Brian Shepard, CEO at Tenzing Managed IT Services

Brian ShepardBrian Shepard’s leadership in financing and business planning has allowed him to evolve a modest web hosting company established in 1998 into Tenzing Managed IT Services, a rapidly growing and highly successful managed hosting company that addresses the needs of Ecommerce and SaaS providers.

Tenzing’s success has been built upon Brian’s continued focus on strategic industry partnerships, acquisitions and building a forward thinking and dynamic corporate culture. Under Brian’s leadership Tenzing ranks among Canada’s fastest growing IT companies and is a recognized leader in its field.

Brian majored in Computer Science and Economics at Brock University.

Founded in 1998, Tenzing delivers more than scalable infrastructure, fast networks and great managed services. Tenzing combines deep commerce platform expertise, advanced managed services, and extensive industry partnerships to help merchants increase revenues and deliver remarkable customer experiences. Retailers, Brand Manufacturers, SIs and ISVs choose Tenzing for  their specialization in impactful technologies, operational delivery of services, and industry insights. Tenzing is SSAE16 Type II, ISO 27001, PCI-DSS and VISA PCI certified with datacenters in the US, Canada and United Kingdom.

For more information, visit:

Meet the CCN Advisor: Mike Monteith, Thoughtwire

mike-monteithSmart Agent Cloud Computing

The first Advisor to be profiled is the perfect example of all these points.

Mike Monteith leads Toronto-based startup Thoughtwire, specializing in what the future of the Cloud is all about – “Smart” computing.

For some context check out this article I wrote, just over ten years ago now, where I suggest the ongoing evolution of the Cloud will lead to the emergence of the technological Singularity.

Given Google employed the man in question to work on it, not necessarily as sci-fi as you might think, and in more immediate terms offers a tremendously powerful metaphor for addressing what are still the most common issues in software design today: Poor business process integration due to a lack of adaptive smarts.

In the article I talked about how XML Web services will be enhanced through AI capability, enabling them to become more dynamic and better able to integrate across domains.

This is where Thoughtwire are positioning. Their platform offers a new framework for application development, one that can tap these dynamics.

Mike also pointed me to some great reading for external market validation of their work: Check out the McKinsey view on disruptive technologies, the Gartner forecast for 2014 (Smart Machines) and the perfect one given their company name, PwC on moving from workflows to mindflows.

In terms of how this relates to the Cloud, GigaOm capture it through describing how it will enable the enterprise market to procure “Cognition-as-a-Service“.

As you can imagine this is going to be a huge industry and massively disruptive globally, with Canadian startups like Thoughtwire leading the change, so perhaps the big idea isn’t so unrealistic after all, eh Canada!

Stay tuned for more Meet the Advisor profiles….

Paul Butcher – Partner, HostedBizz

Paul Butcher is a founding Partner of HostedBizz, and has over 25 years of experience in various leadership roles in Hi-Tech.

He held the post of President and Chief Operating Officer of Mitel Networks Corporation from 2001 to 2011, overseeing the strategic and tactical evolution in Mitel’s sales, marketing and R&D growth initiatives. More recently, he was President at Maplesoft Group, an IT integrator and has held numerous advisory and board positions.

He has unique insight and expertise and more than 20 years of marketing and senior management experience in the communications-technology industry. Paul is recognized as an industry leader and has spoken at numerous trade shows and conferences. He is a graduate of Reading College of Technology in the U.K.

Read more: Linkedin profile

Marc Gagne, Microsoft

Marc Gagne is a Senior Technical Evangelist with Microsoft Canada helping Canadian companies small and large make the most of Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud services.

Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. Connect with Marc to learn how you can try Windows Azure for free, or if you are a tech startup receive up to $60,000 in Windows Azure hosting credits.

Learn more: Linkedin profile

Media Brief: Canadian Cloud Success Story: BoardSuite and Tenzing Successfully Partnering for Mission Critical SaaS Hosting

oscar-jofreAn interview with Oscar A Jofre Jr., Founder, President and CEO BoardSuite

By Howard Oliver, What If What Next

Howard: Tell us about BoardSuite. and your involvement with it.

Oscar:  BoardSuite is a (, freemium on-demand board portal that allows organizations the ability to manage, organize and share their confidential corporate information in a secured environment. We confidently provide board members and advisors with access to their organization’s portal wherever they are, whenever they need it, securely and reliably.

As an on-demand, SaaS-based portal, BoardSuite is designed to protect an organization’s sensitive information at the board of directors’ level, while facilitating necessary workflow processes safely and securely, regardless of user location. The portal sends notifications and provides guidance on good governance in response to actions taken in the system by role-based permissions. As such, it is an invaluable tool for ensuring effective and transparent corporate governance.

As a board portal houses confidential data, the most valuable asset to any company, it was paramount that BoardSuite engaged a Canadian managed hosting company that could fully support our application and address the needs of companies with strict security and compliance requirements.

Howard: Why would Canadian companies and not-for-profit organizations, who are your customers and your partners, be concerned about hosting their data in Canada?

Oscar: Canadians in general are concerned where that information is – namely within our borders. Business people have additional parameters: the continuity of their business and the integrity of their Corporate Minutes Book. They are also mandated to comply with the Canadian Privacy Act. The Directors/Owners/Operators I speak to are given advice from counsel to host in Canada exclusively. Hosting out of the country makes them privy to other jurisdictions that are not as privacy friendly as in Canada. For example, in the United States SEC regulations and other legislation are much more stringent with specific rights of access to third parties as opposed to what we have in Canada.

Howard: Can you talk more about other Canada legislation on a national and provincial level?

Oscar: Most organizations go under the Canadian Privacy Act.  Our financial clients in the insurance industry and banking face stuffer rules. They are regulated by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) that requires them to make sure that Canadian corporate records are kept in the country.

Obviously, the Privacy Act here in Canada is one of the regulations that we follow from a user point of view. There are also 13 separate provincial regulations that mandate corporate data be located in Canada so as not to be under the subject of foreign law in the United States or any other country.

Howard: Can you discuss the European situation?

Oscar:  Again, we are not just managing personal information, we are managing the hosting the corporate records of an organization. There are some rules in Europe that are even more stringent than Canada has as far as privacy. Overall, Canada is considered the safest and most manageable place in the world to host corporate information. Better than most other jurisdictions. In 2011, KPMG issued an important report on the value of hosting in Canada. They made particular mention of maintenance of corporate data records in our country.

Howard: What issues are involved with finding a Canadian managed hosting company?

Oscar: The challenge we have in Canada in securing a managed hosting company is something like finding a cellular provider – the major providers can be hugely expensive and unresponsive. When we went with Tenzing the experience was rather surprising. The major supplier we were with beforehand was charging us over $10,000 dollars a month for a facility that was not certified with the promised standards we were required to have. Tenzing provided the same type of structured facility with the required certifications for 20% of the total cost. A huge benefit and savings. Since we went with them they have been highly engaged with us. We are not just a small potato for them. Importantly, everything they do is in Canada, and they can pinpoint and tell you exactly where things are. For example, they can tell you that their backup is in this province, and the service in another. This is very reassuring for our clients. This capability allowed us to be Trustee certified – a critical status for BoardSuite. We were required to pinpoint where our backup server was, and where our front-line servers were. With Tenzing it was a precise exercise.

I personally think that companies just don’t look hard enough. They think that – okay – I will go with Amazon or Google, but you will find that Canada has many excellent choices. If you go on LinkedIn you will see good discussions on this issue.

I must admit I’m a big advocate of Tenzing. Over the years we have been with them we have not only saved significant dollars in hosting but also and most importantly operate within a bank grade secure fully Canadian environment. They have found their sweet spot – serving Canadian companies and providing excellent, highly responsive service. They also have all the requisite hosting certification standards that the major players like the banks, Telus, Bell and Rogers require for managed hosting.

What is even more remarkable is they have spent the money to gain SAS 70 Type I and II (now called SSAE 16 Type II), PCI Compliant, and ISO 27001 information security certifications. In addition, Tenzing’s fully redundant infrastructure provides for complete backup and recovery of business critical information.

They have done far and beyond what is needed for SME and Large Enterprise hosting. They can handle companies of any size. A tremendous asset to us.


Howard: We have discussed Tenzing’s value as a partner because of their cost effectiveness, certifications, capabilities and their willingness to work with companies in Canada because they are in Canada. Any other issues that you would like to raise?

Oscar: If you are working on a consumer-based project – an app for example – it might not be critical in what country you host and importantly how close you really have to be with your managed hosting company. If on the other hand you are in the B2B space, dealing with enterprise clients as we do at BoardSuite, you must understand that the number one question you will encounter is data security. This is what is on the minds of the CEOs, CTOs and the boards they serve. And that means working with a Canadian based, highly responsive managed hosting company. The issue also comes up in the audit process. I know this to be true because I am asked these questions every day by BoardSuite customers.

Howard: Are there any other special capabilities that Tenzing has that works well for your customers?

Oscar: It is their durability – the ability to accommodate clients of any size. BoardSuite has been able to shift really quickly in our environment. It has happened on numerous occasions. They are very agile because they work with companies like us – it is their core competence. They understand what we are trying to do, and are keen to work with us. Their price points are also excellent. A Canadian solution at the right price – imagine! Frankly, it makes our solutions at BorardSuite economically viable and is helping us achieve the growth we anticipated.

By the way, our American clients have NO objection to their corporate records being hosted in Canada!

Howard: American clients?

Oscar: Yes. You have to understand that the Patriot Act in the US if far reaching in the US but not in Canada. Canada has demonstrated in recent court actions like Kim dot com, that US federal courts do not have jurisdiction in Canada when it comes to access to information in Canadian hosted information.

Howard: How can others do the same exploration your company did. Are there any useful organizations they can connect with?

Oscar: The Canada Cloud Network is a good option. The CCN has developed the world’s only Cloud industry ‘Technology Roadmap’, a framework to help businesses plan their Cloud migration. They have also organized a world-class Canadian industry cluster: They are a valuable resource worth looking into.

Howard: Okay so I think that covers it. Do you have any white papers that can expand upon our discussion?

Oscar: Yes. BoardSuite and Tenzing have released a white paper titled “Putting Trust in the Cloud: How a board of directors portal enables the secure exchange of information”. It provides full details of Cloud security processes and considerations, highlighting the distinctive needs of a board portal. The white paper is available for free download at or

Howard: Thanks for this interesting interview.

About Tenzing Managed IT Services:

Founded in 1998, Tenzing is a managed hosting company trusted by leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers and Ecommerce systems integrators to deliver business critical applications to some of the world’s largest companies and most recognizable brands. Tenzing’s mission-critical hosting infrastructure, mature IT Service Management (ITSM) practices, and comprehensive application-level Service Level Agreements (SLAs), enable the reliable, secure, and scalable delivery of complex SaaS and Ecommerce applications. Tenzing is ISO 27001 and SAS 70 Type II certified with data centres in Toronto, Vancouver and Kelowna, B.C. For more information, visit

About BoardSuite®

BoardSuite redefined the board portal for small and medium enterprises and not-for-profit organizations by providing a freemium SaaS-based solution to manage real-time access to corporate documents, collaboration tools and a marketplace of business services. The on-demand board portal empowers directors, officers and advisors to better manage risk, liability and compliance from a single point of entry within a secure, hosted application, resulting in effective and transparent corporate governance.

BoardSuite has received notable recognition within the online industry for its achievements. In July 2009, BoardSuite was selected as one of Canada’s leading Web 2.0 pioneers by KPMG and Backbone magazine at the PICK20 Awards, the only national roundup of Canada’s up and coming Web 2.0 pioneers who are leading the 2.0 evolution of the Web. And, in August 2009, BoardSuite was named by IDC as one of Canada’s Top Cloud Computing Solutions To Watch calling it a disruptive innovation in the board portal industry.

For more information, please engage with BoardSuite through any of the following social networks:




Manage Governance On Demand

Contact Information

Media Contacts:
Echo Communications (for Tenzing)
Lizanne McReelis
What If What Next  (for BoardSuite Corp.)
Howard Oliver
905-709-8582, 416-568-5254

Kevin Crowe, Director Cloud Services, Long View

We’re starting a new series of articles here called ‘Cloud Leaders of Tomorrow‘ – The objective of which is to showcase the movers and shakers of the Canadian Cloud industry.

Our first profile is Kevin Crowe, Director Cloud Services for Long View, and this is a perfect start because within our overall theme of growing Canada to be a world leader in the field of Cloud, they are a shining example.

Not only is Longview pioneering Canadian-based Cloud services for Canadian customers, but they are also expanding aggressively into the USA market too.

Quite simply if Canada wants to be a world leader in this field then Canadian players need to be expanding globally, however equally the Canadian market has also been underserved by locally hosted services and so checking both boxes is key.

Just twelve years ago Longview was started in Calgary and had only eight employees – Now they are over 950 employees and have grown entirely organically to revenues of close to $300m, $50m of which is now coming from their USA expansion and $25m of which is from their new Cloud services, started only two years ago.

Cloud and Business IT alignment

This is very impressive by anyone’s standards and Kevin, who has been with the organization for eleven years, attributes this to their ability to relate to both the business executives as well as the IT buyers.

Kevin explains that there is some resistance to Cloud adoption due to fears over security and job losses, but as they come to realize that it’s a new growth market that requires new skills and importantly a better ability to link IT to business goals, and that demand is only accelerating, then these fears are calmed and they start to look for how it can better assist their organization.

Highlighting the type of modern organizational culture that Longview offers, Kevin is particularly adept in this role due to his MBA, which he gained through their ‘Career Life Plan’ that the organization provides to each employee.

Additionally he has also been trained as an ITIL Master, meaning he is able to engage IT executives at a senior level about the key trends that Cloud presents, most notably the automation and integration of the previously silo’d and traditionally distinct departmental functions like applications, hardware and networks.

Kevin explains that Cloud represents a fundamental paradigm shift in this regard, and that he has organized their Cloud strategy to reflect the two essential dynamics of the trend:

  1. Utility supply of IT services, like electricity
  2. Browse Yes Now – The ability to instantly satisfy user demand through on demand provisioning

This new mode of IT service delivery is fundamentally what Cloud is about, and with the exciting range of technologies they have baked into their Cloud platforms, they’re able to offer clients a suite of next generation tools that can be used for end-to-end management of modern IT environments, including ‘BYOD’ (Bring Your Own Device) programs, tablets and Blackberries et al.

Agility and On Demand Mobility

“We call this On Demand Mobility” says Kevin, “and it’s the unique capability we offer that differentiates us from other generic Cloud providers”.

It’s this agility that is attracting new clients to Longview. Kevin explained that it’s the market demand you would expect – Customers who are time-pressed and need IT services quickly can turn to Longview and what might have taken months to provision they can deliver in only a week or two.

By integrating key technologies, from other hot Canadian ventures like Geminare, they’re able to meet clients needs for a variety of needs like business continuity, leveraging the Cloud to do so quickly and via a streamlined utility cost model.

Critically they have also employed globally recognized best practices, such as FedRAMP, so that customers can be rest assured of security at the same time as this agility.

This combination of factors has enabled Longview to be recognized as the world’s number one MSP, an award they won for 2011 and are pleased to have learned they have just won again for 2012 – An award well justified for this awesome example of Canadian Cloud leadership.