Tom Sweeney

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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Coming to Terms with the Consumerization of IT

Posted by sweens on July 14, 2011

By: R “Ray” Wang
R “Ray” Wang is Principal Analyst and CEO at Constellation Research Group.
The corporate e-mail server is down, but work doesn’t grind to a halt. Everybody just switches to Gmail, Skype, or BB Chat to get around the inconvenience. For the most part, they’re using these consumer technologies at work already — often because they’re better than anything the IT department can provide.

Except at financial, defense-related, and other firms that still lock down employees’ network access for reasons of security and legal compliance, this is the new reality. Technologies available to consumers at low cost or even for free are increasingly pushing aside enterprise applications. They’re not just more familiar and more attractive to use, they’re often more reliable. Software-as-a-Service and Cloud vendors mostly deliver 99.9% uptime. In an upcoming Constellation Research survey of IT departments, preliminary results show internal reliability ranging from 97% to 99.1%.

For the next generation of knowledge workers, entering the workplace often feels like entering a computer science museum. Newly minted college grads face resistance to bringing their own devices to work, have to collaborate with ancient tools that lack basic Google Docs functionality, and face social media policies crafted by clueless legal teams without an understanding of the social psyche. That alone will add what I estimate to be a one-third productivity tax on the newly entered workforce — because workers have to hunt for information, applications inhibit collaboration, and legal requirements prevent business innovation.

Business Leaders Now Drive Technology Purchasing

For IT leaders accustomed to having control over corporate technology, this represents a huge challenge — and it’s one they’re not meeting very well. While overall corporate tech spending is up by 17 to 20% in our latest data, spending by IT departments is flat at best. It’s business leaders, not their IT colleagues, who are driving purchasing decisions. Which makes sense: business leaders are tasked with deploying technologies for strategic advantage. They must move fast to gain a competitive edge.

The big danger in this business-driven approach to technology is that it can be slapdash, leaving IT to spend all its time in clean-up mode. When IT leads the purchasing, systems remain structured, orderly, and efficient. However, businesses suffer under the weight of this standardization as market conditions change and IT can’t react fast enough.

So what’s a business supposed to do?

An Enterprise-Class Checklist for Consumerization of IT

From conversations with over 100 early adopters, we’ve found some elements that help IT teams and business leaders come to terms with the consumerization of IT. These six elements have emerged as a quick checklist for determining what kinds of consumer tech are appropriate the enterprise:

1. Simple. Solutions should embody design thinking at the outset. Technology should not require a manual. Solutions should be easy to use and self-service.
2. Scalable. Solutions should flex up and flex down as demand changes. Technology must work in a wide range of environments.
3. Safe. Organizations expect these solutions to not only integrate with ease but also not to harm existing systems or jeopardize how users perform daily work and operations. New technology must not adversely impact another proven system.
4. Secure. These solutions should pass encryption requirements, prevent data intrusion, and protect key intellectual property assets. Resources must be invested to fend off internal and external digital threats.
5. Sustainable. Consumer technologies must meet requirements for flexibility and adaptability over longer periods of time (e.g. 7 to 10 years). Platforms must allow users to extend and expand their functionality. Solutions should be extensible.
6. Sexy. Solutions must draw passion among users. Users must enjoy using the software.

The Bottom Line
IT and business leaders need to work together and operate in parallel. If IT slows down the business capability to innovate, the company will suffer as new business models emerge and infrastructure will fail to keep up. If business moves ahead of IT in technology, then the company fails because IT will spend years cleaning up technology messes. As technologies mature, IT should take over the commoditized technologies and drive efficiencies. With new technologies, businesses should start with some basic requirements to ensure future compatibility with existing systems. We’ve yet to see many organizations succeed in building a coordinated plan, but one can expect that those who figure it out will be among tomorrow’s leaders.

Posted in News, Recruitment | 2 Comments »

The Unemployed Worker’s New Friend: Outsourcers

Posted by sweens on July 12, 2011

Job Hunters Pay Firms to Launch Résumé Blitz
By: Joe Light

Last summer, Mel Moomjean was unemployed and looking for a job as a sales director, but without meaning to he also applied for work as a receptionist, manicurist and fitness coach. His résumé, which highlights more than 20 years’ experience managing sales teams, even landed at the beauty salon his wife goes to. It was looking for a stylist.

Gary Bauer, the salon’s owner, thought Mr. Moomjean was joking. “I talked to his wife, and we had a good laugh about it.”

It wasn’t a joke. Mr. Moomjean had outsourced his job hunt.

For a $10 monthly fee ($40 for the first month) an automated service called sent out more than 500 job applications in five months on Mr. Moomjean’s behalf. Within a day after a job opening hit the Web, the service scanned it for certain keywords. In Mr. Moomjean’s case, the words included “sales” and “retail.” If the listing was a match, the service would fire off a résumé to the employer without so much as showing it to the applicant.

Mr. Moomjean, who had been mostly out of work for two years, said the salon misfire was just a bit of collateral damage, a cost of his scattershot approach to finding work. “I think I was overqualified for the receptionist job,” he said facetiously.

Clients among U.S. job seekers are hoping to beat the soft job market and tedium of searching with the help of fast-growing niche outsourcing services that rely on computers and workers in India. Customers can send thousands of job applications in a flash, but spamming employers with résumés leads to some strange mishaps.

MyJobHunter is unique in its reliance on software. Customers of pay $30 a week to have their job applications sent out by workers based across the U.S. and abroad.

At, candidates pay up to $98 a week for one of a team of workers in Visakhapatnam, India, to find openings and apply for jobs. Many of JobSerf’s workers join the company because their English is too rudimentary for them to work in a call center, says CEO Jay Martin.

So language difficulties do crop up. When JobSerf six years ago first tested its service with a few U.S. executive clients, its Indian workers applied on their behalf to a number of adult-entertainment companies.

“They were porn magnets,” says Mr. Martin. “They’d apply to CEO and CFO jobs at every porn outfit out there,” says Mr. Martin. The company quickly taught the workers to avoid listings with “XXX” or “adult entertainment” in their descriptions, he adds.

Even with the rules in place, applications still miss the mark. Frankie Balint, 24, of Washington, D.C., hired JobSerf last fall to apply to finance jobs and openings with nonprofit organizations involved in politics or foreign affairs. But one of his first callbacks was for a position selling playground equipment.

“I emailed the guy in charge of my search in India to set new parameters,” he said.

Ultimately, Mr. Balint’s Indian team helped him land a job at Brooklyn Bridge to Cambodia, an outfit that helps small-business owners.

The shotgun approach to applications has other drawbacks: When recruiters call candidates about a job, they often don’t realize that it is something they have applied for.

A district manager for a Krispy Kreme doughnut franchise was taken aback when she called Mr. Moomjean about his application only to learn he had no idea what she was calling about.

“He didn’t know who I was or where I got his application,” recalled Melissa Surby-Curtin, the franchise group’s district manager. “I thought ‘Oh, this isn’t a good start.'”

Mr. Moomjean explained the service to Ms. Surby-Curtin, who now says that Mr. Moomjean’s qualifications fit what they were looking for so perfectly that she didn’t mind how he initially reached out.

Despite the initial confusion, Mr. Moomjean landed the position last August—fund-raising director for the group.

While many U.S. employers have received applications from the outsourcing services, few know they even exist, says Mr. Martin. They mask the email address to make it appear the application has come straight from the applicant. Job seekers, who sometimes aren’t clear in stating their requirements, are to blame for misdirected applications, said Sanjay Dasgupta, head of the JobSerf team in Visakhapatnam. MyJobHunter officials also say their automated system is only as good as the job hunter’s search parameters.

In a span of 240 hours over three months last summer, JobSerf’s staff applied to 711 jobs on behalf of IT manager Colin Campbell, 34, of Cincinnati. Mr. Campbell said he got dozens of calls from potential employers. But he didn’t get his current job that way; he got it through a personal connection.

On a single day last summer, Greg Moffitt, 47, of Houston, sent out more than 100 applications via MyJobHunter. An irritated recruiter, who got his résumé three times, eventually called to ask him to stop.

“I knew that 20% of positions were a complete miss, but I’d rather have too many submissions than too few,” Mr. Moffitt said.

Clients can set search parameters as wide or as narrow as they want. And that can result in either sending out just a few applications in a day or hundreds. Occasionally, the sheer abundance of job applications some clients send can spin out of control, forcing the services to cut them off. MyJobHunter’s service was once slowed by a customer who set his parameters so wide that he applied for more than 20,000 jobs, said Lee Marc, CEO of eDirect Publishing Inc., which owns MyJobHunter.

“They’re like junkies,” said Mr. Marc, who once had a customer apply to 10,000 jobs in a week.

This past fall, JobSerf accidentally forwarded the résumé of a New York University law student to a firm he had asked them not to contact. He had wanted to handle the application for the summer associate position himself.

Although the student’s own résumé was ignored, the JobSerf application landed him a phone interview, said the student.

Syracuse, N.Y., lawyer Joseph Mancuso also received an application from the candidate and was surprised to learn that he had received an outsourced application. “I respond to every single [application] individually,” he said. “I personalize the form letters myself.”


Posted in News, Recruitment | 2 Comments »

Receive A Job Counter-Offer? Don’t Take It

Posted by sweens on July 12, 2011

Hal Reiter

Pitting your employer against another in a bidding war for you is often career suicide.

A few years ago, I recruited an executive to run a mid-level company. The night before he was supposed to start his new job, the executive called to say he was staying put. The board of directors at his current company–a major multinational retailer–had offered to name him CEO in one year’s time.

I was aghast, but my former candidate could hardly envision a better scenario. He had leveraged an offer to run a mid-sized company and used it to land the coveted top spot at a retailing giant. No greater career coup exists, right?


After three tumultuous years as CEO, my former candidate was fired. This executive was not yet ready to run such a large organization. Had he accepted the job at the smaller company, he could have gained the necessary experience to successfully run a major multinational in due time.

Instead, he lured his company into a bidding war and forced the board to make a rash decision about retention in the name of corporate competition. As a result, his career ultimately suffered a mortal blow, not to mention the damage he caused shareholders, who watched their stock drop as a result of his inexperience.

Unable to land another CEO position, he took an early retirement.

In my 25 years of experience, I have learned that accepting a counter-offer is usually career suicide. Watching your boss scramble to keep you may be a heady experience, but in exchange for that sweet moment, you’ll have squandered your honor, a sacrifice that will haunt you for many years. Even more troubling, you may never know exactly when or to what extent your reputation has been sullied.

There’s a good chance hiring executives might blacklist you from other employment opportunities.Aside from refusing to ever hire you again, executives have long memories and will bad mouth you any chance they get.

I remember sitting on a plane with a group of retail executives when someone mentioned, by name, a seasoned retailer. The group listened intently as one of the executives launched into an unflattering tale of how the employee had used the executive’s perfectly good job offer as a bargaining chip for a fat buyback. By being dishonest with one company, the employee harmed his reputation with all of the executives on that flight.

Whenever I deliver a short list for a top job to one of my clients, I feel obligated to mention which potential candidates have accepted buyback offers in the past. Often my client will choose not to proceed with one of these people. Remember: Recruiters never forget a buyback, and computer files help us immensely.

Bosses don’t forget either. Initially, the company that retained you delights in winning you back from the competition. But after perhaps six months, management will begin resenting you for essentially extorting money or power from the firm.

A bitter taste of disloyalty lingers. Now you’re tacitly expected to perform like a new hire, proving yourself all over again to justify your new salary or position. You had better be up to the task.

Anytime you use a new job offer as a bargaining chip with your boss, there’s always a risk you’ll lose the bet. Next thing you know, you’re sitting in a strange office, having left a trail of ill will in your wake.

To be fair, counter-offers can provide an opportunity for employees to voice issues or concerns about their jobs. When you are recruited for another job, ask yourself: What are the pros and cons of my current position? If the negatives outweigh the positives, you simply must leave. However, you may decide you genuinely like your position, aside from one or two problems, in which case it’s time to have an open, honest conversation with your boss–before you accept the offer.

Down the road, such a conversation will be far more valuable if you choose not to force your boss into a buyback offer. You will retain your reputation for honesty, and, in my experience, this will serves you far better than a single raise or promotion ever could.

Hal Reiter is chairman and CEO of Herbert Mines Associates, a senior-level executive search firm specializing in the retail, fashion, beauty and consumer products industries.

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Posted by sweens on June 10, 2011

You have narrowed your list of candidates after reviewing resumes and now you have a potential candidate coming in for an interview.  The interview process is the lynch pin of the recruiting process, allowing employers to identify whether the candidate has the requisite skills and abilities for the position as well as ensuring that they are the right fit for the organization. Given the importance of the job interview, asking the right questions is of central importance.   However, organizations need to be mindful about avoiding the wrong questions during a job interview since failing to do so could result in a human rights complaint.

Generally speaking, job candidates are protected by human rights legislation and care should be taken to make sure that interview questions are tailored to only get information about qualifications and job requirements. The prohibited grounds vary from province to province and federally and therefore particular attention should be paid to the specific grounds applicable to the interview.  It is also very important to note that an organization can be found liable for discrimination under human rights legislation where questions relating to a prohibited ground are asked (unless they are justified on the basis of a Bona Fide Occupational Requirement (“BFOR”)), even where the prohibited ground has no impact on the decision not to hire (or even hire) the candidate.  Where the candidate identifies disability-related needs as an issue in an interview, disability and accommodation measures related to the essential job duties can be discussed. Other than at an applicant’s request, interviewers should only discuss on-the-job accommodation after making a conditional offer of employment.

A recent case from the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal [Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. Systématix Technologies de l’information inc., 2010 QCTDP 18] serves as a good reminder to organizations that their interviewers should avoid discussing anything that relates to a prohibited ground (absent a BFOR), even if the employee brings the issue up for discussion.  Specifically, a Quebec employer was recently ordered to pay $7,500 to an applicant because an interviewer asked questions about the applicant’s Muslim faith, even though the decision not to hire him related only to his lack of experience. In the Tribunal’s view, just bringing up the subject violated the candidate’s human rights. In arriving at its decision, the Tribunal noted that it did not matter who brought the subject up, and that proceeding with questions about a prohibited ground would cause a reasonable person to feel compelled to answer them.  The Tribunal also noted that the candidate’s willingness to answer the questions did not constitute a waiver of his rights under human rights legislation. 

Bottom line: Unless questions respecting a prohibited ground relate to a candidate’s ability to perform the essential duties of the job, they should be avoided.  It should be noted that the onus to prove the questions were related to a legitimate job requirement is high.  Employers should establish a standard interview questionnaire in order to ensure that questions asked during an interview are consistent and do not tread on prohibited grounds.  Employers should provide training to all managers or supervisors who may be part of the interview process on appropriate interview etiquette, including questions which may and may not be asked.

If you have any questions about appropriate interview questions or what may qualify as a BFOR, please contact one of our e2r Solutions® service providers.

e2r Solutions®

“Real Human Resources Advice in Real-Time”  

70 The Esplanade, Suite 401  |  Toronto, ON M5E 1R2  |  1.866.327.7657  |  tel 416.867.3093  |  fax 416.867.1434

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UPDATE: Google bids $900M for Nortel’s patent portfolio

Posted by sweens on April 6, 2011

Published on April 4, 2011
Elizabeth Howell

Google Inc. will be the stalking horse bidder for Nortel Network Corp.’s patent portfolio, the last piece of lucrative business standing after the former Ottawa telecom titan went bankrupt in 2009.

The sale, should it pass the muster of United States and Canadian regulatory authorities, would involve around 6,000 patents and patent applications spanning wired, wireless and digital communication technologies, Nortel stated in a release.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to acquire one of the most extensive and compelling patent portfolios to ever come on the market,” stated George Riedel, Nortel’s chief strategy officer and president of business units. 

The bid will go through both the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware along with a request to let other “qualified bidders” submit their offers, Nortel stated. The firm aims to hold the auction in June.

When reached by OBJ, Ottawa patent portfolio firms Wi-LAN Inc. and MOSAID separately said they would not comment on whether they would submit bids.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, which has 900 employees in Ottawa, is also pegged as a potential bidder. The Waterloo-based firm did not immediately respond to a query from OBJ.

In a statement on its official blog, Google said that patent lawsuits, an exploding business of late, may “stifle innovation” without reform. The California search-engine firm has already been named in several patent infringement lawsuits in the past year, including from firms Gemalto, NTP Inc. and Oracle.

As such, Google is looking to acquire Nortel’s portfolio to guard against such action in the future. 

“If successful, we hope this portfolio will not only create a disincentive for others to sue Google, but also help us, our partners and the open source community — which is integrally involved in projects like Android and Chrome — continue to innovate,” stated Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice-president and general counsel.

“In the absence of meaningful reform, we believe it’s the best long-term solution for Google, our users and our partners.”

A few weeks ago, Microsoft Corp. picked up around 666,000 web addresses from Nortel that use the now-defunct IPv4 technology.

The $7.5-million deal will allow Microsoft to use these addresses without needing to upgrade to the new standard, IPv6.

The Ottawa tech giant, formerly known as Bell Northern Research, once made up the bulk of the Toronto Stock Exchange at the height of its powers, with a $366-billion market capitalization in 2000.

From that dizzying high, the 95,000-employee firm fell hard from the tech boom as the demand for traditional telecommunications products fell, and several accounting scandals shook Nortel’s reputation.

Nortel filed for creditor protection in January 2009 when its stock price, once trading for $1,600 a share, was at a nickel. Its stock was delisted immediately afterwards.

It has been selling off pieces of its business, as well as its former Carling Avenue property, ever since.


Other major asset sales of Nortel in the past two years:

– March 2009: Israel’s Radware picks up Nortel’s data-switching division for $17.7 million.

– July 2009: Nortel sells its wireless assets to Ericsson for $1.13 billion, and its enterprise solutions business to Avaya Inc. for US$475 million.

– October 2009: Hitachi Corp. buys Nortel’s next-generation packet core network component assets for US$10 million.

– November 2009: Nortel sells its GSM business to Ericsson and Kapsch for US$103 million, and its optical unit to Ciena for $769 million.

– December 2010: Ericsson buys Nortel’s Chinese joint venture for US$50 million.

– February 2010: Nortel directly sells its carrier business to GENBAND for $182 million.

– April 2010: LM Ericsson buys Nortel’s share of its Korean joint venture with LG Electronics for US$242 million.

– September 2010: Swedish wireless giant Ericsson buys Nortel’s multi-switch business for US$65 million. Avaya purchases Nortel’s enterprise solutions unit for US$915 million.

– October 2010: Public Works buys the 370-acre Nortel campus for $208 million.

– March 2011: Nortel sells around 666,000 iPv4 web addresses to Microsoft for US$7.5 million.

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Telesat tops Ottawa firms on Branham300

Posted by sweens on April 6, 2011

Published on April 5, 2011
Elizabeth Howell

Ottawa satellite firm Telesat sits atop more than 30 Ottawa-headquartered companies listed on the Branham300, an annual measure of Canadian technology firms based on worldwide revenue.

Consolidated revenues for Telesat in 2010 were $821 million, up four per cent or $34 million from 2009.

Considering foreign exchange fluctations, the increase was more like eight per cent, Telesat said when releasing the results in early March.

The firm is in reported takeover discussions that could culminate in new ownership in a matter of weeks. It currently is jointly owned by majority United States economic interests and majority Canadian voting interests.

Many of the firms in the top 20 of Branham’s list have or had significant presences in Ottawa, including RIM (which took top rank overall), BCE, Rogers Communications, Telus, MDA, OpenText and Nortel Networks.

Although Nortel is insolvent, the firm has been engaging in billions of dollars in asset sales in past years, still pushing its revenues up to the 14th rank overall on the Branham300.

Just yesterday, Nortel announced Google was the stalking-horse bidder for its last major asset – patents – for $900 million.

“It’s been a slow decline for Nortel, one of Canada’s most well know technology companies,” stated Darren Anderson, the research co-ordinator for Branham300.

“While Nortel only has skeleton operations remaining, they continued to generate sales in 2010 and as such remained on the Branham300 listing. While 2010 may be the last year that Nortel lands on the Branham300, there is no question that its influence on the tech community in Ottawa and throughout Canada will live on for years to come.”

Branham, a consulting firm, stated the technology industry as a whole had “modest” growth in 2010, with the top 250 companies seeing $73.93 billion in revenue, a nearly four-per-cent increase over $71.32 billion in 2009, but still down from $75.97 billion in 2008.

The complete list of Ottawa-headquartered firms:

– Telesat (13)

– Mitel (19)

– Calian Technologies (32)

– Zarlink Semiconductor (34)

– DragonWave (38)

– Bridgewater Systems (49)

– March Networks (53)

– Eagle Professional Resources (54)

– MOSAID Technologies (63)

– Maplesoft Group (65)

– Agda Group Consultants (65)

– Wi-LAN (89)

– Veritaaq Technology House (104)

– Nitro IT Business Solutions (115)

– CORADIX Technology Consulting (122)

– International Datacasting (132)

– Iridian Spectral Technologies (149)

– ExitCertified (151)

– 4Point (158)

– OSI Geospatial (159)

– Espial Group (178)

– Cistel (182)

– TRM Technologies Inc. (197)

– PIKA Technologies (204) – tied

– C-COM Satellite Systems (206)

– ThinkWrap Solutions (229)

– PrecisionERP (233)

– Fidus Systems (237)

– non-linear creations (242)

– In-Touch Survey Systems (250)

– Advanced Software Concepts (259)

– DataKinetics (271)

– TASKE Technology (276)

– TECSIS (279)

– The KTL Group (297)

Branham also published several other lists isolating specific industries.

Top 25 Canadian ICT Multinational Companies

– General Dynamics Canada (11)

– Alcatel-Lucent Canada (12)

– CSC (20)

Top 25 Canadian ICT Up and Comers

Gazaro (Ottawa)

Top 25 Canadian Software Companies

– Mitel (2)

– Bridgewater Systems (6)

Top 25 Canadian ICT Professional Services Companies

– Calian Technologies (9)

– Eagle Professional Resources (17)

– Adga Group Consultants (20)

– Maplesoft Group (technology division) (20)

Top 25 Canadian ICT Hardware and Infrastructure 


– Zarlink Semiconductor (13)

– DragonWave (15)

– March Networks (20)

– MOSAID Technologies (24)

Top 10 Canadian ICT Security Companies

– Cistel (9)

– TRM Technologies Inc. (10)

Top 10 Canadian Wireless Solutions Companies

– DragonWave (3)

– Bridgewater Systems (5)

Top 10 Canadian xSP Companies

– Telesat (6)

Top 10 Canadian ICT Staffing Companies

– Calian Technologies (2)

– Eagle Professional Resources (5)

– Maplesoft Group (technology division) (6)

– Veritaaq Technology House (8)

Top 20 Movers & Shakers

– Maplesoft Group (technology division) (2)

– DragonWave (5)

– Iridian Spectral Technologies (9)

– PrecisionERP (16)

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Tech labour crunch looming in Canada

Posted by sweens on March 30, 2011

By Jameson Berkow, Financial Post

TORONTO. Canada is facing a “systemic” technology labour shortage, a new study has found.

Companies will be looking to fill 106,000 new positions in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in the next five years, according to the study released Tuesday by the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC). That would be good news for a recovering economy, were it not for a severe lack of qualified candidates to fill those positions.

As the sector returns to employment levels unseen since the tech boom of the early 2000s, the study said companies will be looking for applicants who are more than just “code-monkeys” but who also have a degree of business acumen and a diversity of skills. Women are also still severely underrepresented in the industry.

“We are quite comfortable in saying, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem,’ ” said Paul Swinwood, chief executive of the Ottawa-based industry group.

With demand for ICT professionals growing, annual enrollment rates for Canadian software and computer engineering programs appear to have flattened in recent years. Meanwhile, immigration of foreign workers with relevant ICT training and experience has recently been in decline. As a result, the study warns of “serious and pervasive” recruitment challenges in the coming years, with shortages being most severe for positions requiring several years of experience.

“The people with five to seven years experience just don’t exist anymore because we didn’t hire them five years ago,” Mr. Swinwood said. “The jobs have changed and the people that we need for them have changed.”

When the industry last peaked in 2001, the most sought after ICT workers were generally programmers who could be assigned to write specific pieces of software individually.

“But the skills in anticipation of what will be required going forward is certainly going to be different than it was 10 years ago,” said Evelyn Ledsham, global talent management leader at Open Text Corp. With about 1,200 Canada-based employees, Waterloo, Ont.-based Open Text is the country’s largest software company.

“In the past, people might have only looked for what I would call very silent functional skills, but in today’s marketplace that is just not going to be enough anymore and so many of us have to have the ability to adapt and be flexible,” Ms. Ledsham said.

That flexibility will require gaining expertise in other domains such as e-health, e-finance and digital media, the study said.

Unlike the previous tech boom, which was virtually exclusive to tech-focused companies, the one fast approaching will have its tentacles across the economy.

“This time around, it is the growth of the economy and the growth of information technology in the economy, and the employment is everywhere,” said Mr. Swinwood. “It is with Canadian Tire, it is with Canadian National, with CGI and Microsoft. All of Microsoft’s value-added resellers, the little fires as we know them out there, are just dying for people.”

Eric Gales, president of Microsoft Corp.’s Canadian division, said the software giant has long been aware of the limited talent pool in Canada and has been actively working to expand its outreach.

“There are not enough graduates entering our sector, that is a problem,” he said. “There are also not enough immigrants coming in with the right skills and there is going to be a battle if you like for the skilled professionals in the marketplace [for companies] to be an attractive destination for them,” he said.

Expanding recruitment to more diverse groups is one of several ways to close the gap recommended by the study. It notes that women in particular make up only 25% of all Canadian ICT employees, a figure that declined as recently as January.

” This gender imbalance limits the pool of workers industry can recruit from and compounds the skills shortage in Canada,” the report said, also noting that Aboriginal and First Nations people are underutilized as ICT workers.

© Copyright (c) National Post

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The Worst Resume Mistake EVER!

Posted by sweens on March 29, 2011

By Mark Swartz
Monster Senior Contributing Writer

What could possibly be the worst mistake you could make when it comes to your resume?

Not targeting it to the kind of job you’re looking for is a biggie. Leaving out keywords that a scanner can pick up is another no-no. So is failing to list your achievements in ways the reader will find meaningful.
But the biggest error of all in putting your resume together is simply this: being sloppy.
A spelling mistake here. Forgetting to leave out information that could be used to discriminate against you there. Sending it in the wrong format. Small bits of sloppiness add up quickly. They can end up getting your resume tossed into the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” pile in a flash. So here are three tips to prevent this from happening.

Tip 1. Don’t Rely Entirely on Spell Check When Proofreading
Think your word processing software will fix all the mistake on your resume? Well, mine couldn’t figure out that in the previous sentence I should have written “all the mistakes” rather than using the singular form of the word “mistake.” Instead, it told me to write “fix the entire mistake on your resume.” So much for letting your computer proofread your resume for you.
What should you do as an alternative? Check out how to get others to go over your pre-final draft and catch the errors. Either free or for a fee, a few more pairs of eyes on your work can spot what you – and that pricey word processor of yours – didn’t.

Tip 2. Customize Your Wording To The Job You’re Applying For
Generic resumes are a dime a dozen. You may be able to get away with a “one size fits all” approach if applying for lower paying jobs such as retail clerk or warehouse worker. But for the higher paying jobs, an employer expects you to put in some extra effort.
Try your best to match the requirements listed in the job ads you’re applying for. And create a dynamic Summary section atop the first page.

Tip 3. Send It In The Proper Format
In our era of electronic job postings and e-resume submissions (sending your application via e-mail and online form), don’t guess which format the employer prefers.

Follow their instructions on the job posting carefully. If sending directly to an employer via their e-mail, include your resume as scannable text within the body of the e-mail itself; then attach a version with nice layout and fancier fonts too, just in case they want to show it around to other staff.

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Protus’s Ottawa staff levelled in wake of j2 takeover

Posted by sweens on March 23, 2011

Krystle Chow 
Ottawa Business Journal

More than 100 staff have been let go from Internet fax and communications services provider Protus’s local office since the Ottawa company announced its $213-million acquisition by Hollywood rival j2 Global Communications three months ago, a company official confirmed.

Steve Adams, Protus’s vice-president and general manager, said about 130 or 140 people are currently employed in the Ottawa operations. That’s down significantly from the 300-employee figure recorded in Protus’s latest Ottawa Technology magazine listing.

“When the initial announcement was made, there were layoffs, but that’s behind us now,” said Mr. Adams. “It’s a stable environment here and we’re hiring now; we have open positions in (customer) support and technical areas.”

The news adds detail to an e-mail acquired in early December, in which Protus’s then-CEO, Joseph Nour, wrote to employees that there would be an “immediate reduction” of overall head count.

Mr. Adams stressed that j2 has shown “real commitment” to the Ottawa area and to its e-mail marketing business Campaigner, which Protus acquired in 2008.

According to Mr. Adams, j2 is “keeping all the functions necessary” to run and support Campaigner in town – including sales, marketing, engineering and development, operations and customer support – although he confirmed the accounting department is migrating to j2’s California head office and there is no longer a legal team in Ottawa.

Meanwhile, the MyFax virtual faxing service – which brought in about 81 per cent of Protus’s total revenues in the 12 months leading to Oct. 31, 2010, compared to approximately 11 per cent for Campaigner – will also continue to survive.

“MyFax is a very strong product and a very strong brand, and j2 continues to invest in it and support it,” said Mr. Adams, who pointed out that j2 operates a number of brands in the Internet faxing space, including its own eFax offering.

MyFax and eFax were the subjects of a five-year battle between Protus and j2, with the latter accusing the local firm of infringing on its Internet faxing patents and of sending junk faxes to j2 customers.

Several other competitors in the fax-to-e-mail industry were also involved in j2 lawsuits, including San Francisco-based CallWave Inc. and Miami’s Venali Inc. However, CallWave settled its patent infringement lawsuit with j2 in 2007, with j2 buying its rival’s Internet fax assets in 2009. And like Protus, Venali was acquired by j2 in September 2010 as part of a buying spree that brought a total of eight companies under the j2 umbrella.

Despite the overlap between j2’s various e-faxing brands as a result of the acquisitions, j2 spokesperson Bill Threlkeld noted in an e-mail to OBJ that “MyFax will run as it always has from its Ottawa base” for the foreseeable future.

“Over time, components of the service may migrate to other j2 facilities for efficiency, just as some of j2’s other operations may migrate to Ottawa for efficiency,” he wrote, adding that Protus’s call centre in Ottawa has already begun to take calls for other j2 brands.

The one thing that remains uncertain is the fate of Protus’s my1voice virtual phone service, which Mr. Adams said is “not yet determined.” The business made up three per cent of Protus’s total sales at the time of the j2 acquisition.

“My1voice is important to j2 but … there is some product overlap,” he said.

Protus’s strong presence in the Ottawa tech scene and its second-place position in the Internet faxing industry made the company an attractive target for j2. MyFax reached 500,000 subscribers in 2010, although it trailed behind eFax’s 11 million users.


1997: Protus is founded.

May 2004: Protus introduces Internet-based virtual fax service.

August 2005: j2 Global Communications launches patent lawsuit against Protus.

February 2006: j2 accuses Protus and competitor Venali of sending unsolicited faxes to j2 customers.

2007-2009: Protus wins OBJ’s Employees’ Choice Award, recognizing a high level of job satisfaction among staff.

December 2007: Protus announces that j2 patent suit has been dismissed with prejudice in the central district of California.

June 2008: Protus acquires Campaigner and launches my1voice virtual PBX phone service. j2 files another patent infringement lawsuit against Protus and two other companies in the eastern district of Texas.

February 2009: j2 acquires Callwave’s Internet fax assets.

April 2009: Protus named one of OBJ‘s Fastest Growing Companies.

February 2010: Protus announces it has defeated j2 patents in Europe and the United States.

September 2010: j2 buys Venali.

December 2010: Protus acquired by j2.

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Federal contracts (Feb. 27-March 5)

Posted by sweens on March 17, 2011

Otis Canada Inc.

2480 Lancaster Rd.

Description: Elevator installation and maintenance

Buyer: PWGSC


Altis Human Resources (Ottawa) Inc. and Excel Human Resources Inc., in joint venture

102 Bank St.

Description: Informatices professional services

Buyer: PWGSC


Maplesoft Consulting Inc.

408 Churchill Ave.

Description: Informatices professional services

Buyer: PWGSC


Advanced Chippewa Technologies Inc.

84 Valley Ridge St.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: DND


IBM Canada Ltd.

340 Albert St.

Description: ETL software solution

Buyer: RCMP


Otis Canada Inc.

2480 Lancaster Rd.

Description: Elevator installation and maintenance

Buyer: PWGSC


Valcom Consulting Group Inc.

85 Albert St.

Description: Naval architecture

Buyer: DND



150 Isabella St.

Description: ADP software

Buyer: DND


Interis Consulting Inc.

275 Slater St.

Description: Human resource services, business consulting/change management, project management services (supply arrangement TSPS)

Buyer: PWGSC


Systems for Research Corp.

300 Earl Grey Dr.

Description: Optical instruments, test equipment, components and accessories

Buyer: Natural Resources Canada


Advanced Chippewa Technologies Inc.

84 Valley Ridge St.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: Citizenship and Immigration Canada


Canadian Space Services Ltd.

2336 Craig’s Side Rd.

Description: Radar equipment, except airborne

Buyer: DND


DBA Akran Marketing

2000 Thurston Dr.

Description: Flags and pennants

Buyer: Canadian Heritage


Integrated Network Security Alliance 2005 Inc.

2725 Queensview Dr.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: Treasury Board of Canada


Motorola Canada Ltd.

360 Albert St.

Description: Radio and television communications equipment, airborne

Buyer: RCMP


IBM Canada Ltd.

340 Albert St.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: HRSDC


Stoneworks Technologies Inc.

2212 Gladwin Cres.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: Natural Resources Canada


Bell Canada

160 Elgin St.

Description: Communications security equipment and components

Buyer: DND


Dalian Enterprises Inc.

151 Slater St.

Description: ADP input-output and storage devices

Buyer: Correctional Service of Canada


DLS Technology Corp.

1376 Bank St.

Description: ADP software

Buyer: Treasury Board of Canada


Intergraph Canada Ltd.

1600 Carling Ave.

Description: Cameras, still picture

Buyer: DND


Johnson Controls L.P.

30 Edgewater St.

Description: Building automated control systems

Buyer: PWGSC


Maxys Staffing & Consulting

173 Dalhousie St.

Description: Professional services

Buyer: Office of the Superintendant of Financial Institutions Canada


S.i. Systems Inc.

130 Slater St.

Description: Professional services

Buyer: Office of the Superintendant of Financial Institutions Canada


CGI Information Systems and Management Consultants Inc.

275 Slater St.

Description: Professional services

Buyer: Office of the Superintendant of Financial Institutions Canada


Veritaaq Technology House

2327 St. Laurent Blvd.

Description: Professional services

Buyer: Office of the Superintendant of Financial Institutions Canada


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Despite layoffs, Protus acquisition ‘breaks a log-jam’ in Ottawa: insider

Posted by sweens on December 7, 2010

By Elizabeth Howell

After years of undisclosed acquisitions of Ottawa firms, the high-profile, US$213-million Protus IP Solutions Inc. acquisition on Monday could prove the turning point for the local tech industry, according to one insider.

An undisclosed number of employees will be severed from Ottawa’s Protus IP Solutions Inc. following its acquisition by U.S.-based j2 Global Communications, according to Protus’s CEO.

However, the managing partner of Perry Martel International said the layoffs, though never pleasant, came at an opportune time for the affected employees.

“It’s the best time of the year to be laid off because managers are in their office right now doing Christmas period planning budgets for the new year, and with new budgets come new hires,” David Perry pointed out.

But taking a step back from the company itself, Mr. Perry said j2’s interest in the Ottawa firm “breaks a log-jam” for a city known for low-profile takeovers with acquisition sums never revealed.

It proves the key for local companies to become acquisition-worthy, he said, is effective marketing outside of Ottawa and Canada.

“The (founders) – I’m going to get in trouble for this,” he quipped, “are two fairly dull engineers. They shun the limelight.

“They just do the work, and fax is considered a dull business. All these Internet businesses (in Ottawa) that have come and gone, and crashed and burned, have been the darlings of the business industry. And they got nothing.” 

Chief executive Joseph Nour, though “pleased” by the takeover, said the layoffs were a tough choice, according to an e-mail to employees acquired by OBJ.

“The plan is to continue to aggressively market and sell the brands key to Protus’ historical success and to maintain operations in Ottawa,” Mr. Nour wrote.

“There will, however, be realigning of resources in order to optimize synergies, resulting in an immediate reduction of our overall headcount.

“The decision to eliminate some positions was extremely difficult and was not taken lightly. These changes are important for future achievements and the ability to continue to drive profitable growth.”

Protus had 260 workers before the acquisition, according to OBJ files. Company officials did not immediately respond to OBJ requests for comment.

Steve Adams will now lead the Ottawa office, becoming Protus’ general manager and vice-president and directly reporting to j2 CEO Hemi Zucker.

j2 made the purchase out of cash on hand and expects $15 million in related expenses in the next nine months, with between $5 million to $11 million charged in j2’s current fiscal quarter.

The two companies were in court in 2008 regarding Protus’ opposition of  j2’s trademark application for the word ‘eFax’ in the United Kingdom.

Earlier this year, that patent was revoked

“The European Patent Office held that, in the face of the prior art in the field, the patent lacked any ‘inventive step’ because a ‘person skilled in the art’ could achieve the claims of the patent by using ‘well-established’ search techniques,” Protus said in a statement at the time.

Protus remained strong through the recession and was 10th on OBJ‘s list of fastest-growing companies in 2009.

It provides software-as-a-service communications for business under three main products: MyFax, Campaigner and My1Voice.

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Protus takeover was a safe alternative to IPO: analysts

Posted by sweens on December 7, 2010

By Elizabeth Howell

Protus IP Solutions Inc.’s US$213-million takeover yesterday by its court rival, j2 Global Communications, was the best outcome possible for the company given ongoing litigation, an analyst says.

The acquisition represents the second $200-million-plus deal in Ottawa in the past year. The other one concerned blood-diagnostics firm Epocal Inc., which in January announced Inverness would acquire all of its issued and outstanding equity securities for US$255 million.

Protus and rival j2 had been engaged in a multi-year court battle concerning the validity of j2’s claim to trademark the word “eFax” in the United Kingdom, which flared up again in April when the patent was revoked.

With Protus reaching 500,000 subscribers this year for its fax business and pegged as one of OBJ’s fastest-growing companies during the recession, its founders were eager to take the company public, says David Wismer, managing director and head of the technology investment banking group at BMO Capital Markets.

However, chief executive Joseph Nour and co-founder Simon Nehme were advised not to do an IPO given the uncertainty of the court battle, said Mr. Wismer, who said he was familiar with the circumstances given his organization was one of the financing parties.

 “That was one of the big concerns going that route: the litigation was going to be a challenge,” Mr. Wismer said in an OBJ interview.

“The sales process made more sense for the companies, to eliminate the litigation for both of them.”

At Thomson Reuters, analysts there tracked 29 disclosed deals nationwide in 2010, up from 25 in 2009.

Ottawa’s two prominent deals this year, among the three largest disclosed across Canada, will be an “eye-catching” opportunity for investors, said Kirk Falconer, Thomson’s director of research in private equity.

“There are still high-growth companies in Ottawa,” he noted of the Protus and Epocal deals. “There are experienced technology entrepreneurs and angel investors.

“It’s a reminder that companies like Protus exist, and there will be more like them.”

j2 and Protus took the lion’s share of the Internet fax market, with Protus’ main products being MyFax, Campaigner and My1Voice.

But given j2’s 11 million subscribers to Protus’ 500,000, industry observers pointed out a takeover was the most likely option for the burgeoning Ottawa firm to grow in such a small field of competition.

Ottawa firm LaBarge Weinstein represented Protus in court and served as its general counsel since 2000.

Partner Michael Dunleavy said he had not heard the IPO rumour, but pointed out that meeting in the courtroom repeatedly gave the two firms natural contacts to begin takeover discussions.

Both firms had a “mutual agreement” that the acquisition would benefit everyone, including Protus’ 260 employees – who all, “right down to the janitor”, had money invested in the firm.

He said it would help soften the blow for the employees who will be let go in the wake of the takeover, a move announced in a staff e-mail Mr. Nour sent yesterday.

“It’s a solid business in and of itself, with $7 million in revenues and positive earnings,” Mr. Dunleavy said.

“That business was permitted to grow by good stewards – the venture capitalists and the management team.

” BEST Funds, BMO Capital Corporation, Celtic House Venture Partners, Covington Capital Corporation, Edgestone Venture Fund and Mosaic Venture Partners all took part in the takeover.

“You have all-Canadian VCs in there who, in some cases, have been in there for 11 years,” Mr. Dunleavy said. “That’s a tremendous testimony to their patience, waiting for value to crystallize.

“As far as what it means in the Ottawa landscape, it’s a testimony to what patience will accomplish. There is a perception that venture capitalists are looking for liquidity as early as possible, and that was clearly not the case.”

For greater Ottawa, the acquisition – though it technically headquarters the company outside of the region – will bring value to the area in other ways, says OCRI chief executive Claude Haw.

“It frees up the VCs, and they badly need that to happen. It frees up some people that now have experience to go off and do it again,” he said.

The founders, Mr. Haw added, will have the flexibility to take risks in a new company, especially with “a few million dollars in their pocket.”

“The reality is, very few people leave the region despite the doom and gloom that some espouse. People who have built a business here like to stay in Ottawa, and the lion’s share of people who end up in a sale like this stay here and start again.”

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Halogen touts 38% revenue increase in third quarter

Posted by sweens on November 5, 2010

Ottawa’s Halogen Software finished its third quarter of 2010 with “significant market momentum” and a 38 per cent revenue increase in annual recurring revenue, according to a release by the firm.

The company, which is privately owned, only released selected financial parameters, focusing on its new customer wins and recognition at the HR Technology Conference in September.

New customers the firm added include IMAX Corp., LinkedIn Corp., U.S. Court Services and Baltimore Life Insurance.

In addition, Halogen released two new products for public sector and hospitality organizations.

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Oracle to buy ATG for $1B

Posted by sweens on November 2, 2010

The business software provider Oracle says it has agreed to acquire e-commerce software maker Art Technology Group Inc. for US$1 billion in cash.

The purchase price works out to $6 per share. That is a 46 per cent premium over Cambridge, Mass.-based Art Technology’s closing price on Monday.

The deal needs shareholder and regulatory approval. Oracle said Tuesday it expects to complete the acquisition by early next year.

Oracle Corp., based in Redwood Shores, Calif., makes a wide range of business software.

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Bridgewater’s Q3 net income doubles

Posted by sweens on November 2, 2010

Bridgewater Systems says its third-quarter net income doubled to $3.4 million and raised its 2010 profit target range as revenue increased by 52 per cent over the same time last year.

The Ottawa-based technology company’s profit amounted to 13 cents per share with $23.9 million in revenue.

That’s up from $1.7 million or seven cents per share of net income with $15.8 million of revenue in the third quarter of 2009.

Bridgewater, which provides mobile personalization technology to telecom carriers, also provided updated guidance for 2010.

It now expects between $12 million and $13.5 million in net income. The previous range had been lower at between $10 million and $12 million.

Bridgewater also raised the lower end of its revenue range by $9 million to $92 million, but left the higher end of the range intact $94 million.

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