up possibilities for smart investments elsewhere.

3. Spend the money you save to build your future. An audit can form the basis for a technology spend overhaul that will move you away from fire-fighting and towards business innovation. The effective IT leaders of both the near and longer terms will be those who find the opportunities for advancing their business goals through optimizing their IT spend.

Re-evaluating how you invest in technology today can lead to more strategic IT investments tomorrow. And this can help make sure that your talented IT team isn’t just putting out fires, but is also using their invaluable skills to drive innovation and productivity.

How else might you begin moving away from IT damage control to get back to innovating?

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Why the Samsung GALAXY S5 is built for business

Samsung Galaxy S5We’ve just added Samsung’s new Android smartphone, the GALAXY S5, to the Rogers Reservation system. The new flagship gadget comes with productivity-boosting features that are particularly handy for business consumers: a bigger screen, longer battery life, a more durable build and water-resistant technology.

Wonder what makes the new Samsung GALAXY S5 a one-of-a-kind business phone? We’ve got you covered:

  1. Fingerprint Scanner

We know how important security is to small businesses. The GALAXY S5 is one of the first Android phones to feature the latest fingerprint technology. You can keep your phone secure when it’s not in use, without the need for cumbersome password screens. This extra security boost is good for business users who regularly access private business or client data on their mobile device.

You can also use the scanner to access Private Mode, a place to store your most sensitive documents and emails — a feature that isn’t available on other scanner-equipped smartphones.

  1. Bigger, better display

At 5.2 inches, the GALAXY S5′s screen is a bit bigger than its predecessor.  That little extra screen real estate can go a long way toward improving productivity, not to mention readability for lengthy emails!

  1. Faster Hardware

The GALAXY S5 packs a quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, so business users can expect seriously speedy performance. The phone also features LTE/Wi-Fi aggregation technology, which lets you download one file using both networks, resulting in faster downloads. This is great for accessing and viewing large files stored in the cloud.

Reserve your Samsung GALAXY S5 now through the Rogers Reservation System. For more information visit our website or contact your Rogers Representative.

What business tasks make you rely on your mobile phone?

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Head in the clouds? Cloud computing 101 for business

Cloud computingSmall businesses look to the cloud to share large images, presentation decks or video files with their team across desktops, laptops and even tablets. The cloud can enhance productivity, flexibility and scalability. But what exactly is the cloud?

Defining the cloud

The cloud is an internet technology platform with computing and storage capabilities.

Small business customers can access groups of virtual servers on-demand and providers typically charge fees on a per-use basis.

The cloud allows developers, website managers, IT departments and small and medium businesses to quickly develop, test and roll out new tech capabilities without spending a lot on infrastructure and training.

Types of clouds

No, you won’t see nimbus or cumulus here! But various types of cloud environments meet the scalability, security and performance needs of different users. Generally, clouds for business customers fall under three main categories:

Public clouds: Public or multi-tenant clouds are delivered by a third party such as Rogers Mobile Work Folder. A public cloud can save companies the potentially expensive costs of purchasing, managing and maintaining on-premise hardware and software.

Private clouds: Also referred to as an internal cloud, a private cloud exists within a corporate firewall, under the control of a single company’s IT department. A private cloud is designed to offer the same features and benefits of public cloud systems, but allows individual companies to control security and access to company data, as well as ensure regulatory compliance.

Hybrid clouds: As the name implies, a hybrid cloud combines features of both private and public clouds. Ideally, a hybrid lets businesses take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness of a public cloud. Businesses may begin using certain applications in a public cloud and then move them to a private cloud as needs or numbers of users change.

Why try the cloud?

Cloud services offer flexibility for small and medium businesses . Businesses can get to market faster, respond to changing customer demands, maintain their security and meet seasonal spikes trouble-free—all while managing the costs associated with hardware, software and support.

For more information on Rogers Mobile Work folder, Office 365 or other services for small business, visit Rogers.com/smallbusiness.

How does your team harness the cloud?

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