Interactive Intelligence Expands Presence in Canada
New Toronto office and Montreal-based data center latest in company’s Canadian expansion
Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ), a global provider of software and services for communications, collaboration and customer engagement, has expanded its presence in Canadawith the opening of an office in Toronto and a data center in Montreal.
This expansion builds on the company’s presence in Canada, which began in 2001. The company’s latest Toronto office is in addition to its first regional office located in Montreal.
The new Toronto office spans 5,300 square feet (490 square meters) and is staffed by sales, marketing, professional services, and dedicated cloud support employees. The office is strategically located in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area technology district.
The latest Interactive Intelligence Montreal data center is the second to open in Canada, following the company’s Torontodata center, which opened in 2013. Combined, these data centers offer the company’s Canadian cloud customers full geo-redundancy throughout the region.
The new Montreal data center has multiple certifications, including SSAE-16, and is a TIER III Design and Construction-certified multitenant data center with guaranteed 100 percent uptime. Combined with the data center’s virtualization technology and architectural flexibility, Canadian cloud customers can be assured that their most stringent security and compliance requirements will be met.
“Our growth in Canada is being driven by several trends here, including increased demand for cloud, mobile, analytics and social customer service technologies,” said Jo-Anne Finney, Interactive Intelligence’s area director for Canada. “With our mature on-premises software, our single-tenant cloud service delivered from our two data centers in Canada, and our new PureCloud? platform that offers enterprise-grade multitenant services, our customers get the benefit of the most comprehensive set of communications, collaboration and customer engagement solutions delivered however they want.”
Of Interactive Intelligence’s more than 2,000 global employees, more than 50 are located throughout the Eastern, Western and Ontario regions. The company is backed by more than 6,000 customer deployments globally, with more than 175 customers based in Canada. These include Air Canada Vacations, LCBO, Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, Pizza Pizza,Shoppers Drug Mart, The Co-operators, and many other brand name companies.
Interactive Intelligence offers its cloud and on-premises communications, collaboration and customer engagement solutions through its direct sales force and a channel of more than 350 global resellers.
Central National-Gottesman Inc. (CNG), a global distributor of pulp, paper and forestry products, is expanding its North American distribution business by adding Spicers Canada—one of the country’s primary distributors of fine paper, sign and display media, industrial packaging and graphic arts supplies—to its growing portfolio of regional paper merchants.
The Vaughan, Ontario-based Spicers Canada is a subsidiary of the Australia-based PaperlinX Limited and operates 15 warehouse locations throughout the country, as well as sheeting facilities and cash-and-carry stores serving local markets. The company has been in business for more than 70 years.
“Spicers Canada has a very strong competitive position in the market, reflecting its scale, deep set of service capabilities and exceptional leadership,” Andrew Wallach, CNG president and chief executive officer said. “We are looking forward to working with [president] Cory Turner and his team to build upon the company’s excellent reputation and market leadership.”
The company will continue to operate independently to ensure continuity with its customer service, suppliers and almost 500 employees.
This will be the eighth acquisition of a regional paper merchant since 2010 for CNG’s North American distribution division, and it is expected to add approximately $400 million in annual sales.
“This transaction is an excellent fit with our existing strategy to grow organically and through strategic acquisitions,” Ken Wallach, CNG’s executive chairman said. “We believe it demonstrates our enduring commitment to the paper distribution business in North America.”
Spicers Canada joins CNG members Lindenmeyr Munroe, Spicers Paper (US) and Kelly Paper in the company’s Distribution Group. The deal is expected to close at the end of February pending approval by the Competition Bureau of Canada.
3 Tier Logic Rapidly Gaining Traction in Multiple Segments of Shopping Center Industry
3TL Technologies Corp. announced that Bon Air Center, a local retail center located in Greenbrae, California, an affluent suburb of San Francisco, entered into an agreement with 3 Tier Logic (the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary) to use its Platform³ technology as a cornerstone of its digital marketing program. Bon Air will capitalize on the functionalities of Platform³ to: rapidly increase the quantity of new visitors; increase frequency of mall visits; increase social media engagement; gather in-depth data about shoppers; and reward shoppers for sharing content about the retail center with their friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“The methods of retail center marketing are evolving, rapidly,” explained Bon Air Center’s Marketing Director Vicki Kung. “Our current and potential customers are turning to digital media more frequently to find out about our retail stores, restaurants, sales, special offers, and events. We realized that we needed to leverage the power of social media and friend-to-friend marketing to maximize our reach and form a more personal relationship with our customers. Platform3 enables us to do that and help us to make our marketing much more effective and cost efficient.”
After registering into the Platform3 program, consumers will be given access to a dashboard of content about Bon Air Center. As consumers share the content, they will acquire rewards points that can be redeemed for special offers from retailers as well as other rewards like concert tickets and other local activities. Bon Air Center will use the data mining functionalities of Platform3 to acquire detailed information about consumer profiles and content sharing behaviors to help the shopping center market to them more efficiently and on a one-to-one basis.
“Retail center owners and marketers are working feverishly to identify their most valuable shoppers, to get them engaged with the mall, and to communicate with them on a personal level, with the goal of increasing the frequency of their visits to the mall and increasing the quantity of new visitors,” said Rob Craig, CEO of 3 Tier Logic. “Platform3 enables retail centers to accelerate consumer-to-consumer sharing of valuable content through social media channels targeted at customers in their geographic market. We are building a track record of helping retail mall owners increase their ROI on advertising as they seek to implement digital marketing targeted at local markets. With some 60,000 retail malls in North America, we are encouraged by our success to date and look forward to working with Bon Air Center to maximize the returns on their digital marketing budget.”
On April 20, Bon Air Center will launch its Platform3 program with a register-to-win sweepstakes featuring locally significant prizes. Bon Air Center will promote Platform3 throughout all aspects of its overall marketing mix including weekly newspaper and online advertisements, email, merchant engagement, and on-site signage throughout the shopping center.
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada Combats Child Poverty with Northern Lights Direct
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) has once again teamed up with leading brand direct response agency, Northern Lights Direct, on a new direct response campaign, currently on air nationwide.
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada DRTV Commercial
Shot on location in Paraguay, the project titled “A Child’s Eyes” sheds light on the impoverished conditions affecting children in that country – and beyond.
“Child poverty continues to be a global issue that must be faced head-on,” says David Callan, Director, Marketing at Christian Children’s Fund of Canada. “We have chosen to join forces with Northern Lights Direct again because they are effective at inspiring hope in our viewers and putting out a call to action.”
Creating these commercials was an eye-opening and rewarding experience for Robert Ian French, President of Northern Lights Direct. “I commend CCFC for their tireless commitment towards easing child poverty around the world. As their direct response partner, our mission is to motivate people watching these stories to become child sponsors and see for themselves how fulfilling sponsorship can be.”
The direct response television campaign consists of 120- and 60-second spots which drives donors to a 1-800 number and URL (www.sponsorme.ca) to sponsor a child in need. Northern Lights Direct is also managing the Canadian television media buy.
SCENE and CARA Announce Strategic Marketing Partnership
SCENE members to earn and redeem points at all CARA restaurant locations
SCENE, Canada’s largest entertainment loyalty program, today announced a strategic marketing partnership that will see CARA Operations Limited (“CARA”) become the program’s exclusive restaurant partner.
Beginning this summer, SCENE members will be able to earn and redeem points at 813 CARA restaurants, including Swiss Chalet Rotisserie & Grill, Harvey’s, Milestones Grill & Bar, Montana’s BBQ & Bar, Kelsey’s, East Side Mario’s, Fionn MacCool’s, D’Arcy McGee’s, Paddy Flaherty’s, Tir nan Óg and Bier Markt.
“SCENE members are some of the most active participants in the entertainment space. In addition to being avid movie-goers, they over index in out-of-home dining. This new partnership with CARA will continue to deliver against our brand promise of giving our members more of what they love,” said Shawn Bloom, Vice President, Operations and Partnerships, SCENE LP. “We expect this will deepen engagement with our more than 6.4 million members, while also encouraging member acquisition.”
“CARA is excited to be partnering with SCENE as the first and only entertainment rewards program in Canada,” said Dave Colebrook, Vice President, Marketing, CARA Operations Limited. “This partnership will allow our restaurants to provide even more value to our existing guests while also helping draw new guests. There is also no better strategic fit than “dinner and a movie.”
SCENE members will earn one SCENE point for every $3 spent in-store and online at participating restaurants, in addition to ongoing bonus point offers. Members will be able to redeem 1,000 SCENE points to receive a $10 discount on their bill at participating CARA restaurant locations. The partnership will also enable guests to continue to earn and redeem SCENE points for CARA’s gift card, The Ultimate Dining Card.
Hitachi data systems announces intent to acquire pentaho to deliver more value from big data and the internet of things that matter
Acquisition delivers data integration, business analytics expertise, and foundational technologies that accelerate big data value
Hitachi Data Systems Corporation (HDS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), today announced its intent to acquire Pentaho Corporation, a leading big data integration and business analytics company with an open source-based platform for diverse big data deployments.
The acquisition of Pentaho – the largest private big data acquisition transaction to date – is expected to be complete by June 2015, and is subject to customary closing conditions. Upon the close of the acquisition, Pentaho will become “Pentaho, a Hitachi Data Systems company” and will retain its brand. Pentaho will continue to execute its current business model under the leadership of Pentaho CEO, Quentin Gallivan, who will report to Kevin Eggleston, HDS senior vice president, Social Innovation and Global Industries.
This acquisition helps to fulfill Hitachi’s strategy of delivering business innovations that integrate machine data, information technology, and analytics to distill value from big data and the Internet of Things.
“Acquiring Pentaho will have important ramifications for the big data industry,” said Marcel Escorcio, Regional Vice President and General Manager, HDS Canada. “Enterprise customers will be able to ramp up solutions more quickly and enable team members throughout the organization to easily turn data into competitive advantage.”
Pentaho software and expertise will advance the current HDS portfolio of products and services, and help bring additional HDS big data solutions to market sooner. The result will be unique, comprehensive solutions to address specific challenges through a shared analytics platform. The Hitachi shared analytics platform will be a reference architecture that brings together and orchestrates different technologies from Hitachi, partners and the open source community. It will allow developers to add new capabilities on top of existing technologies for faster response to business needs.
“Data remains an untapped resource for many organizations and businesses – with the realization of the value of that data remaining a challenge,” said Kevin Eggleston, senior vice president, Social Innovation and Global Industries, Hitachi Data Systems. “The combination of Hitachi’s broad industry expertise, advanced information technologies, and now Pentaho software and the talented team of experts, will enable us to give customers a more complete solution to manage their data – allowing them to leverage the power of big data and Internet of Things in a quicker and simpler way.”
“We are pleased to join the Hitachi Data Systems family and truly believe our complementary set of solutions will accelerate the adoption of big data deployments and Internet of Things applications,” said Quentin Gallivan, chairman and chief executive officer, Pentaho. “The broad resources, expertise and global presence of Hitachi Data Systems, as well as Hitachi, Ltd., help ensure a strong foundation for Pentaho to continue to accelerate our big data analytics and data orchestration capabilities, bring new innovations to market, and expand support for current and future customers.”
This acquisition builds on an existing OEM relationship between the two companies and is a core component of the HDS strategy to accelerate its Social Innovation business and become a leader in IoT. Social Innovation is the unifying strategy across Hitachi businesses to deliver solutions that enable healthier, safer and smarter societies. The Pentaho vision to create transformational value from data generated and interconnected across people and things is brought to life by a big data orchestration platform to power embedded analytics.
As part of the Hitachi Social Innovation strategy, HDS is actively engaging in the practical use of connected machines and sensors and how IoT can improve business and society – or the Internet of Things that matter. Seamless integration of solutions for big data requires capabilities in several areas, including deep domain expertise, analytics technology, and an end-to-end platform. Hitachi is entirely unique in its ability to deliver on all of these elements.
Pentaho delivers a foundational technology for big data. The fundamental promise of big data is to enable customers to capture, blend and analyze a broader array of data sources to derive new business insights. The Pentaho platform simplifies preparing and blending any data and includes a spectrum of tools that enable users to easily analyze, visualize, explore, report insights and predict outcomes. Pentaho offers a platform that is open, embeddable and extensible, which allows it to deliver data and analytics as a service to customers and partners.
BBDO Canada announces appointment of Jeff McCrory as chief strategic officer
BBDO Canada (www.bbdo.ca) — whose mission is to create and deliver the world’s most compelling commercial content — is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Jeff McCrory as chief strategic officer. The executive appointment is a senior strategic move on behalf of the agency to significantly augment BBDO’s position as a leader in digital and brand strategy, and underscores the pedigree of its talent development. Mr. McCrory will be responsible for broadening the role of planning within the agency by marrying messaging and context in its unique approach to integrated planning.
For the past two years Mr. McCrory has led the integrated business for BBDO’s blue chip client, RBC, generating increasingly superior results. Prior to his work at BBDO, he was strategic catalyst at Dentsu and chief strategic officer at Downtown Partners. His experience spans more than twenty years building world-class brands such as Budweiser, Quaker, Sportchek, Bud Light, Gatorade and Sapporo Beer, among others.
“We are pleased to welcome Jeff to this new role within BBDO,” said Gerry Frascione, president and CEO of BBDO Canada. “Big, powerful ideas executed with excellence across all channels are the cornerstone of BBDO. Jeff’s mandate is to deepen our evolution of the planning process to drive even better consumer engagement, participation and activation. He has consistently been associated with business-building and award-winning work and his appointment is indicative of BBDO’s ongoing commitment to structuring our agency to deliver exceptional results for all of our clients.”
“I’m excited to be taking on this new role. I’m a true problem geek at heart, and the opportunity to bring this passion to BBDO’s depth and scale of clients is very special,” said Mr. McCrory. “There is so much potential yet so much confusion in our industry at the moment. At its best, planning brings order to the chaos.” He continued, “My goal is to build, motivate and inspire our entire planning group to be the absolute best at focusing BBDO’s creative horsepower to deliver the most creative, most innovative, and without question the most effective solutions possible.”
Interactive Intelligence Has Won the 2014 Cloud Computing Product of the Year Award
Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ), a global provider of software and services for communications, collaboration and customer engagement, has won the 2014 Cloud Computing Product of the Year Award for its PureCloud? platform.
Interactive Intelligence won the award for its PureCloud? platform, a new cloud deployment choice for delivering enterprise-grade communications, collaboration and customer engagement services.
The Cloud Computing Product of the Year Award, presented by Technology Marketing Corp.’s Cloud Computing magazine, honors vendors with the most innovative, useful, and beneficial cloud products and services that have been brought to market in the past year.
“The Interactive Intelligence PureCloud? platform met our award criteria by using multitenant, distributed cloud architecture in unique ways to give customers more rapid deployment, greater reliability and unlimited scalability,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO for TMC. “Combined with its cloud services that connect employees and customers in more efficient ways, the PureCloud? platform demonstrates innovation and excellence within the burgeoning cloud market.”
Interactive Intelligence designed the PureCloud?platform to give businesses of all sizes easier and faster access to the latest communications, collaboration and customer engagement services. Built atop Amazon Web Services, it offers enterprise-grade security and compliance, and uses the latest cloud design methods for all applications and management tools to ensure ease-of-use. An open application-programming interface enables users to access services from other Web or mobile applications.
“The advancement of cloud technology has given customers dramatically better choices for HR, ERP and CRM solutions,” said Jeff Platón, chief marketing officer for Interactive Intelligence. “We saw this many years ago, but realized that despite these advances there were still no vendors offering equally innovative integrated communications, collaboration and customer engagement services from a single cloud platform. Our PureCloud? platform is the embodiment of what we’re calling this ‘C3′ vision and we’re investing heavily in PureCloud? services that will enable businesses to operate more efficiently, while improving their customer, employee and partner experiences.”
Interactive Intelligence released its first cloud service delivered by the PureCloud? platform last month. The enterprise collaboration service, called PureCloud Directory?, was designed to increase productivity and enhance collaboration by enabling employees to quickly find, connect and communicate with the right person, with the right set of skills, at the right time.
Interactive Intelligence plans to release PureCloud? services for content management, unified communications, the contact center, and more later this year.
New Report Offers Seven Steps for Nonprofit Digital Strategy Success in 2015
Care2, hjc, and NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network announced the findings from the 2014 Digital Outlook survey in the report: 2015 Digital Outlook Report. The report compiles responses from nearly 500 individuals that work in the nonprofit sector about their outlook for 2015 in regards to their staffing, strategies, tools, and more.
Digital strategy is a growing priority in nonprofits, but the findings reveal that this growth is not consistent across organizations in terms of staffing, tools, and strategies. 56% of survey respondents (all from nonprofit organizations) reported that they do not have any staff dedicated to digital strategy, but some of it has to do with size, where 66% of respondents from organizations with 76+ full time staff noted that they have a dedicated team for this.
Digital strategy is a growing priority in nonprofits, but the findings reveal that this growth is not consistent across organizations in terms of staffing, tools, and strategies. 56% of survey respondents reported that they do not have any staff dedicated to digital strategy. Size plays a role in determining this to some extent, where 66% of respondents from organizations with 76+ full time staff noted that they have a dedicated team for this.
While budget and capacity constraints continue to play a key factor for all nonprofits when planning their digital strategies, the report highlights four elements to improve digital interaction with prospective donors and supporters where budget is not a barrier: right audience, right plan, right content, and right tools.
“We know that staff time is valuable, but we’ve already budgeted for it. Many of the recommendations highlighted in this report require staff time to strategize, make changes, and optimize online processes or experience. They do not, necessarily, require new funds or larger budgets for new tools. It’s a matter of being strategic, not buying more technology.” Amy Sample Ward, CEO of NTEN.
The report also includes three case studies from nonprofits: Alzheimer Society of Ontario, Covenant House International, and Ontario SPCA. Across the board, nonprofit leaders are focused on building the right infrastructure and resources to enable multi-channel marketing. They are hyper-focused on the constituent experience and converting that experience into a viable marketing strategy for donor acquisition.
For nonprofit digital strategy, 2015 is all about integration. Whether it’s integration of content or integration of staff, nonprofits are trying to take the next step beyond engagement to conversion. Digital is, now more than ever, an inherent component of effective organizations. Looking ahead, the report offers seven steps for nonprofit digital strategy success in 2015.
“It’s all about people in any industry. Whether we’re talking about Oracle, IBM, or a charitable organization, how you deploy your human resources is the key to success. This exciting new piece of research digs a bit deeper to uncover the evidence, and subsequent guidance for, any nonprofit with rationed resources, who wants to be more successful in digital marketing and fundraising.” Mike Johnston, President & Founder of hjc.
Lloydmedia, Inc is based in Markham, Ontario, Canada, and is a multi-platform media company which delivers a total audience of more than 100,000 readers across four national magazines, three industry directories, and a range of events and online marketing.