In the past few years, companies across industries have embraced the idea of hybrid IT. But nowhere is this nearly ubiquitous buzzword more meaningful than at Alberta, Canada-based Long View Systems. As one of the leading IT solutions and services companies in North America, Long View works to achieve results for its clients by seamlessly fusing business and technology; the hybrid approach is baked into the organization and informs the way it approaches all of its client interactions and services.
Long View defines hybrid IT as the ability to drive desired business outcomes through the optimal combination of technology solutions, services, processes, and consumption models. To ensure that it can fit the unique needs of every customer, Long View also maintains strong partnerships with other technology companies like Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.
Kevin Crowe, vice president of procurement at Long View, is an expert in providing the best value for customers through this new hybrid business model. Crowe joined Long View in 2000 as one of the company’s first employees, overseeing managed services. In 2010, he instigated the development of Long View’s cloud division, forever altering market strategy for the company. His strong sense of emerging technologies is what led him to the procurement division and his current role.
“Hybrid by nature is disrupting.”
Crowe views Long View’s success as a direct result of the way it approaches the business. “We’re very focused on a culture of integrity and looking over our clients,” he says. Crowe and his team are tasked with both procuring technology and ensuring that clients have the tools and resources to understand any new capacities.
For Crowe and his colleagues, meeting the demands of the client is essentially a full-service job. He stresses that the need to consume technology will change from client to client. For him, it’s critical to determine a company’s business strategy. “We really see ourselves in a trusted advisor role,” he says.
Using Tech for the Greater Good
After losing a dear friend to brain cancer in 2010, Crowe began volunteering at a hospice once a week. When he realized that many patients were missing loved ones who couldn’t afford flights to come visit them, he was inspired to help.
Crowe discovered that many people don’t use their accumulated frequent flyer miles and engineered a simple way for people to donate them. He founded the nonprofit organization Give A Mile, which allows people to visit terminally ill loved ones through crowdfunded flights and the donation of travel miles or points on a simple, easy-to-use website. The organization has provided almost one hundred flights so far. “It just makes your heart grow three sizes when you get to do that,” Crowe says.
Because of its hybrid IT approach, Crowe and his team can tailor an array of resources for companies depending on their needs. Where one company might require an on-demand cloud service, another might need internal software restructuring. Long View strongly resists ready-made models, and instead focuses on the intrinsic needs of the companies for which it is hired to provide solutions.
Crowe cites the company’s creativity and entrepreneurship as qualities that drive its success. “Hybrid by nature is disrupting,” says Crowe. He notes that change is difficult for certain people and businesses, and as a result, solution-based companies will make the common mistake of maintaining the same technology models to avoid rocking the boat. “That can be really detrimental in the long run, especially when you are working in technology, because things are changing so fast,” he says.
Data analytics plays a major role in how Crowe and his team operate. They are very proactive when it comes to showing the best value models for clients, which is also an investment in their future. “On the procurement side, we’re using a lot more data analytics for our clients to educate them on how they consume and purchase technology,” says Crowe.
Equipped with data, companies that utilize Long View can find insight into their patterns and behavior. These consumption models are helpful for Crowe’s team when they are acting as an aggregator on behalf of clients.
Crowe is adamant that while procurement can advance a new business excellence for companies, it’s also critical for Long View to remain committed to integrity. “When you’re working in these consumption models, one of the most important things for our clients is that it’s well-governed,” he says. That transparency is key in developing client and partner relationships.