Risk Focus Expands to Canada’s Queen City

Risk Focus Expands to Canada’s Queen City

Risk Focus, a consulting firm providing specialized business domain and technology implementations, announces the opening of their new Toronto Office. The office is located just outside the city in Oakville, ON and will house a highly technical team focusing on DevOps and Business Transformations, as well as Risk and Trade Solutions for Financial Services.

Though establishing a physical presence in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is new to Risk Focus, the company has worked in Toronto’s Financial District for most of this decade, with an emphasis since 2013 on helping firms drive Business Transformations into the Cloud and proper DevOps practices. Establishing a local presence reflects a commitment to growth in the area, both in terms of expertise and client base.

Over the last several years Toronto has become a mecca for Technology and IT Professionals. With large technical juggernauts moving into the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the Universities continuing to educate, develop and feed Silicon Valley with quality developers, it makes Toronto a logical destination for Risk Focus.

Karl Kerba, the new Head of the Toronto DevOps Solutions is a native Torontonian, as are several other members of the growing Toronto team. The team will work directly with the Head of DevOps for the firm, Peter Meulbroek. Both Peter, and the entire Risk Focus leadership believes in the community, its innovative culture, deep talent pool and growth opportunities, and expects the company to have a bright future here.

Toronto is an exceptional place to live and work. It ranks as the 7th most liveable city in the world based on The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index, which considers five parameters to rank a city’s living condition: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
“We’re here because Toronto has so much to offer. In addition to all those things that make it an eminently liveable city, an immense level of talent exists within the GTA. We couldn’t be more thrilled to bring Risk Focus to this dynamic tech hot spot,” said Kerba.

Risk Focus, founded in 2004, has established an international presence stemming out from their head office in New York City. Their offices span globally – London, Frankfurt, Riga and recently opening a Development Center in Pittsburgh (August) and now in Toronto.

DevOps Culture & The Meaning of “However”

DevOps Culture & The Meaning of “However”

We’d love to embrace DevOps; however

As I prepare to embark on the next phase of a career focused on recognizing new trends and accelerating the adoption of emerging technologies, I harken back to 2013.  I had recently landed in Tel Aviv with my family for a 2 year stint and was having a discussion with an Israeli colleague about the cultural differences between the US and Israel. He was expressing his frustration from his time living in the US with the word “however”.   He explained that there is no equivalent in Hebrew for the word “however” when encountered – which happened quite frequently – as follows: “I’d really love to help you with your driver’s license application; however…” He quickly realized that no matter how he tried to negotiate, cajole or plea, in the US, “however” meant “no way”.

And this got me thinking to the challenges facing organizations going through Digital Transformation – the process of leveraging new processes, technology and data to improve productivity, increase financial performance and remain competitive. In discussions with clients,  I often hear “We’d love to embrace DevOps; however we are not properly organized or staffed to implement a DevOps Strategy we don’t know where to start our management wants to see quick results and DevOps sounds big and costly we can’t just throw everything into the cloud, we have to be mindful of compliance

 I’d argue there is a bigger HOWEVER at play which is that Digital Transformation is difficult and many initial attempts tend to fail; HOWEVER, not transforming is not an option.   According to IDC’s April 2018 report Designing Tomorrow ”73% of companies will either be out of business or marginalized if they don’t transform.”

So how to resolve these conflicting “howevers”.   The concerns expressed by organizations are valid and should not be brushed outside.   However, digital transformation can still occur while recognizing and acknowledging the challenges above.   And that is why I am so excited to join Risk Focus! Bringing a unique blend of a PLAYER/COACH model together with their years of experience in dealing with risk mitigation, Risk Focus is singularly focused on helping organizations deal with these challenges.

Our engagements begin with a listening workshop where we gather information on the client’s unique organizational challenges – structural, cultural, resources, regulatory/compliance and technology. We then align on a “quick win” project that allows our player/coaches to work directly with the  organization on a specific deliver that can be implemented using new processes and technologies including Infrastructure as Code, comprehensive CI/CD pipeline, Container solutions, and Cloud transformation. These quick win projects usually run 4-6 weeks and are intended to deliver the following objectives:

Facilitate organizational alignment around Dev/Ops

Initiate “on-the-job” hands-on training

Implement and adopt new technologies

Identify a backlog of follow-on projects and deliverables

Demonstrate a low-cost quick win as a Proof of Possible

 I am thrilled to be part of the Risk Focus team and look forward to working with you to enable your organization to address your cultural HOWEVERS!