Vol 2, #43, Oct. 26, 2010
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October 26, 2010


RBC first in Canadian online banking study
Shaw buys Global TV, plans to expand digital
T.O.-based Clarity Systems acquired by IBM
Make Technologies aligning with Deloitte
Quizative takes on HSFC's national online strategy
Aeroplan and Cossette make it official
Exec. Derek Smyth joins Bridgescale Partners
Sweetspot.ca introduces DailySqueeze.ca
Democracy 2.0? The Online Party of Canada

RBC first in Canadian online banking study

Royal Bank has come out on top in Surviscor's Online Banking scorecard, a comprehensive, impartial annual audit of online features and functionality at major Canadian banking institutions. This unique simulated-usage study measures over a thousand objective criteria within multiple service categories that are weighted according to industry-defined importance. The design and execution of the scorCard is powered by CorbinPartners Inc., a leading provider of business intelligence in   Canada.

The top five scores are:  RBC Royal Bank  (59.40),  TD Canada Trust  (57.00),  CIBC  (51.42),  Scotiabank  (51.15) and Vancity (49.13).

"For many customers, online banking is becoming the cornerstone of their relationship with a financial institution. As a result, a solid and ever-improving online platform can be the key to a firm's success," says Glenn LaCoste, President of Surviscor.

For the first time in the history of the study, there were five different firms leading each of the five main measurement categories. CIBC took first prize in the Getting Started section, which evaluated features targeted to prospective and existing clients prior to website login. TD Canada Trust won the Website Design category while RBC Royal Bank led all institutions in Customer Support. Scotiabank narrowly took the Website Transactions category and  Coast Capital Savings, Canada's second largest credit union, remained on top of Service Rates and Fees for the second consecutive year.

"It was a breath of fresh air to see select online enhancements as compared to a year ago," said LaCoste. "For example, RBC Royal Bank introduced 'myFinanceTracker' which significantly improves a customers' ability to analyze banking patterns and track an overall budget."

Despite the enhancements, the Online Banking scorCard highlighted numerous opportunities for Canadian banking institutions to continue to improve the customer experience. This includes a seamless account opening process, timely and accurate e-mail responsiveness, innovative educational tools, and crisp and clean account monitoring tools. "New and improved services like these, LaCoste added, will be essential to the evolution of online banking." Top of Page

Shaw buys Global TV, plans to expand digital

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved Shaw Communications Inc.'s (Shaw's) acquisition of the conventional television stations and specialty channels controlled by Canwest Global Communications Corp. (Canwest Global).

"We are satisfied that this transaction will generate substantial benefits for the Canadian broadcasting system," said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. "Shaw will provide the television properties involved in the transaction with stable ownership as they emerge from a period of uncertainty. The broadcasting system also stands to gain from Shaw's commitment to support local and independent programming and the transition to digital television."

As part of any ownership transaction in the broadcasting sector, the buyer is expected to make specific commitments to fund initiatives that will improve the Canadian broadcasting system. In this case, the CRTC took into consideration the fact that the Global Television Network and certain specialty channels were operating under bankruptcy protection.

As a result, it has accepted Shaw's proposal to spend   $180.1 million  over the next seven years to:

  • support the transition to digital television by converting 67 analog transmitters in smaller markets to digital
  • provide and install a satellite receiver and dish, at no charge, to viewers who lose access to the over-the-air signals of their local or regional television stations as of   August 31, 2011, as well as free satellite access to those signals
  • produce new two-hour morning newscasts in Regina, Saskatoon,   Winnipeg,   Toronto,   Montreal  and   Halifax
  • purchase more drama, documentary and comedy programs from independent producers
  • invest in new media content that will support news programming and programs of national interest

During the proceeding, Shaw also promised to make the rights to its television programming available to its competitors for broadcast on mobile devices and over the internet.

In addition, the CRTC also launched a public proceeding to study the wider implications of the growing number of integrated media companies in the Canadian broadcasting system. The proceeding will include a public hearing starting on   May 9, 2011, in Gatineau, Que.

Top of Page

T.O.-based Clarity Systems acquired by IBM

IBM has acquired Clarity Systems, a privately-held company based in   Toronto,   Canada. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Clarity Systems delivers financial governance software that enables organizations to automate the process of collecting, preparing, certifying and controlling financial statements for electronic filing, in support of mandates by the SEC and other financial regulatory agencies. To significantly reduce the risks of potential error and the lengthy times required to create and file financial documents, Clarity Systems software allows finance professionals to seamlessly integrate information for more efficient planning, consolidation and financial reporting.

The acquisition of Clarity Systems extends IBM's business analytics initiatives, and represents IBM's commitment to address financial governance and risk management challenges faced by financial departments in virtually every industry. IBM now has a comprehensive portfolio of business analytics software for financial professionals to plan, forecast and analyze performance, identify and manage key business risks, and report to external stakeholders with confidence.

"Smarter decisions thrive on accurate financial information, and it is therefore imperative that financial governance systems reduce risk of error and provide confidence in the external reporting process," said   Rob Ashe, general manager, business analytics, IBM. "Clarity Systems extends IBM's business analytics capabilities to the office of finance by enabling organizations to help businesses automate complex governance processes, improve data accuracy and provide the foundation for addressing a wide array of regulatory reporting mandates."

"Clarity System's unified approach offers the flexibility, security, and control needed to make more informed business decisions while meeting compliance requirements," said Mark Nashman, president & CTO, Clarity Systems. "As a part of IBM, we can bring our leading financial governance solution to an established set of customers who need to effectively and efficiently execute the creation and delivery of external regulatory filings." Top of Page

Make Technologies aligning with Deloitte

Make Technologies, a privately held leading legacy modernization software and services company, has launched its new Partner Network Program, starting with a new strategic alliance with globally recognized firm Deloitte. The two companies will work together to develop a joint program targeting enterprise modernization initiatives.

"We are extending our success in the enterprise marketplace with this program," said Jean-Guy Faubert, newly appointed Executive VP Global Alliances for Make Technologies. "There is strong demand for legacy application modernization solutions that allow companies to innovate and support business processes for competitive advantage, while leveraging existing investments. System Integrators play an invaluable role as trusted consultants to guide their customers through application modernization success. We've been successfully working with Network members and their customers on these mission-critical applications. Now we are expanding our outreach with active recruitment and strategic alliances."

Deloitte has enrolled in Make Technologies' newly formed Partner Network Program which provides program participants with support, specialized education and training, and access to its patented Transformational Legacy Modernization (TLM®) solutions and products. This program will help in the implementation of application modernization initiatives.

As a part of its Partner Network Program, Make Technologies has introduced categories to recognize the various needs and specialties of participating vendors. Make Technologies is looking to recruit strategic System Integration organizations focused on legacy application modernization projects and providing them with the solutions and services they need to effectively target this space today.

"Legacy application modernization is a growing market. This is a top of mind issue for most CIOs as they need assurance of project success with little to no interruption of service while transitioning from critical legacy applications," said   Ian Tait, Deloitte partner. "Organizations want to focus on their core competency, and not be in the business of maintaining custom code. Deloitte's goal is to work with clients to ensure a strategy that can provide operational efficiencies and long term value."

Make Technologies' program participants will gain potential new revenue stream opportunities with this new program. They will also enjoy the benefits of marketing support, sales and pre-sales support and training programs. In addition, Make Technologies will also be offering accredited certification and training programs available through workshops and online courses.   Top of Page

Quizative takes on HSFC's national online strategy

Following a competitive pitch process, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) – Canada’s leading volunteer-based health charity focused on eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact – has selected digital innovation agency, Quizative Inc.to conduct a strategic and technical review of all of its key websites to help develop a three-to-five year national online strategy. The agency’s objective is to evaluate whether the current web strategy is the best approach to meet the Foundation’s objectives and consumer needs.

To develop the online strategy, Quizative will review many of the key national, provincial and cause-specific websites in English and French and perform a cost analysis to ensure the organization is efficiently conducting website development and management. The agency’s final report will include recommendations on how to engage Canadians online while maximizing budget. For this initiative, Quizative is working with software development firm partner, Soft Gravity, which is assisting with senior technical consulting.

“We’re thrilled that the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada selected us to lead this strategic process,” says Adrian Capobianco, founder and president, Quizative Inc. “The organization represents a cause that touches almost every Canadian family and we look forward to leveraging both our digital experience and the knowledge in our not-for-profit practice to help the Foundation,” he adds.

Upon a thorough review of potential partners we really feel that Quizative best represents the voice of the consumer. We look forward to working with them on this important project,” says Yaz Maziar, national web publisher, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Top of Page

Aeroplan and Cossette make it official

Aeroplan, a leading Canadian premier coalition loyalty program, has awarded Cossette with the mandate for its marketing communications across all disciplines and channels.

Over its more than 25 year history, Aeroplan has continuously looked for ways to develop and enhance the program for its more than 4 million members. In its recently completed agency search, Aeroplan was seeking to consolidate all marketing initiatives under a single roof to facilitate a 360 degree approach to planning and executing marketing communications programs.

"Aeroplan is constantly adjusting its marketing approach to enrich the experience of its members and ensure that the values of its brand and its products are aligned on all platforms," says   David Klein, Vice President of Marketing at Aeroplan. "The lines between channels and disciplines have blurred and members are increasingly interacting with Aeroplan across a growing list of touch points. Only through fully integrated messaging are we now able to reach the consumer in a consistent and efficient fashion."

Cossette's mandate will include branding, design, relational marketing, sponsorship, advertising and media planning, and purchasing for all communication channels.

"We understood Aeroplan's needs right from the start of the agency selection process. This is a brand that evolves and adjusts to consumer and loyalty trends and to the changes in the world of communications, just as we do," explains Gregor Angus, Executive Vice-President of Cossette. "We'll leverage our vast experience in integrated communications, our understanding of the new digital world and our experience in relational marketing to help Aeroplan drive forward with their vision." Top of Page

Exec. Derek Smyth joins Bridgescale Partners

Bridgescale Partners, a California- and Toronto-based growth equity firm providing equity to high growth information technology companies, today announced   Derek Smyth  joined the firm as Managing Director. Smyth, a venture and technology industry veteran with an extensive operating background as a CEO, will leverage his company building experience and broad network to originate, source and manage new investment opportunities for Bridgescale Partners throughout   Canada  and the United States. Smyth has served on the board of many of Canada's leading early stage companies and complements Bridgescale Partners'   Howard Gwin  in   Canada  as well as the U.S. investment team.

"Derek's operating expertise in both Silicon Valley and   Canada  as well as his excellent venture capital track record make him a great addition to the Bridgescale team," said Robert Chaplinsky, Managing Director, Bridgescale Partners. "He complements our existing team of experienced investment professionals. We expect Derek to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact to the firm." 

"Derek brings a diverse network of relationships to the Bridgescale platform, which will enable us to attract exciting new investment opportunities in the U.S. and   Canada," said   Matthew Cowan, Managing Director, Bridgescale Partners. Top of Page

Sweetspot.ca introduces DailySqueeze.ca

Sweetspot.ca is proud to announce the arrival of its fit and healthy sister-site, DailySqueeze.ca.

DailySqueeze.ca will be Canada’s one-stop destination for the latest workouts, super-foods, eco-chic products, recipes, fitness gear and more. The new publication has been brought to life by Joanna Track, founder of Sweetspot.ca in partnership with Rogers Digital Media.

“During the past few years, health and fitness has become an increasingly important part of my life,” says Track. “When I searched for a resource dedicated to a holistic approach to health, fitness and wellness that offered workouts, recipes and advice there was nothing comprehensive in the Canadian marketplace – so we created it!”

“We’ve brought Canada a taste of the sweet life, and now we’re sharing a slice of the healthy life, too.”

DailySqueeze.ca will be an interactive, content-rich and constantly evolving resource – complete with expert advice from fitness trainer Larry Track, holistic nutritionist Meghan Telpner, naturopath Dr. Odessa Gill, professional chef Elisa Gross, yogi Asia Nelson and green-living expert Lisa Borden.

To celebrate the launch, DailySqueeze.ca is giving users a chance to win a trip for two to the island of Oahu. Users can also sign up for a free “squeeze-scoop” weekly newsletter, covering national and Toronto-specific content (with more cities to come in 2011). Plus, DailySqueeze.ca will offer daily updated web news, articles and blogs. Top of Page

Democracy 2.0? The Online Party of Canada

Canada’s newest political party seeks to increase transparency and accountability through increased use of internet technology within the political arena. With more Canadians embracing the idea of debating and voting online, this 'Tea Party'-like grassroots organization seems to be gaining momentum across the country.

The OPC claims to offer the Canadian electorate a built-in accountability mechanism whereby elected officials are held to their promises and actions, ensuring competence and transparency in the political process. Mr. Michael Niculathe founder of OPC, opines that the political debate will soon enter a new era, focusing on individual issues instead of parties and politicians.

Mr. Nicula  believes the Canadians are ready for online debate and voting, and OPC is ready to provide the platform for this change. The Canadian political establishment has managed so far to fend off challenges from smaller progressive political organizations due to the high costs of publicity. Social networking via the internet abolishes these costs and therefore can radically alter the existing political system. Top of Page