WINNIPEG information technology services provider Clear Concepts Inc. was named Solution Provider of the Year, the top award in the program run by trade publisher IT World Canada.
The prestigious award recognized the 12 year-old Winnipeg firm for its innovative work in the area of medical records management with remote First Nations.
Phil Proctor, managing partner of Clear Concepts, said, "We're really honoured to have won. In the past, winners have been large national chains; we're very excited."
IT World Canada's CDN (Computer Dealer News) Channel Elite Awards were presented at an awards ceremony in Toronto Wednesday evening. There are about 5,000 companies across the country eligible for the top award that Clear Concept won. Clear Concepts also won the gold medal for Best Small Business Solution.
Paolo Del Nibletto, editor and associate publisher of Canadian Dealer News (CDN), said, "Clear Concepts went above and beyond their own capabilities. It resonated well with the judges."
Clear Concept's efforts to bring managed services -- effectively providing the services of an out-sourced IT (information technology) department -- to remote communities is part of a broad range of services in brings to customers.
Among other things, Clear Concept has partnered with a First Nation in British Columbia that developed a unique community electronic medical records (cEMR) system for First Nations.
Clear Concepts provides installation and infrastructure support for the system at various First Nations across Western Canada.
"We have really developed extremely efficient and robust remote management of networks," Proctor said.
The company had to assist some of their customers in remote locations to access broadband service that allows them operate the community electronic medical records (cEMR) system in the first place. For some communities, in order to secure a doctor they needed to have electronic charting in place.
"If you had to so the same thing in downtown Winnipeg, you would not have to worry about broadband infrastructure," Del Nibletto said. "Phil was telling us they had to take a plane, a train, a car and a boat to get to some of these remote communities. It speaks to the challenges of operating in a place where you don't get the normal telecom systems. How do you provide a similar kind of service that others would take for granted?"
Clear Concepts has tripled its business over the past three years and Proctor said its ideal customer base is composed of companies or organizations with between 20 and 200 computer users.
But by developing an expertise in doing managed services remotely it has opened up much more work for the firm whose staff has almost doubled in the last couple of years.
"Many of these communities have problems getting connectivity," Proctor said. "We do not provide Internet pipe but we help them gain better access. We're able to do a number of different scenarios to increase their bandwidth so they can take advantage of all the things everybody else gets to."
Clear Concepts doesn't do custom software but provides a host of services such as hardware and software procurement, surveillance, network cabling, network design and will even host customers' data at Clear Concepts own server farm.